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Wednesday, 25 August 2021


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Ya really need to put a little something, something on those walls- come on now!

Intentionality is a great thing, but as you say it has to be readable as a deliberate choice instead of an accidental one: a slight tilt instead of a big tilt, for example is probably seen as a thoughtless artifact. Or picking the cut point of an object at the edge of your frame, so it's cut off exactly right down its middle instead of haphazardly sticking a little bit of itself inside your frame reads as pretty intentional.

And of course, there has to be some expressive/artistic purpose in doing so, which helps people who haven't seen it before accept it more readily. Shooting portraits with a very close perspective and a wide angle lens doesn't seem to make sense until you see Platon do it.

That's an interesting hypothesis about increasing tolerance for distortion. I wonder if the process is still ongoing, given how more and more photos are taken on phones with an angle of view similar to 25-28mm on full frame. In which case, one way to (sort of) test it would be to show your Loyle photos to a representative sample, say 100 people (mix of photographers and non-photographers), and get them to fill up a survey form. And then repeat the exercise thirty years later and see if the responses are different.

But I think you may be on to something here. In a 1971 interview Cartier-Bresson said a 35mm lens(!) is often used by "people who want to shout", and that the distortion is an "aggressive" effect. What's an "aggressively wide" lens today, maybe 21mm?

It's kind of ironic that the increasing tolerance for distortion (if true) coincides with increasingly easier ways to correct distortion in post. You will know more about this than I do, but I believe perspective distortion, unless corrected at source with camera movements, used to require darkroom trickery (Scheimpflug principle), while barrel or pincushion distortion were (I think) essentially impossible to correct. Now these can all be fixed with just a few clicks with software.

I remember reading in the early 1980s that lenses wider than 28mm should be used sparingly and with caution, because of their extreme perspective. (This might have been in Amateur Photographer.) Today, the main lens on an iPhone 12 is the equivalent of 26mm, and of course there’s also a 13mm-equivalent ‘ultrawide’.

Here in the UK the magazine i-D broke all the photographic rules for portraiture when it was founded in the 1980s - e.g. portraits taken close-up with a very wide-angle lens, together with their ‘straight up’ series of images. That magazine, and all its imitators, changed people’s perceptions of what was acceptable.

Fully agreed with your hunch. I think many of us are used to at least 35mm-equivalent angles of view and perhaps even 28mm. That definitely didn't used to be the case. And photos from a 35mm seem pretty much normal now.

I think you're telling us a tall tale... :)

Meanwhile, I've seen a lot of YouTube videos with the presenter filmed at close range because they've used a wideangle lens. It makes them ugly. They are so close that if they lean forward six inches the perspective changes and so does the shape of their face.

It's not nice.

"Tilt that horizon radically" - ah, the difference between a faux pas and a fashion statement.

"As I say, there's no way to prove this. It's just something I believe to be true." Michael Johnston

"It's not that I believe it, but that I believe it" - Sir Thomas More (or should I credit it to Robert Bolt?)

Sroyan- One can also use a long telephoto to distort and exaggerate perspective. With experience, one can take complimentary, environmental portraits using 28 or 20mm lenses with careful placement of the subject withing the composition- instead of exemplifying the given WA distortion.

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