“Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.” Henri Cartier Bresson
What is a successful photograph? A sharp photograph v a non-sharp photograph – are either of the above photos bad pictures?
Is a photograph bad because it is not sharp? If a photograph is sharp, does that make it a good photo?
Cartier Bresson’s statement reminds us that a successful shot is not entirely based on technical quality. The photographer brings their own experiences to a photograph. The moment and the feeling are what dictates a photographer’s choice. A sharp image or a non-sharp image illustrates a photographer’s vision.
Don’t let someone tell you that a photograph that is not sharp is a failure. Don’t throw a photo away because it is not sharp, throw it away because it doesn’t move you. Would you hang the photograph on your wall? Does the photograph illustrate the moment? Does the content inspire you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then your photograph was successful.
There are plenty of photographers with work sharper than Cartier Bresson’s, but none are more famous.
PS A photograph is not creative just because it is not sharp. It still has to be a good picture. The content has to justify your choice.
The photos above were both photographed with a manual focus film camera.