The Trouble with Tilt-shift

November 25, 2009 1:37 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Every time I see an interesting thumbnail of a photo and upon seeing the large size, I realise it’s tilt-shifted, I shiver. Why does it feel so wrong on such a visceral visual level?

Because they steal our space.


Space and perspective are (some of) the most important properties of an image. Cinema is known to make us feel the space around us and the relationship between us and the surrounding environment. This is all a rectangular flat slice of reality has and this is what it can use to convey ideas in ways, limited only by the imagination of its creator.


Tilt-shift photos have artificially blurred top and bottom parts, which totally messes up any sense of perspective. It removes the image from the context of space and weight. We lose the idea of how the objects or characters relate. The human condition can not be expressed without context and when people are reduced to LEGO figures in an arbitrary world.


Naturally, when used sparingly and with good taste, the effect can be cool.

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