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Return to The nature of photography

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Our vision is naturally stereoscopic (for those with two eyes that can converge) but it is essentially different from the 3D images we see in movies or in a Viewmaster.  Our eyes have a natural f-stop of about 3.4 which means that we have to focus on a part of a view and not the whole of what is in front of us.  A 2 dimensional photograph is an abstraction both because it has several focal planes in focus and it is in 2 dimensions rather than 3.  

I would use the term hyper-real for 3-D or stereoscopic images (and movies).  By properly scanning with our eyes we can see all focal planes at once.  This is the kind of looking that we use whenever we look at a "normal" photograph.  A vision that not so much scans over the whole of the image but takes in the image all at once.