Don’t Get Crazy with Sharpness
In these days of pixel-peeping, I kinda feel like photography enthusiasts are more interested in the sharpness of their shots than in making an interesting photograph. I’ll tell you a secret: a good photograph is not good because it is sharp, but because it has a soul and raises an emotion. And as crazy as it may sound (sarcasm), blurry photographs can have a soul too (reality)!
It drives me mad when I see photographers getting anal with sharpness on their images and of their gear. Actually, the more I photograph the less I focus the sharpness of my photographs. I mean, I still try to figure out a way to get the sharpest image possible when I can, especially when I’m doing descriptive landscape work, but in a way it has become less of a priority. Why? Probably because I’m beginning to think that sharpness on an image is only the icing on the cake and I much more prefer to focus on the cake itself.
Sharpness shouldn’t be the priority in any photograph. Of course, it can really make a photograph pop out when its core is already solid, but it can also break it by removing an atmosphere that otherwise would have made it alive. In these cases movement can be thought as a powerful tool to give an “emotive and poetic” feeling to the photograph, to quote Australian photographer Steve Coleman.
Even when movement-driven creativity is not desired, do we really want to stop making photographs because it’s getting too dark for a sharp photograph? I don’t. When the high-ISO settings of my camera coupled to a wide open prime lens are not enough and I know that the resulting image will be blurry, I don’t feel bothered more than this because I know I still can create a photograph with a soul. Yes, it will be blurry. So what? A cake can still be truly delicious without icing, right? So can be a photograph.
If I am able to create the “miracle” of a beautiful blurry photograph, why wouldn’t you? Just don’t get crazy with sharpness, really, that’s not worth it. You’d better spend your time and get crazy on trying to transpose moments of life into photographs rich with emotions, whatever their sharpness.
Do you frequently shoot in dark situations without tripod nor extra source of light? Do you think that sharpness is one of the most important elements of a great image? I would be interested to learn your opinion in the comments!
If you’re not familiar with the concept of #MakePhotographs or feel outraged by what’s written here, please read this.