Sunday, February 20, 2011

Noise is Not Evil

Tunnel Curve

There are many people in the photography world that would have you believe that noise in a photograph is and undesired evil.  I disagree.  To put it simply, noise is the digital revolution’s equivalent to film grain.  Why was grain in film considered acceptable, an artistic choice, and even desirable in many cases?  Yet the noise in digital photography is considered a technical flaw?

Psychodelic People Mover

I will concede that noise is not a characteristic one should routinely pursue.  But there are unquestionably times when noise not only fails to distract, but actually offers a desirable artistic element to the photograph.

Waiting for the Bus

Each of the photos I offer here as examples contained noise when shot.  I then leverage the noise through sharpening, increasing contrast, and addition of grain in post processing.  The noise/grain in each of the shots plays a different role, but I believe the noise works well in all.

Aqaba Marina

If you want to consider avoiding noise as one of “the rules” of photography, fine.  And just like any other “rule”{ in photography, it is OK to break the rules as long as you know the rule and break it with intention and purpose.

Have fun, and go make some great photography.


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