Small Pix and Tiny JPEGs
By Gordon McGregorI've been struggling with the "tiny JPEG" thing from a different perspective for about 6 months now.
I'm a product of the digital age. I picked up my first camera 5 years ago (about a week after I got married, but that's a different story) and started shooting. It was a Canon G2. Everything I shot/ produced was digital, displayed and shared digitally etc. My family and my wife's family are all overseas, so the Internet is a great way for us to share pictures with them. Most of my photographic friends are from various Internet forums. I very rarely print anything out, but when I do, it is at home on a letter-sized printer.
Everything I do is aimed at or learned from a 640x480 pixel image. Well, maybe not everything, but it feels that way. So much so, that all the compositions I produce are quite simple, bold, "large" in terms of the available space on a 4x6-inch shot. I can't seem to do subtle compositions or effective compositions for things that are going to be printed large.
Now, I'm not claiming that what works at 4x6 never works at 20x30 or 40x60 but there is a certain aesthetic to working in a small image composition. There's a certain aesthetic that works well for a large image composition. There is overlap between the two but I can't seem to
shoot images that work well large. I see them in galleries—beautiful images with small details—but whenever I try to shoot those kinds of images, I then look at them at 4x6 and think "too small, not enough interest" and move on.
Can't seem to move past that mental block I have for composing and viewing for a "big" scene.
This seems to me, to be the reverse problem of your Tiny-JPEG fallacy—that the small version is a representation of the large. For me there never really has been anything but small versions—so I can't do large very well. (I kid myself that I do a good job of composing for effective small images)
Posted by: GORDON McGREGOR