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Who Needs Sharpness?

Recently, Scot Gillespie set himself a challenge to capture the seasons using a projection lens to remove sharpness. He recounts his experiences and offers some advice if you would like to have a go

I have always contended that the perception of sharpness is only a tool in our kit.

When you look at the great evocative images of landscapes, many are far from crisp razor-sharp. Ansel Adams, even given the huge negative size, by process produced end images that have an ethereal quality in their resolution. And we are all aware of the current trend to use log exposures on subjects that move to harness a softening of the image, and which can be effectively juxtaposed to any sharp static element in the frame.

These options in the perceived sharpness of the imagery seek to give us divergence away from the factual representation, to an endpoint where we are presenting differing qualities of an image to evoke a feeling in the audience as a narrative. In other words, we seek to emote; we want not to ‘wish you were there’, but ‘to feel you were there’.

The project
In order to explore this, I set myself a project where the goal was to capture the feelings of the seasons, where sharpness was not necessary in the end image, but the form should still be natural and recognisable. The other limitation I imposed on myself was that the...

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About Author

Scot Gillespie

Scot Gillespie used to be a Fashion and Editorial Photographer in the early ’80s. These days he prefers photographing the extraordinary nature of landscape and its various genres, experimenting with a variety of photographic tools.

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