In my last entry I mentioned C prints made from color negatives. I described the visual characteristics of the prints made from such a combination as having smooth tonal and color transistions. I also mentioned I would introduce, in this entry, another characteristic I especially liked. That visual characteristic was the impression that the print was not overwhelmingly sharp.
In fact, the prints were sharp, or, as sharp as was possible given the materials at that time (enhanced by the fact that I printed with a condenser enlarger and a superb Nikkor enlarger lens). That written, the prints were certainly less sharp than today's digital standard.
Lest I am giving the wrong impression that the print substrate was responsible for the aforementioned visual characteristics, it should be made clear that those qualities were the product of the color negative film. Film which had many more emulsion layers (primarily masking layers) than transparency film. A slight but noticeable loss of sharpness (compared to that of transparency film) was one of the by-products of that film trait.
Along with the slight loss of macro sharpness was a corresponding loss of micro contrast, all of which contributed to that easy-on-the-eye smoothness that was possible with the use of color negative film. A visual characteristic which pleasantly pricks my eye and sensibities.
In the digital domain, very good to outstandingly good micro contrast is the norm for lens and sensors. And this is where I part ways with many things digital, picture making wise ...
Simply written, I am not a fan of what I consider to be the hyper reality look of much of today's visual imagery. Most of the hyper reality look is the result of an endless pursuit-by picture makers and sensor/lens makers-of what, to my eye and sensibilities, is rather excessive sharpness. And, that is why I have never been desirous of using "state-of-the-art" photo gear and viewing the prints which are the result of such use.
To understand that notion, it is necessary to write that my picture making pursuit is not about a quest for visual / technical "perfection". Rather, it is about creating and exhibiting visual impressions of what I see in the world around me. It is most definitely not about creating a highly detailed road map of that world. It is not about creating a seemingly exacting visual specificity as it is about the idea of simulacrum - a slight or superficial semblance of what I see in the world.
iMo, it would be acccurate to write that I do not want my pictures to appear to be highly technical but rather to appear to be more sensual.