The reason why – perfection is not all its cracked up to be

I am not convinced that straight photography as promoted by Alfred Steichen and Edward Weston of the f64 Group fame in 1932 is the only true faith. Their raison detre was that the main difference between painting and photography is the newer mediums ability to capture extensive detail in a defined slice of time and us photographers should not hark back to the excesses of the late Victorian Pictorialists.

Lens Correction Profiles

As an up to date example of modern perfection, Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom both have built-in optional lens correction software. The clever software removes lens vignetting, barrel distortion, pincushioning, chromatic aberration at the edges and flattens the image into a single plane of focus.

“Technical perfection in a photograph without soul is valueless”

Andy Beel

First impressions count

The result of the sanitising of the raw file through lens correction software is any potential mood and atmosphere are whisked away before it has a chance to become part of the picture. In a speech conversation what is said is conveyed more by the tone, speed, inflexion and volume of the words rather than just the words themselves. The words are the details. The first impression a picture gives to the viewer is the mood and atmosphere it holds in the brightness and contrast rather than the subject or the subject matter.

The tonality (light /or darkness) of a print will tell us more about the photographer’s intentions and what they are communication initially than the subject of the photograph. Subject matter and the subject of a photograph are not necessarily the same. The beauty of the early photographers works partly lies in the imperfections that are carried through to us now a hundred years later.

Digital pinhole adapters

Hence this why I have been experimenting with a Pinhole adaptor on a digital body for a few years now. The diameter of the pinhole gives an aperture of f185 – ie very dark and depth of field that goes on forever. I found that using LiveView in bright sunny f16 lighting I could compose my pinhole pictures on the back of the camera. I believe that tripods are instruments of the devil as they slow down the spontaneous process of picture taking. Therefore I do not use a tripod for this type of shot. I have been brave enough to embrace technology and use ISO 25600.

Introduction to Photographic Seeing Workshop 
Weds 13 June in Georgian Bath 
  • Unravel instantly made viewfinder decisions
  • Excellent for colour and mono photographers
  • Free copy of the ABC of CameraWork Manual worth £25
  • Discover new ways of seeing
  • Great value for money
  • 4 Places
  • Fitness Level 1 of 3
  • On-going email support

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Technology improvements provide new techniques that lead to new creative ideas

The latest technological twist is the use of a pinhole adapter with a camera body that has In-Body Stabilisation (IBIS). Most pinhole adapters have a focal length of 50mm. The Fujifilm IBIS can provide up to 5.5 stops of stabilisation with a 50mm. This means in theory shutter speeds of  1/3 or 1/6 should render sharp objects that are not moving.

So why not give pinhole a chance on an IBIS body? – see what you will create!

Variable Aperture Pinhole Adapters

I use a variable pinhole lens from Thingyfy called the Pinhole Pro read a review here