In a world where more and more megapixels are (apparently) a key ingredient in maximizing image detail I can’t help but wonder if this fascination is forcing a trend, challenging us to take technically perfect images every time with precise, crisp detail.
After spending some time this summer studying the work of photographers such as Keith Carter , Susan Burnstine , Polly Chandler and Larry Wiese amongst many others I am left wondering if sharp, precise detail really is so vital, or can it sometimes be a distraction? Do we naturally see the world around us in such perfect, sharp detail? Is the job of a photographer to render a scene in perfect detail or can we allow some imperfection, especially if it helps render a mood that was a significant factor in wanting to make that particular image in the first place?
In my work I try hard to emphasize mood and atmosphere since this is usually what draws me to a scene in the first place. This is often more important to me than wanting to make sure every detail is in sharp focus. I want to feel the atmosphere each time I look at the image to help me relive the story and hopefully tell the story to others.
Taking time to ensure technically perfect images with precise detail certainly has its place in image making but, for my work this has to be balanced by taking time to capture and emphasize feeling. Sometimes we need to take off our “detail” glasses and just see the world around us in all it’s glorious, fuzzy detail.