I would assume this has something to do with the downscaling of those reproductions? i.e. diffraction for instance would certainly appear diminished (same concept as reducing the resolution of a blurry digital image, which will then appear sharper in its smaller size). But what about images reproduced 1:1, like those in Michael Kenna's books? Surely what I see here is more faithful and any flaws are amplified? This is getting into the risky territory of perception, but I may well be mistaking sharpness for acutance. I can understand that acutance and edge sharpness might be augmented in reproduction, where level of detail falls down. This makes comparisons confusing.
Originally Posted by Michael R 1974
I only have the cheaper retrospective book of Michael Kenna's (Images of the Seventh Day), in which the larger images are 1:1 (about 8") and certainly compared with these, my prints generally appear to have more depth of detail, but perhaps not the acutance. He shoots higher speed film, which will of course have something to do with this too, as the grain makes edges appear sharper. There's also the fact that most of my images are made on overcast days where diffused light means textured areas of a scene appear softer than they would in direct light, but I only compare my prints with images made in similar flat lighting.
I'll have to take a section of a print to a gallery and compare it with the images on the walls.