Wednesday, October 02, 2019

There's a brand new dance but I don't know its name

From elsewhere, when someone else remarked that the Bokeh Binge would fizzle out as a style in fifteen years, I replied...
At first, extreme shallow DOF [depth-of-field] and a creamily blown-out background was a way of signaling "I have a professional camera with a big sensor and a ginormous aperture!"

Now it's a way of signaling "I have a high end cell phone!"

When quality computational photography trickles down to fifty dollar LG Cricket phones, it's gonna be time to find a new way to flex on the poors.

(And FIFTEEN years? Dude, cartoony HDR already looks SO 2015. I expect fauxkeh to have a similar lifespan. ;) )
Speaking of "the style of the time" (which is why I have an onion on my belt), Mike at The Online Photographer notes a side effect of modern photojournalism being shot on cameras with dizzyingly high resolution sensors, at least relative to what was available in the past. In reference to the photos in The End of the Caliphate, he writes:
"Naturally the first few times you look at a book like that you respond to the content, with emotion; it takes a cold heart indeed to see a picture of a woman wailing by the bloody steps where her son was just killed and think, "they got a nice blue in that dress." So only on my fourth or fifth time through the book did I really consider the technique directly—I looked at it in the light of our sharpness discussion. When I did, it occurred to me that if I had encountered this book thirty years ago or forty years ago, I probably would have considered it to be bizarrely, garishly, intrusively oversharpened; it might have impeded my appreciation of the content of the pictures. As it was, when I took my first pass through the book I just sort of thought, in the back of my mind, that it's a good example of modern photographic style, and got right into the content. It was what I've come to expect. No big deal."
Photographic fashion, like politics, may be the art of the possible. (This last is behind a paywall, but it's an interesting look at how the capabilities of the tools at hand influence style.)