Sunday, September 28, 2014


Watertown, Connecticut

One of the frustrations of showing or viewing pictures online is that web JPEGs just don't have the presence, or the legibility, of even a modest sized print. In, say, a 9x12 on 11x14, the hand-painted lettering on the gray shed in the upper left background just grabs your eye and brings you in to look closer. Even more so in a 15x20-inch print. Of course Blogger will give you a somewhat larger and clearer presentation if you click on the image, but even so I think that the detail, and so the whole point of the picture, still gets lost unless I point it out this way:


So, having found the detail, does the main picture make sense? Read a little closer to the way a print would? I don't really know, but then, all this web stuff is pure experimentation.


Profligatographer said...

Some years back I saw an exhibit in Paris with a number of early photographs (~1920) by André Kertész and others. Early times and little money left them making only contact prints from small negatives.
As one critic said "…he became quite adept with this size, creating miniature images with incredible depth and sophistication. …In order to compose for such a small format, Kertész needed to ground his images in strong lines and geometry, forging the hallmarks of his later modernist vision."

Perhaps you could forgo small details in your blog pictures. As a long-time viewer of these pictures, I will say that the ones that have been my favorites in the past contain no text.

On the other hand, to give viewers better access to visual details, you can include a very large detailed image, as I did here: enlarged detail.
Of course this still leaves out those attempting to use cellphones and miniature computer screens—oh, to hell with them, I say!


Carl said...

Tyler, I don't exactly seek out pictures that include text, but in places where text—billboards, street signs, graffiti—is part and parcel of the environment I don't avoid it, either.

Years ago David Vestal wrote that the same sort of pictures worked very small and very large: bold, simple graphics worked big and small, while intricate pattern and detail worked best at moderate print sizes (notions of what constitutes large and small print sizes have changed drastically over the decades, of course).

Another related item, something I read, author not remembered, at least forty years ago, was that small camera work liked to be printed big, and big camera work liked to be printed small. For the most part, I've found that true, often printing my 35mm film work as 8x12 or 12x18 enlargements while staying with contact prints for 8x10 and 7x17 negatives.

Markus said...

Carl, this lack of detail in the all-to-small web images that blogs typically allow was the reason for me to develop my own wordpress theme with bigger images where possible - and additionally using mechanism that optimize the data volume for different displays. (Not worth the effort for my typical visitor figures though, but that I only learned afterwards).

And the 'medium' styled blogs allow even bigger images, like here:

Maybe that's one solution for that dilemma.

Ed said...


I understand your point, and will admit I totally missed the detail you pointed out on the main picture, even when I made it larger. My eye was drawn to the garage and the red Private Property sign. I'm not sure that seeing this in a print would've made a difference, at least to my untrained eye. I'll take your word for it though.