I am trying to make photos with a simple and obvious composition with large depth of field on a modern digital camera. The problem I keep running into is that details in the photos obscure the overall composition. An example where the eye wonders all over the photograph because of the details despite large differences in tonality:
When I look at documentary work by some great photographers (eg. Lu Nan, Jonas Bendiksen, W. Eugene Smith, Cornell Capa) I notice that they either use high iso b&w film that obscures unimportant detail with grain and lets the tonality emphasize the composition or use some sort of slight blurring of he whole image to emphasize the main figures. When I try to do this in digital I fail partly because excessive digital grain (especially chroma) detracts attention from the figure, grain or texture filters I tried look unnatural. I feel like the problem is that digital cameras capture too many details compared to film and any blurring or noise becomes very obvious and unaesthetic, but it is probably my lack of skill in capture and post processing. Is there any way to reliably keep details from obscuring the large scale of composition that would be "native" to digital photography?