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SHARPNESS, NOISE AND STORYTELLING

On a tension-filled night at the border between Serbia and Hungary on August 28, 2015, a father delivers his son to another person across the barbed wire marking the border. The image captured by Warren Richardson in that extreme situation earned him the prestigious recognition of the World Press Photo 2016.

These are the shooting data: shutter speed of 1/5 s, focal length of 24 mm, aperture open to 1.4 and ISO at 6400. Looking closely at the photograph, a slight blur and an abundance of noise. Taken at night without the aid of supplementary lights, the image required additional aperture during editing, causing the visual disturbance.

But why did the photographer choose not to correct the noise in post-production? The answer is simple: the narrative of photography is more important than anything else, including image quality.

The story told by an image is its essence, its beating heart. Without a story, each photograph is meaningless, a collection of pixels that communicate nothing.

Extreme corrections of the sharpness and the noise, as well as increasing the saturation of color, often become mere expressions of vanity, attempts to "enrich" images empty of content. In a digital age in which the concept of the display triangle has become obsolete, the importance lies in creating new visions that narrate people's experiences and lives.

This does not mean neglecting exposure and focus, but the ease of use of modern cameras and the ability to immediately view newly captured images on the screen encourage us to focus more on the contents and on the composition.

Photographs that tell stories have the power to change lives, to arouse emotions and make people think. Those without narrative remain static, unable to influence the world around them. In a visual universe saturated with images, the real strength lies in the ability to Telling stories that touch the heart And that can really make a difference.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I fully agree with you--as in any art form, even in photography, technique should not alter form and expression. A shot tells what it immortalizes, and there are "real" details that if altered, definitely alter the narrative, and with it what that "still image" conveys to the viewer...

  2. I absolutely agree. Photographs that tell stories have the power to communicate in depth, capturing attention and inspiring reflection. The true beauty of photographic art lies in its ability to convey emotion and stimulate awareness, going beyond mere visual representation.

  3. It is difficult to take a rational position when entering a subjective realm as something that "touches the heart" can be. I instinctively think that those who have a modicum of knowledge about the history of photography and the very meaning of its existence can agree. It must be stressed, however, the distinction you have made: we distinguish photographs that "tell stories that touch the heart" and those that "narrate people's experiences and lives." from the others. Indeed, the others have an emotional dimension that can touch the senses more than the heart. Consider, for example, macrophotography or still life or astrophotography : in these areas, the thecine component plays a greater role even though it would be wrong to say that it is prioritized. I am not talking about fashion portraiture because it is not my field but I think that even there an "added value" can be the technical one, think for example of all that a professional photographer does "on the skin" of the subjects. In my opinion the real problem is when this distinction is not made and a photograph is judged by the wrong yardstick.

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