Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2010/01/02

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Subject: [Leica] Wide angle
From: jbm at (Jeff Moore)
Date: Sat, 2 Jan 2010 18:24:23 -0500
References: <>

(I've trimmed liberally, not because there was fat, but because
overquoting is a sin.  I urge anyone who's just arriving at this thread
now to go back and read Mr. Zeitlin's immediately-preceding post.)

2010-01-02-17:14:06 Lawrence Zeitlin:
> Mark writes:
> "Things get wider and wider every year.
> The whole mindset of the photographing world.
> The Leica 18 is the new 21.
> And you could be shooting with a 15 or a 12. And plenty do all the time.
> Lots of them are the top people."
> - - - - -
> Why are ultra wide angle lenses becoming so popular?
> In 1966, Edward Hall wrote, [...]
[back to LZ's voice]
> In photographic terms ultra wide angle lenses, especially in close ups,
> create the same form of visual distortion as personal spacing at the
> intimate distance. Pictures taken with these lenses have the same sort of
> psychological relevance as sitting close to a stranger.They are attention
> grabbing because of the pseudo intimacy. But ultimately these pictures are
> disturbing because we realize that we are being fooled. Our attention has
> been hijacked, not by the pictorial content, but by the illusion of 
> personal
> relevance. As we become accustomed to the visual trickery the effect
> lessens. That's why the TV commercials lost favor.
> Ultra wide angle lenses depict a travesty of life. Ultimately we will all
> return to sanity and use normal lenses. Even the top people.

A thoughtful note, which I'm inclined to believe is particularly
insightful at least partly because it happens to jibe well with my own
aesthetic instincts. :-)

On a 35mm-frame-sized camera, it often feels most natural to shoot
strangers with about a 50mm, and people to whom I've been properly
introduced with a 35 or 28.  Longer or wider glass is often indicated
more for reasons of geometry (that thing is too small and far away, or
that thing is too big and wide and I can't get far enough away).

Getting right up someone's nostrils with a 12mm lens can be fun and
dramatic from time to time, but is probably ultimately a gimmick.


Replies: Reply from kcarney1 at (Ken Carney) ([Leica] Wide angle)
Reply from mark at (Mark Rabiner) ([Leica] Wide angle)
In reply to: Message from lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin) ([Leica] Wide angle)