Quote Originally Posted by Yashinoff View Post
Well known and useful are two different things.
I certainly agree with this. Useful? Yes, I think so. I think that perhaps you have never experienced the effect of "realness" in a photo, or if you have, did not realize what it was. Otherwise you wouldn't be saying this.

I first experienced this at about the age of 11 or 12 years, sitting in a school classroom. I was bored silly, and happened to have a magnifying lens (for burning ants at recess, I guess). I used it to look at a small photo in my geography book, or whatever it was, and was surprised at how realistic it seemed (the photo was very non-descript at its normal size). I spent the rest of the class looking at all the photos in the book, and perhaps 1/3 had this efffect. The effect was incredible enough that I didn't forget it. You say, is it worth it? Well you can guess my answer.

Quote Originally Posted by Yashinoff View Post
Stand so close that you cannot comfortably view the entire print at once to cancel out wide angle distortions?
Prints like this are enjoyable to stand close to while you look around the image; you feel as though you are in the scene. Should you stand very close to a large print and it is NOT enjoyable to scan around the print, you can feel comfortable that it was not a wide-angle shot.

I am not suggesting that you have an exhibit, labeling each photo such as "Look at this image with one eye closed, from a distance of 23 inches and 4 inches to the left of center." What I WOULD suggest is this: if you exhibit two photos side-by-side, and one is with a "normal" lens and the other is with a wide-angle lens, then perhaps the normal-lens shot would be printed to 11x14 inches, while the wide-angle shot is printed to 16x20 inches. Or if you are commissioned to shoot a mural, you should shoot with the appropriate wide-angle lens.

But all this talk is for naught if you're not ready to swallow the idea. I realize you don't know who I am - maybe I'm just some rummy or Internet know-it-all. That's why I gave some literature references. If you want to try the idea farther, I'd suggest go to a photo exhibit, if there are any in your area. (If not, magazines work, but you'd likely need a low power magnifier.) If there are any photos you like, try moving forward and back several feet to see if you can find a zone where there is a stronger sense of "realness," as though you are actually there. (The sense is stronger if the photos have some "depth cues" in them; plain jane portraits maybe not so much.) If you find that you can notice this, great, you should investigate the idea further. If you can't notice it, well I dunno. I've done this experiment with coworkers at photo trade shows which had exhibits. Most could notice the effect even if they didn't care (they're IT guys or the like), but there were one or two who didn't seem to be able to tell. Perhaps they could learn if they wanted to, perhaps they just don't care at all, I dunno.