Added to the archives: "Why I Hate Infrared; Or, The Search for 'Specialness,'" an early essay on the subject of aesthetic tricks 'n' gimmicks in photography. I believe this has never been published before—I really can't say for certain because I don't remember.
Featured Comment by Christopher Jones: "You have published this before! It's in Lenses and the Light-Tight Box, Bearpaw 2005."
Mike replies: Thanks Christopher. I should have figured it was out there someplace.
Featured Comment by David Mayer: "I grew up not particularly fond of most vegetables, at least as they were presented to me by my English mother. She tended to cook the bejeezus out of every vegetable, so greens took on a dark muddy color, any crispness was completely boiled out of them, and apparently too went their flavor. When I was old enough to start eating at nice restaurants, I discovered how more gently cooking, steaming, blanching etc. could result in wonderful tasting foods that not coincidentally looked appetizing with more natural color (although steaming actually tends to make the color more saturated). Does this mean I don't like cooked vegetables? No, I just don't like overdone vegetables.
"Many photographers do to their photographs what my mother did to her vegetables: they overdo it. And when they do, I most heartily sympathize with the spirit of your post, Mike. However, if such special effects are applied sparingly or at least in moderation, they can add to the flavor (aesthetic appeal) of a photograph. Perhaps not to everybody's taste, but then we are talking about art.
"I have to admit to owning a Lensbaby 3G, and it's fun to play with. But it takes practice to get it right (technically, not aesthetically) and the number of times I've found a use for it I can count on one hand.
"By the way, my mother is actually a good cook except for her tendency to nuke her veggies. Her microwave has one setting: eleven. Like my mother and her microwave, many Photoshop hobbyists (dare I call them photographers?) haven't discovered the opacity slider.
"I love the ranting, Mike, you do it with such eloquence."