The fashion for shallow DoF is mainly about pursuing a cinematic look. Movie is generally shot at wider apertures (except for the Film Noir era and a few other exceptions). It's easier to edit than deep focus. Wide apertures and specular highlights allow the photographer to portray the subject in his own personal film. I'm more of a wide angle street type, personally.
From my observations, selective focus was (is) another trend in an artistic medium. Just like bokeh, B&W wedding portraits, and textured photos. Sometimes these trends are overused simply because they are trendy. Sometimes they hang on a little too long. Sometimes they wane, then resurge.
in all cases, they are not 100% appreciated.
It's definitely an "I just got an SLR" phase and like every other beginner trapping, it becomes perpetuated on the photo sharing websites. Agree with post #41 about it being a cinema borne thing (films are however mostly made up of portraits, so it's more practicality than aesthetic here). But cinematography does appear to have a bigger influence on amateur photography today than actual still photography does, which is concerning.
I did it for a while when I first started with film on the Hasselblad, despite my interest in photography being rooted in landscape work at the time! So from personal experience, I'd say it's just one of those 'quality' infatuations that people are afflicted with against their better judgement, particularly with a recent step up in format.
But the issue arises, like I say, when it's perpetuated because it's celebrated on sites like Flickr out of ignorance. Some people have difficulty nipping it in the bud because it's the easiest way to make a 'quality' statement, especially with characterful optical systems like the Hasselblad, Pentax 67 and Mamiyas.
'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde
Sorry for being now out of topic but I just wanted to say that your photo is really wonderful, it has moved something in me, which did not happen in a long time. It made me want to go out and use more film. Can I ask how did you market it, I mean it is a great image but how did you find people who were interested in it?
Originally Posted by chriscrawfordphoto
I'm sending a PM
Originally Posted by mauro35
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Yes,I noticed that DOFIS OVERRATED. WHAT WE NEED MORE OF IS DEPTYH OF THOUGHT.
Originally Posted by Chan Tran
I first saw it in the " portrait field" back in the 80s when we were seeing 300mm lenses being used by fashion photographers at the time creating cool backgrounds. So a lot of people were buying massively long lenses for their Hasselblads to copy the look. Which cost a fortune.
Originally Posted by batwister
Unfortunately dealing with amateur subjects from a long distance became too difficult so it fell out of favor. Then later 4x5s with shift lenses were experimented with to mess with "eyes in, ears out" look but like all trends it died after a short time.
Then there was Lens Baby. Then photoshop Gaussian blur.
As someone said, these are just another set of tools to modify our work, that can get overused.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
Shallow DoF actually can make some otherwise crappy/inane photos look better.
But what about Bokeh being something like this or a colourful version of this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/chancy51/11105542315/
(I dont know that photographer, seems to have some other good pictures, I just picked what most closely resembled the commonly seen 'idea').
I wonder whether people who post such pictures actually look at them any larger than a 2/3" lcd or a phone screen.
This thread raises the interesting philosophical question of what 'aperture' we naturally see at, and does it matter for our photographic methodology. We don't naturally see in deep focus, so wide angle street photography is essentially an exercise in surrealism rather than realism, which is one of the factors that differentiates it from photojournalism. Everything happens at once and is captured three dimensionally.
Shallow DoF, when taken to extremes, is also anti-naturalistic, locking the viewer into an uncompromising linear space. I would argue that the most naturalistic depiction of a subject (if we can talk about a mental phenomenon in optical terms), is clear focus on the subject with slightly larger defocused circles on the background, or the 'f4 effect'. None of this matters in a medium where time is an abstraction - with the unreality implicit in that deficit - but it's interesting to muse on the messages optics confer to an image.
Some see it as cinematic look narrow depth of field while shooting a person. Compare modern movies (dialogue scenes) to old films older films had a lot more dof especially when shot by Greg Toland, ASC.
To quote Blansky "As someone said, these are just another set of tools to modify our work, that can get overused."
As a side note as a film user I wouldn't complain about the wet-plate revival, film is an alt-process these days so using film is no different than using wet-plate. The swirly bokeh from Petzvals can get boring but wet-plate photography is another tool to help a photographer create his vision.