Past and Present Intangibles

Four out of five doctors would advise photographers to stop obsessing about intangible details.

I’m talking about the esoteric aspects of how a lens renders. Maybe even dipping into the debate over similar lenses with the same focal length but with different maximum apertures.

Or about the specularity of the light pertaining to a vivid highlights or the depths of darkness in a shadow.

Then again, the craft of photography is differentiated by intangibles. A great photograph with lousy craft won’t hold the viewer’s attention.

Over the last week, I’ve been testing some lenses and processes to the point of exhaustion. The results have been mixed with no definitive answer. I keep coming back to older gear that got shunted aside for the new and exciting. Jetting back to the past is a trip in the wrong direction. However, when I see a portrait like this one from ten years ago, I can’t remember why I left that era’s gear in the dust.

For what it’s worth, I’ll be ignoring the doctor’s orders and the obsessing over intangibles will continue.

About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.

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