Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by xenskhe, Mar 20, 2016.
Could you perhaps expand on your poll a little? While I'm not an artistic scholar by any stretch, my understanding of the three terms leads me to believe that your poll is analogous to "Orange", "Apple", or "Walrus". What do you wish to achieve?
Bacon. I vote for whichever one means "bacon."
The first two are essentially the same (contrast between light and dark) while Bokah is an out of focus melding of colors in shapes.
I vote for the beauty of Bokah.
I like bokeh, and spent a few years building up a collection of lenses that produced pleasing bokeh, including the older AF-D 85,105,and 135 lenses, and also the 45-P and 200/2 and 300/2.8 lenses. To me, a lens that has pleasing bokeh, and which transitions rom the focus zone and to the defocused zone makes the most pleasing photos over a wide range of subject matter. I enjoyed working with notan back in the 1980's while studying fine art photography, and printed a lot of images on Agfa TP-6, one of the highest-contrast photographic papers I could get (like, Grade 6! lol), but notan is difficult to apply to many,many types of shots, and the same with chiaroscuro. So this three-choice poll seems like an easy vote for bokeh to me.
When I think of notan, I think of lithographic film, and of 1970's and 1980's pre-Photoshop images done in very bold, graphic, ultra high-contrast styles, as something that was at one time seen as being very avante-garde, but which has now become passe. There was a time when notan as applied to photography was deemed pretty nifty--and in the right instances, I think it really DOES have a place. It removes a lot of the intermediate tonal values, and forces the photo more toward a work that emphasizes the elements and the principles of design that have been used in the creation of the composition. I've seen a few really good movie poster and ad campaigns over the years that were based on notan.
Chiaroscuro and notan are sort of based on the idea of using "less" to say "more".
What we hide might be as important as what we show.
I kind of get what you're asking, but they're three separate ideas. It's not the same as asking, "do you like transitions to be high contrast, soft contrast or softly blurred?"
Notan is not just a style but more an eastern philosophy or approach. Sure it translates to 'light/dark' but its meaning goes far beyond patterns based on black and white shapes. From the old poem; where does the usefulness of a glass come from, the glass itself or the empty void within the glass? It is a way of seeing objects as being defined as much by what they're not as what they are. If you take the simple and unmistakable shape of a disposable razor blade, we in the west tend to see it in more absolute terms as the positive form of the razor blade. Where notan sees it's shape as being defined equally as much by the hole as it is by the blade, the two being inseparable.
Chiaroscuro, as far as I remember came about during the Renaissance. It's an Italian word and more about the 3D renditioning that was being explored through shading at that time than positive/negative shapes and their duality.
Bokeh is about oof rendering and a function of lens design.
Yes, bokeh is a function of lens design, but it is very easily included in many types of photos. If we translate the Japanese word "boke", as Mike Johnston did in his series of articles in the early 1990's in Darkroom Techniques magazine, and we add an h to the end of it as an Anglicized pronunciation clue, we'd translate it as "the blur". As you've probably seen in much Japanese photography, both foreground and background bokeh are often used as pictorial elements, as building blocks, in photos. Bokeh is something that can be used to hint at or to show depth, and depth planes. Yes, it is a "function of the lens", but that's a rather meaningless statement when taken out of the context of using a lens to MAKE a photo...if you stop the lens down to f/22 and shoot a distant scene, and everything is within the depth of field zone, there is no bokeh...there is no "blur"...but if you open the lens to f/2.8 and shoot and have an out of focus foreground object, say a tree or an OOF rocky foreground, then you, the photographer have decided to use your lens's function in a pre-determined, artistic manner. Boke in the real, Japanese sense, is much, much more than just "a function of lens design".
Much of the tilt/shift and the "miniature effect" is based on the bokeh produced by a lens--the blur is what gives a very strong visual impression to images captured with a tilt-shift lens, or when a view camera operator uses camera movements to markedly increase or to markedly modify the way the blur is imposed upon the image.
While the out of focus rendering of a lens is part of the lens design, bokeh, or the blur, is also something the photographer can choose to use when he makes a photo. it seems that if you try to reduce bokeh to a lens-based issue, and nothing more, that yuo don't really fully understand what boke (Japanese, boke) really means. Utilizing boke is something I see constantly in Japan-based photo sites. Boke (again, Japanese word) is not just about how OOF light sources show up, it is not about how shallow the DOF is, it is something much more comprehensive than the reductionist dismissal you've given above, as if the LENS is the sole determinant of bokeh. Boke is much,much,much more than simply "a function of lens design"; it is a philosophy of image construction, a building block of making an image. Reducing the Japanese concept of boke to a lens-based technical issue is to miss the underlying concepts. Boke is an eastern philosophy about how one can perform lenswork. It's odd that you build up notan, and then dismiss bokeh so flippantly.
Bokeh. I feel it is not only aesthetically very pleasing to me, but it offers the most flexibility as it can be used with a lot of different lighting and subjects to different effects. I like chiaroscuro to a point, but find it to be more of a one-trick pony. Notan - which yes, I had to google - does not get me creatively jazzed up at all.
wouldnt this depend on what you are shooting? While i like bokeh short of a flower shot which really means little to me i really have little need for it. I like the backgrounds as setting the stage and the interplay of how the subject reacts within that stage. Think i would have to go with choice one.
I think the diminishing descriptions are more to do with my lack of 'full appreciation' of the subjects as you have just demonstrated. I was using the western 'label' of bokeh as the quality of the blur and wasn't aware the full translation applied to the effects you elaborated on. I often use chiaroscuro to include the percussive effects of light/dark but not sure that it's accurate.
They're still three separate ideas that are not mutually exclusive, so why do we have to choose?
Notan: I think it is very limited as far as photography. I could arrange dark and light items for a shoot, but I'm not sure how far I could go with that.
Bokeh: I suspect most will take this but it's a function of the lens. I also like the soft backgrounds and, but a lens either has pleasant bokeh or it doesn't.
Chiaroscuro: I see this as what can be controlled and adjusted to fit the photographer's needs; the most flexible, and only technique IMO.
I'll still take the bacon.
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