photoflow: focusing on the heart


only recently did i realize that i could make out-of-focus photographs.  am i the last person on the planet to get this?

maybe i just took too many photography classes. or lingering in the back of my mind is the hell i’d have to pay my photo editor ... if the decisive moment was not TACK SHARP. old habits die hard. i’ve been out of photojournalism for 13 years!

so in july, i took my first out-of-focus-on-purpose photo. then promptly forgot about it.

then just last month, i remembered. i. can. make. a. photograph. out. of. focus. on. purpose.

WOW! the freedom! the freedom to reveal what is in my heart.

i’m learning that i can go both ways ... one part of me wants everything just-so, linear, balanced, orderly, straight, crisp, organized, controlled, and in focus ... HEAD.

and another part of me longs for soft, dreamy, evocative, ambiguous, unclear, hints, gentle, smooth, free, and out of focus ... HEART.

sometimes the crisp, sharp focus feels right. other times i want softness. out of focus on purpose. or even by accident!

and it’s ok, it’s ok to have both, to be both. we are creatures with heart and head. one is not better than the other.

but to be able to express what is in my heart, realizing that i can “break the rules” of photography that have been so ingrained in me? this is freedom.

in experimenting with out-of-focus, i have found that it works better if i front-focus, as in, if i place the focus (since the focus ring needs to go somewhere) in front of the subject – toward me – rather than behind the subject. this brings the focus point out of the frame, while leaving the subject not too out of focus. i have found that when i back-focus (placing the focus behind the subject), and get the right out-of-focusness on the subject, often something in the background stays in focus which is not what i want. i usually want it all to be out of focus, but not too much. too much can create completely indefinable blobs. which could work, too, but that’s not what i’m after these days.

following the freedom path, i would love to hear how you are becoming free, in photography and/or in life?

this one is backfocused (on the water), and i think it works in this case. i am free to break my own rules!

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. 

~Ansel Adams