This is a funny discussion. The Human eye is the worst resolver at about 2-3MP. Then there's CA, distortion and all that stuff going on in our eyes that's corrected by our brain.
Then there's viewing distance: A 5x7 looks fine at 1 foot distance but at 2 feet distance, a 8x10 is its equivalent. A 40x60 at about 10-15 feet is the equivalent of a 5x7.
My 20x24 prints look brilliant on a wall. My 8x10s look like schmuck on a wall. It's ALL in the viewing distance. Remember, the human eye is not a telescope and its resolving power is terrible. It's all about equivalencies. And what kind of moron would judge a 40x60 at a foot distance?
Originally Posted by NB23
Plenty do just that, I'm afraid. Then they step back and rant and sneer about "this poor quality photograph!". We appear to not all be living in an enlightened equilibrium. :pouty:
That "normal viewing distance" mantra is a simply an excuse for sloppy work. I often make big print, and people put their noses right into them.
That's what they do when you give them that choice. They discover details, and that's part of the richness of the print that just keeps giving
over time. A totally different thing than merely grabbing your attention real fast ... which is the objective of advertising photography and, alas,
much that claim to be art these days. If you want a rich big print, you need a big camera, preferably an 8x10. I love 35mm photography too.
But making a big print from a negative the size of a postage stamp is about equivalent to creating gang graffitti with an aerosol can. It's all
basically a wad of fuzz.
And looking for the grain with one's nose a couple inches from a big print might as well be called craft snobbery or large format elitism.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Don't get me wrong here, I like and shoot medium and large format, but if the viewer has to do the equivalent of pixel peeping to decide if a print is good or bad, then IMO the viewer has missed the point of the photo or the photographer is doing a school project, so to speak.
I don't understand that either. Either a photograph is good, or it isn't. Subjective, I know. We all appreciate different things about photographs, and personally I'm very disinterested in the 'ultimate print quality'. I'm interested in 'good enough to carry a good photograph'.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
In my world there is nothing wrong at all with mural prints from small negatives.
Mark - It's got nuthin' whatsoever to do with elitism or looking for grain. I'm talking about a viewing public who often knows exactly zero about
the technical aspect of the craft. You give them a rich print and, if not immediately, over time they start appreciating the nuances and details.
And that has been exactly my experience for decades. They do put their noses right up to them. A big print from small format can be quite
effective, but it has to accomplish this with a different strategy set. Most of the time, what I see are simply "wannabee" prints, blown up big
simply because inkjet now makes it so easy technically. Most people have no idea of what a "good" print looks like - they're used to advertising displays and web images. Subjective indeed, just like food. ... but junk food is far more prolific than good food.
Drew, being a photographer I have done my fair share of hunting for the technical flaws in my prints and in ones done by others. It can be a good schooling to see a large print done by Karsh from an 8x10, raises the bar a bit for most of us. I enjoy big McCurry prints too.
Two completely different animals and sets of expectations.
Unlike you though over time for a photo to keep good standing with me, it needs to impress me from across the room. After the initial close look, I rarely get close, I want to enjoy it as I walk by doing my chores or from where I'm sitting.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
I do think we owe it to ourselves to be happy with the output we generate, and that it is an important criteria. Again, that's personal and subjective. When I print I do work very hard to come up with a print that is convincing, in whatever scale I choose (or as it rarely happens, how the customer wants it). Whatever comes out of my darkroom is the very best I could manage with what I've accumulated in knowledge over the time I have been a darkroom printer. I hate fast food, and I prefer photographs that tell me something, make me feel something, or make me think - preferably well printed, but that is #2 on my list.
But at the same time I try very hard to not let the camera that I used to take the picture constitute a limitation on how big I print. There are a lot of important and meaningful photographs that could never be captured with an 8x10 camera, but where 35mm was basically the only choice. I think we owe it to ourselves to consider also those pictures for whatever size print there is demand for, unless we feel we should pass it up for some sort of artistic reason (nothing wrong with that). Looking at Salgado or McCurry, I doubt selling murals of their 35mm b&w neg or Kodakchrome film has done their reputation any harm.
Wouldn't it be cool to have a 5x7 camera that handles like a Leica? :)
You don't need a big camera to make large prints. When did we all start assuming visible grain is a bad thing ? Grain is often very beautiful and adds to the richness of a print.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
No. Because having to slow down and put a view camera on a tripod forces you into a totally different mode of visualization. When I want fast response, I simply reach for my Nikon. My brother did use a 4x5 Technika handheld quite a bit, but for different commercial objectives than on a tripod, back when this kind of practice was commonplace. Most of the big museum & airport installations etc I see wildly blown up make me
nauseated. It was Avedon that started that trend way back when (he had the predictably pretentious mind of an advertising photographer). And now that we're in the Pop art redux mode (courtesy of Fauxtoshop & inkjet), it's become a plague. Something else besides size has to
make it happen - the color or form or message has to warrant it. That is rarely the case. Big just to be big is pointless. I guess if someone
just wants a big loud photograph above the sofa cause they can't afford a painting ....