Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Sharpness

When I was studying sixth standard I found it difficult to see the text written by my class teacher on the black board (those days we had only black boards and chalks to write, unlike the present days digital boards..!) but copied the same from my classmate sitting next to me. I was even punished for a couple of times for not reading the text on the blackboard correctly before realizing that I had a problem in my eye sight..! Yes, the text on the black board was looking little fuzzy and less sharp for my eyes. Here, the lack of sharpness leads to lack of details. Of course the problem was solved by adding a lens called ‘spectacles’ on my little face. Well, I still carry one on my face for more than 40 years.

Technically, sharpness may be understood as the distinct separation of identifiable shapes through clear demarcation of lines and curves. Above all, human eye always tend to see things sharp and there is a greater level of discomfort when you cannot see things sharp. We know photography is all about details. Sharpness of the image is one of the factors contributing for ‘details’.

But for me ‘sharpness’ is near to heart. It is a way and means to understand anything you see or photograph. Well, it doesn’t mean that everything in a subject needs to be completely sharp. In fact, selective sharpness achieved through intelligent use of depth of field control is far more powerful in details . They are a bit more artistic too. When your attention is about a small honey bee that sits on a flower, then a selective sharpness laid on the bee will be far more powerful enough to highlight the finer details.

The ‘laser sharpness’ is dangerous sometimes when you shoot portraits. Otherwise, look for really sharp images that touches the heart of the viewer and take careful control of the ‘challenges of sharpness..!’

Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn't a very interesting photograph. If it was, they would have more to say. - Anonymous

Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.
- Henri Cartier-Bresson

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