Sharpness is a Bourgeois Concept – and sometimes an excuse…

Modern technology helps mankind in many ways; Machines for making good coffee, the internet for procrastinating, airplanes to travel the world and autofocus to make photographs razor sharp (lenses and sensor technology helps to). Just because one can focus on everything from a dragon fly to a speeding train, doesn’t necessarily make it the golden standard. Especially not in photography.
Henri Cartier-Bresson famous quote “Sharpness is a bourgois concept” is not a way of life or photography. I have used it as an excuse once in while… But getting to the point; I tend to seek sharp photographs, very unconsciously, but sometimes I tell my self there are more to life than sharp images… So on purpose I try to shoot out of focus in different ways;

  • Motionblur with help from a longer shutter time – handheld or tracking a moving subject.
  • Purposeful out of focus focusing.

Why do I do that? Because I want to achieve something else, challenge my own perception of aesthetics, explore the different ways of how a camera works – stop overthinking things and letting go and see what happens when a bit/lot of randomness enters the scene.

So in 2017 I will explore being out of focus!

SHARPNESS and Limitations

I always create limitations for my self when working with different things. Shooting deliberately out of focus/motion blurred images is one of these limitations. Sometimes this approach makes some great stories, snap shots and capture something that just is undefinable. So I experiment with this from time to time. I am in no way master of this, but I keep trying – reflecting on what will work in such photography, what does not… I was recently pointed in the direction of Ireneusz Luty and I am really mesmerized by the way a lot of his photographs are nothing about sharpness but all about movement, space, density, living life and ambiance… I am not sure how much is captured, if it is double exposures or how much is post processed. Another inspiring photographer is Jon Wilkening who do street photography pinhole style!

Focus in progress

As you can see from this small gallery it can be crappy or it can add to the story of the photograph. But I swallow my pride… I am experimenting, I am investigating and making a lot of mistakes…

The easy way to sum this up; motion blur/out of focus is as much photography as anything else. It can support the composition, the story, the content, the emotions etc. or be something entirely by it self. That is at least what I think. My experience so far is, that it is actually extremely difficult making photographs that are blurred, unfocused and actually conveys a story or emotion without being just a blur…

Tell me if you found a way to make great photographs that are unsharp, unfocused and unphotographic?

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