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06-18-2015, 12:10 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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On the merits of the imperfect image.

Film emulation to create "vintage" looks and emulate grain, using old glass that is flare prone or has any number of spherical aberrations, 70's fixed lens rangefinders, Holga and Diana Lomography; the many ways people are introducing imperfections into what could otherwise be pristine digital images for output and upload have proliferated both amateur and professional photography for several years now. I've thought about this a bit and finally formed, what is for me, a concise conclusion.


Imperfections introduced to an image, by design or providence, mirror the imperfections in our memory. It is the nature of memory to lose some detail and fade a bit with time. As time passes, a photograph that mimics such characteristics allow our memory some space to fill out the missing details with our own interpretation of a given time and place in the past, however accurate or inaccurate we desire. Such images, created with silver or silicon, are truly analog in their relationship to how humans interpret memories and how we wish to perceive ourselves and our relationship to the time, the place, and the people that create our personal histories; that create our humanity. The embrace of imperfection in this digital era is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow hipster trend. The embrace and allure of the imperfect image is here to stay as long as we are, It's an extension of our biology, an analog to our human nature in a world that is increasingly non-analogous to our humanity.


I'm just sayin'.


Last edited by MD Optofonik; 06-18-2015 at 12:20 PM.
06-18-2015, 12:48 PM   #2
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nice!
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/297803-what...ml#post3288508 sory had to link your thread
06-18-2015, 12:49 PM   #3
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Personally, I think the most commonly introduced imperfections - grain, colour balance, blur, vignetting - simply help to achieve a certain mood, emphasise aspects of the subject matter, or imply a sense of time. In that respect, they're just compositional tools. But I like *your* theory better
06-18-2015, 02:02 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Who needs introduced imperfections? I am perfectly capable of generating tons of such with no outside assistance. The cool part is my unconscious efforts are very much appreciated by my adoring fans. The photo below is an excellent example. It was "explored" in Flickr and saw more that 5000 views in the first day or so it was up.






For the record, no PP tricks were employed to make the leading edge of the flower "soft"...


Steve

(...next time f/5.6 or f/8...)

06-18-2015, 02:24 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
On the merits of the imperfect image.
Art is a lie that speaks a truth...
06-18-2015, 02:43 PM   #6
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The eye/brain like to keep moving and doing that's why the compositional 'rules' work. A photo has only a couple of seconds to grab your attention before you 'move on' so imperfections could be a way of grabbing that attention.
06-18-2015, 02:49 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Who needs introduced imperfections? I am perfectly capable of generating tons of such with no outside assistance.
You and me both, Steve!

That's a great photo, by the way... You may have wanted more depth of field, but the end result is very pleasing (as I'm sure you realise)

06-18-2015, 10:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by max_pyne Quote
Cool thread and I'm flattered. Thanks.

---------- Post added 06-18-15 at 22:18 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Who needs introduced imperfections? I am perfectly capable of generating tons of such with no outside assistance. The cool part is my unconscious efforts are very much appreciated by my adoring fans. The photo below is an excellent example. It was "explored" in Flickr and saw more that 5000 views in the first day or so it was up.
Nice. "Providence", wins that one. Lovely photo.
06-18-2015, 11:12 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
Film emulation to create "vintage" looks and emulate grain, using old glass that is flare prone or has any number of spherical aberrations, 70's fixed lens rangefinders, Holga and Diana Lomography; the many ways people are introducing imperfections into what could otherwise be pristine digital images for output and upload have proliferated both amateur and professional photography for several years now. I've thought about this a bit and finally formed, what is for me, a concise conclusion.


Imperfections introduced to an image, by design or providence, mirror the imperfections in our memory. It is the nature of memory to lose some detail and fade a bit with time. As time passes, a photograph that mimics such characteristics allow our memory some space to fill out the missing details with our own interpretation of a given time and place in the past, however accurate or inaccurate we desire. Such images, created with silver or silicon, are truly analog in their relationship to how humans interpret memories and how we wish to perceive ourselves and our relationship to the time, the place, and the people that create our personal histories; that create our humanity. The embrace of imperfection in this digital era is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow hipster trend. The embrace and allure of the imperfect image is here to stay as long as we are, It's an extension of our biology, an analog to our human nature in a world that is increasingly non-analogous to our humanity.


I'm just sayin'.
Totally agree and eloquently said!
06-19-2015, 03:55 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
On the merits of the imperfect image.
This implies there is, or can be, a ideal "perfect" image which is a bit too abstract and metaphysical for me.

Photography is just one of many ways we humans carry on a visual dialogue with one another.
For me, at least, the only question is does an image express, in an understandable way what I want to say to another person?
The means (technique) is irrelevant. A forty thousand year old cave painting or a Vermeer may both be equally "perfect" or "imperfect" in their own way.
The real challenge is not perfection or lack of it but the simple human connection between two people - some images talk others are silent.

Last edited by wildman; 06-19-2015 at 04:31 AM.
06-21-2015, 07:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
The embrace of imperfection in this digital era is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow hipster trend. The embrace and allure of the imperfect image is here to stay as long as we are...
I would agree with this, but I disagree with the premise that it's the induced imperfections in certain images that cause us to connect to them. Or rather, that's not all that's causing the connection because I've seen plenty of Holga/pinhole/damaged film pics that are very "...meh". I think the imperfection technique works for some images, but that's all it is...a technique. Same as HDR helps us connect with scenes we remember as being surreal or fast shutter speeds help slow down time. Imperfection techniques are primary nostalgic, so if that's the emotion we're trying to evoke in our viewers, it can be effective. The other side of this is that I believe we forgive imperfections in a photo if it captures something more fleeting and relevant to us. We can forgive Aunt Sophie being somewhat out of focus if the pic shows her smile or the glint in her eye that makes everyone who knew her say, "That's Sophie!"
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