Musings on Photography

How much needs to be in focus to make an interesting photo?

Posted in Photo Garden, process by Paul Butzi on October 14, 2008

I was a little surprised to find this among yesterday’s set. All I remember was being fascinated by the little barbs on the edge of the Japanese Maple leaves.

There were about five frames along this line, with only minor variations in framing or exact spot of focus. I’m sure it’s significant that I can make five exposures without remembering but I’m not sure of what it might signify. It’s probably something to do with process, but it might just be my brain getting rickety.

I am trying to remember where I saw them, but I am reminded of a fascinating set of photos done in a church (or maybe a schoolhouse) all done with no part of the frame in sharp focus. I wish I could remember, because I’d like to go back and look at those photos again.

9 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on October 14, 2008 at 11:01 am perhaps?

    The URL probably won’t post. But it is www dot pbase dot com slash gordonmcgregor slash abbey

    In answer to the question in the title, I think the answer can be nothing, for certain values of interesting. It has been a recurring shallow theme in how I shoot, that I really mean to explore further some day. Most trips end up with one or two totally out of focus shots that I really enjoy.

  2. JH said, on October 14, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I’m hard trying to make the focus right – and here you discuss intentionally unsharp photos. A nice revelation!

  3. rhoehne said, on October 14, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    while on vacation last week I was taking pictures in the unit we stayed in and was bored with in focus pictures. I picked up an empty glass water jug and started walking around taking pictures through it, an interesting experiment and one I will continue with.

  4. Derek said, on October 15, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Take a look at Hiroshi Sugimoto’s architecture pics:

    He intentionally made everything out of focus.

  5. Gordon McGregor said, on October 15, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Another person to look for would be Uta Barth.

  6. Gordon McGregor said, on October 15, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I put together a more recent set of those sort of images over

  7. Gordon McGregor said, on October 15, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Also, for rhoehne, you might be interested in these, shot through various glass ashtrays, beer glasses, wine glasses, water bottles, etc

    what are you doing...

    sorry for all the links, Paul.

  8. Paul Butzi said, on October 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

    sorry for all the links, Paul.

    Please, no need to apologize.

    Folks, if you have links to related material, feel free to post them. If they get caught in the spam filters, I’ll do my level best to fish’em out and get them posted.

    I suppose that taken to an extreme it might be annoying. I’ll worry about that if and when it happens.

  9. rhoehne said, on October 19, 2008 at 12:56 am

    thanks Gordon, I posted one of the glass jug pictures on my site.

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