I write a series called the Glossary of Photographer’s Woo over on Medium, and am delighted to be here on DIY Photography to talk about microcontrast.
Lens design has improved pretty steadily over the last hundred years. That is to say, modern lenses resolve finer detail, render colours and contrast more deeply, and are generally more free from the defects of spherical distortion, chromatic aberration, and vignetting. These defects are all easily measurable, and in art reproduction and scientific photography, they are probably very important. But in creating art? To many photographers, our lenses have been more than good enough for a long time.