iPhone Aquatint Photography

Thanks to the high ISO setting necessary, trees in the moonlight photographed with an iPhone-5 take on the look of an old-fashioned aquatint, an intaglio printmaking technique.

Graininess was long part of the aesthetic of film photography, as many images by Henri Cartier-Bresson and others can attest.  So why shouldn’t this be the case with the noise in digital photography? I know that the two things are fundamentally different. Still, grain was an artifact of the analogue photographic process, just as noise is an artifact of the digital process. Why did the former artifact not bother us as much as the latter?

I shot these photographs with my iPhone-5 at night. Quite predictably, they came with a huge amount of noise. So I decided that since I had been given the gift of lemons, I might as well make lemonade — in other words, use the noise as the starting point for my creative process. This was the result. And when I posted them on Facebook, a friend noted that they are reminiscent of the aquatint process, an intaglio printmaking technique. I kind of like that. But I’ll be curious to hear what other people think.

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