No Depth Of Field Is Now Fashionable

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jerry Robillard, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Rob MacKillop

    Rob MacKillop Edinburgh Correspondent

    And the landscape of a face? :)
  2. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    well now there is a question, as you know I rarely do faces but i would like to think that if I were to do faces I would apply landscape principles... i like detail and as sharp detail as possible, hence the reason I don't do abstract, it's too fuzzy a concept for me
  3. Dan there is no guilt. I still have not gotten the answer that I was looking for. I wanted to discuss the merits of shallow DOF. What does it add to the art of photography? Is there a sense of communication when only a person's eye is in focus. If it were Hitler's eye, I could see the art in that if one was trying to look into the mind of a monster.

    I agree with Davie. If I am a pictorialist, I am creating an image as I am seeing it, not simply recording it. Our eyes do see just the eyelash, but it continues to roam taking in the whole face. The same is true of a landscape or a plate of food. Our eyes roam the entire scene creating a whole image. Isolating an object from the background and foreground to focus the brain of the viewer on what the artist specifically wanted them to see is a valid argument for the shallow DOF.

    It is not important to agree or disagree with me. I want to know if our member think this type of photograph is gimmicky or is it a valid approach to artistic expression through the camera?
  4. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    for me Jerry the only advantage I can think of is if the background is so inconsequential as to not merit inclusion, or the background would detract from the impact the image has. In those cases then I fully understand the use. As a tool, maybe to create isolation ... for example one of the few DoF shots I have has a solitary flower highlighted with a waterfall blurred in the background and the idea was to highlight the solitary nature of it. I don't think that made any sense at all
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2014
  5. Davie Hudson

    Davie Hudson Well-Known Member

    in fact here is the picture , I feel without the dof i would have lost the flower

  6. I totally agree. The flower is the subject with the waterfall enhancing the subject. That is how I use aperture to define my subject.

    Incidentally, I really like that one.
  7. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Great discussion chaps

    BTW. If you don't hear from Rob for a while you'll know my new DSG hellfire drone found its target :D
  8. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    Jerry healthy debate is good,
    Personally I think it can add to artistic expression, take pointalism as an example would you say that it doesn't portray what it is suppposidly meant to represent just because it is not sharp, thinking circles of confusion here, afterall thats what the eyes see when too much light hits the iris, in the same manner that it does when it hits a folm or sensor through a wide open lens, maybe consider photography mimicing art. Again really it is entirely upto the viewer to interpret the artists imaginings in any artform. But for me in answer to your question yes it does add artistically to the image when used appropriately, as in Davie's example....keep the debate going...
  9. Kev, I am not following you on pointillism. Pointillism, being a series of dots, are incoherent close up, but viewed from a distance, makes a pattern that our brains can sort out to see an image. Reminds me of monochromatic film. How does that concept fit into what our eyes see when there is too much light. I lost you on that.
  10. Kev Pugh

    Kev Pugh Well-Known Member

    My point is Jerry that you dont have to be able to see everything to understand what is going on in an image, you either like it or you don't. If you don't walk away, if you do say...

    someone who doesn't undrstand pointalism would simply say urgh its rubbish, whereas someone who understands it would step back and admire it, with DoF one should do likewise and accept what the photog has tried to achieve, circles of confusion, like I saod I think it can add to artistic presentation when used appropriately, if its not your bag then look in another.....
  11. Okay, now I see what you mean. I am not a big fan dot painting, but I now understand where you were going.
  12. Larry Bolch

    Larry Bolch Member

    Like any other tool in the bag, it can be used well or not. Certainly it is useful to isolate a subject or wipe out an intruding background. Very useful. Where it falls down is in the hands of a newbie, who buys into the idea that an f/1.2 lens can make every shot a masterpiece. Isolating a boring detail in a boring scene still produces a boring picture, no matter how many times you chant "bokeh, bokeh, bokeh..."

    There is NO magic bullet. In many cases subject and environment are inseparable, as in an environmental portrait. Shallow depth of field would obscure the message totally. On the other hand, shallow depth of field can be like background paper in a studio, but on location. Nothing whatever to distract from the subject. However, just because you have an f/1.2 lens, does not mean that it must be used wide open all the time. A face-shot with a single eye in focus with everything else soft may be a total failure, while stopping down to f/2.8 will still wipe the background while keeping all essential elements in the face clear and sharp.

    With good light, I try to expose with the sharpest stop of my given lens, and rely upon hyperfocal distance to keep the essential elements in focus. However, with terrible light, I will still shoot, knowing that it is better to get something than nothing. It is not unusual to find myself with no choice but f/1.4 at ISO6400. At that point is has nothing to do with current trendiness, but rather a compromise that will still tell the story.
    Dan Cattermole likes this.
  13. That says it well, Larry!

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