View Poll Results: do you like grain ?
- 115. You may not vote on this poll
sharpness, grain, film size, and aesthetics
in a thread that began a week or so ago by bettersense
regarding tri x and plus x and how to process or use
a tighter grained film to take advantage of soft less pronounced
grain, things came up regarding grain,
film size and aesthetics of photographic image making.
there are always threads that start up with people asking how to
get really grainy negatives, what the best way to process film is to
get a grainy 60s or 70s look and on the other end of the scale there
are threads that pop up with people asking how to get smooth tonality,
sharp and grainless images.
sandy king reminded me in the other thread that in the early days of photography,
images were contact printed, on pt/pd or whatever light sensitive materials they used,
there was no apparent grain in the images almost like grain doesn't exist.
nowadays many people are involved in wet plate making and other early processes
where imperfections are flaunted and adored almost like a branding that the image is
a what it is, a singular image, an early photographic process "photographic wabi sabi" .
is it the same with grain, pronounced grain, smooth grain, grain that has
part of the image itself ( maybe the photographic image is about grain ? ) ..
do you flaunt it to show your work is a photograph?
flotsam suggested that grain is supposed to be there.
should it be? if it wasn't would you make it appear if you could ?
if you shoot a smaller than 120film format, do you try to make grain,
or eradicate it completely by your developers/agitation techniques?
if you shoot larger than medium format, do you because you dislike grain ?
as for me, i don't mind grain, but sometimes i have to do what i am told
and do without.
what are your views ?
Last edited by jnanian; 06-12-2009 at 12:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
One of the reasons I use 5x4 is that graininess is no longer a concern. It's a minor reason to move to LF IMHO, but a reason nonetheless. But it's nice to have basically eliminated that variable.
I actually don't mind graininess in prints. Sometimes it's quite attractive. But for much of my work it's more like noise, and in 5x4 the noise floor is way down from the image signal.
I originally voted "no" which is where I'm at now in taking pics, but you never know. I would have changed it to "it depends" but I see no way to edit the poll to change my vote, so disregard my very black/white initial response.
My personal preference is for crisp regular grain that enhances the perceived sharpness of a print. It is all a matter of taste and I have been through the minimal grain stage many years ago and have arrived where I am now, liking the tonality and nuances of some grain in my photos. I guess I agree with Flotsam..
I think it's all in personal aesthetics and the vision of the artist.
Nothing is able to invoke and capture a particular mood and move me as well as grain and tone.
I love it, my father hated it....... the poetry of the print.
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I voted it depends. I do like the look depending on the subject matter and the feel of a photograph that is lended by obvious grain. I want to start to toy with my exposure/processing to acheive this. Just never got around to playing with it before.
Grain is the fundamental difference between analog and digital photography. Sometimes I exaggerate it. Sometimes I minimize it. The best way to exaggerate it is with a small format (Minox). The best way to minimize it is with a large format (8x10).
I answered "it depends."
Originally Posted by ic-racer
In my opinion, this is only loosely true. D***tal exhibits noise, an inevitable part of the technology, and that gets worse at "high ISO speeds." I think the difference is that film grain is more or less truly random, whereas digi-noise is ultimately spaced in a regular grid defined by the sensor (and some electronic legerdemain). But this is probably dubious for APUG debate, not to mention I use and enjoy both technologies and don't stay awake at night about the peculiarities of either.
In my current phase -- back to B&W after 25 years away -- I've been excited about more or less no grain, working from film like Acros 100 in medium format, but I also find a certain likeable and interesting "edge" in the prints from a film like 400TX. I'm sure I will ultimately play with some gritty looking stuff in the future.
To me grain is a necessary evil which comes from working with fast films in miniature format. I'm willing to pay the price when the speed and convenience of miniature format are paramount, but I would never dream of deliberately accenting grain. If I wanted that kind of effect (and I've only wanted it once so far during my entire life) I would use a texture screen. I think that people have come to accept excessive grain because it has become so commonplace since the time when 35mm largely displaced medium and large format (for example, in reportage). We have gotten used to something which would have been regarded as a technical deficiency before the fifties and sixties.
i wonder why it would have been considered a deficiency ?
Originally Posted by Chazzy
if i go to a museum or gallery i don't stick my nose right
up to a painting or mixed media thing or a collage to notice all the brush strokes or glue or if it a sculpture the chisel or file marks ???
i wonder why photographic aesthetics have been so hung up on all these things ...
nothing is realism after all ... or is it ??