Digital photography brought us a lot of details. What we are missing now are the ones our imagination added looking at a printed photo
Definition of resolution
Nowadays a digital image on a screen could be much more detailed than the same one, but printed. A printed image has just one size. You cannot zoom in or zoom out. You can just move a little closer to grasp some minor details but that’s it. Zooming is a physical thing, not a digital one.
From a mere numeric point of view, a digital image is much more detailed than a printed one, but in reality it’s not like that. I mean: it’s true and false at the same time.
Watching a book
That is not “reading a book”, by that I mean “watching its images”.
I was thinking this today browsing an architecture book: its images were much smaller than the same one I might have watched on a computer screen or even on my iPad but somehow they were much more detailed.
Imagination fills the gap
Watching a printed image — even a not so big one — implies that your imagination is required to build (or imagine, of course) what is not perfectly clear in the frame. It somehow adds things that maybe are not even there and build a sort of meta-image which looks like the original one but it’s not the same one. Imagination fills the gap between the reality of the image and its meaning and representation for you with its own experience and database of images. Why is it able to do that? I believe it’s because the big picture — that is the whole image — is still there. You can always see the image in its entirety and this is something you can’t do while zooming in and out on a computer screen. Zooming allows you to magnify details in spite of the overall meaning, which is basically lost or hidden for a while.
Science vs poetry
Poetry — meant as the realm of emotions and memories explained through words — is very clearly the opposite of science here: the zoom is the instrument of science which lets you be analytical; poetry is the means that makes clear to your mind what is hidden or unclear. The whole picture brings everything at the same time: all the dots are linked, there’s integrity in what you’re looking at. Zooming and detailing sprinkle the whole into small entities, momentarily disconnected the one from the others.