There's actually very little in the difference between them because they are nearly equal in distance from the diagonal measurement of the 24x36mm frame is 43mm which should be the ideal focal length to approximate human vision.
I shoot most often with pentax 43mm prime and I find it the most natural of all my lenses on 35mm cameras. I also like my 40mm Rollei 35se, even though it's not an slr, the focal length feels just right.
This "leave something to the viewer's imagination thing" is an identifiable crutch BTW. Consistently attempting to use implication or ambiguity as a tactic for increasing the "mysticism" of a photograph becomes cloying quickly. I'd go so far as to say it's a cliche these days and people are still beating that horse day in and day out. Most PJ and documentary professionals are beyond this and know when implication is to be kept and when it isn't. It's not black and white - where it goes from imply/ambiguity<>literal/science. There are in-betweens. Perhaps it's more of an annoyance to me because I tend to notice it quite quickly - especially when it seems forced and not straight up.
I disagree - profoundly! At various times in my life I've had the (mis)fortune to be an editorial photographer, and worked on advertising pack shots and other quick turnaround studio work. Editorial photography consists largely of getting the portrait/ event/ whatever in sharp focus and properly exposed. Filling the frame is about the limit of the aesthetics demanded by most editors. It's not an unreasonable aspiration as far as it goes, but it demands little of the viewer or photographer. Look at Cartier-Bresson's work in comparison. Almost every photograph implies more than it explains and leaves the viewer wondering. Most great photographs suggest a world that goes beyond the edge of the frame.
The OPs shot of people gathered round a car in a hole is just about the most mindless portrayal of the event imaginable. You could crop that photograph almost anywhere and make the image more inviting. He/she went for distortion and a wide angle lens. There's a hint of desperation about reaching for such a solution. For example, do those faces tell us anything? Not to me, they're looking off in various directions and make the photographer at least as big event as the car. I'd say the rows of legs in traditional and Western clothing are more revealing. Do we need to see all the car? Not for my money. Having it disappear out the frame would make its demise even more dramatic. All those options and micro decisions are what make a photograph good, not relying on the angle of the lens for drama.
Last edited by blockend; 08-14-2013 at 11:07 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This "leave something to the viewer's imagination thing" is an identifiable crutch BTW.
You misunderstand its purpose. It is not about the viewer's imagination; it is about the viewer understanding what is going on without needing to see everything. Photojournalism has the added benefit of using captions to explain, and to place an image in context.
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
Photojournalism has the added benefit of using captions to explain, and to place an image in context.
Absolutely. Given the text, editorial photographs are often little more than visual alliteration, when they could be underscoring or counterpointing the words. They used to be from the 40s till the 70s in the best magazines and newspaper supplements, where photographs acted as miniature pieces of art as well as documentary. Now their use is mostly banal.
Look at Cartier-Bresson's work in comparison. Almost every photograph implies more than it explains and leaves the viewer wondering. Most great photographs suggest a world that goes beyond the edge of the frame.
That's the point. It's just a matter of aesthetic preferences - in other words, taste. Perhaps you think his photographs "imply more than they explain and leave the viewer wondering". That's fine. I, however, do not think that. For that reason I could not care less if he thinks people use wide angle lenses because they don't have enough to say. It's nothing more than his opinion, and so in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the photograph presented at the beginning of the thread. I don't think the short focal length makes or breaks it.