Sunday, March 24, 2013

The indefinable look of <X>

Something one sees a lot on the internets.

Someone will post some picture with a caption that says something like "Shot on Tri-X souped in coffee with my Leica and the Sommerstein 57mm lens."

Then there will be comments, talking about how there's no way to reproduce the look of Tri-X, or film, or coffee, or the Sommerstein 57, or whatever, and it's so awesome.

Here's a protip: You're looking at a 1500 pixel wide JPEG image. You might imagine that you're seeing the ineffable something that film, or medium format, or Zeiss, or someone brings. You're wrong. While there certainly IS a look to each of these things, they can all be faked. Also, and this is important, when you squish the result to 1500 pixels wide, run it through a JPEG compressor, apply some random color profile, and render the whole mess on a monitor, probably uncalibrated, pretty much all the ineffable is squeezed out.

Just because you see it, doesn't mean it's there. You do see it, I am sure. You have a very firm idea that you're seeing the ineffable whateveritis.

It's not there, though. Sorry.

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