Where’s My Focus Been?


Anise, photograph taken with Lensbaby 2.0 lens

After a lengthy hiatus I think I’m ready to rejoin the blogging world on a regular basis.

It’s not that I’ve been absent from art-making, in fact it’s been a very active time. In particular, I have become excited again (for the first time in a number of years) with photography. So, while I may post a painting or two along the way for variety, a lot of what you’ll be seeing will be from my camera. In fact, a friend and I are forming a local group of professional and serious amateur photographers who will meet monthly to share ideas and to work on interpretive assignments to fuel our creative juices. Hopefully you will be seeing some of the results of those efforts here as well.

My focus, if you’ll excuse the expression, as of late in photography has been on subjects out of focus. Photography can suffer from its literal tendencies. How can we provide an interpretation of a subject when the camera and lens want to simply capture exactly what’s there in front of us? One of my favorite interpretive methods is to play with focus – deciding what should be in focus and what should not be allows me to shape the viewers experience a little more. It’s like playing with hard and soft edges in a painting. A common practice in painting, but less common in the photography world…

Fortunately there are some interesting tools for the adventurous photographer that can help. In particular, I’ve been using a line of special lenses made by a company named Lensbaby that keeps part of the image in focus and part of it out of focus. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these from me in the near future…

7 responses to “Where’s My Focus Been?

  1. “How can we provide an interpretation of a subject when the camera and lens want to simply capture exactly what’s there in front of us?”

    In practice of course the camera can never capture ‘exactly’ what is in front of us. The photographer always selects what to focus on, leaving stuff outside the frame. The earliest photographers, like Reijlander, never even pretended to try, building composite images from lots of separate shots.

  2. Great to have you back, Bob! and good luck with your photography teaching and making… I envy you cordially since that<s one thing I miss most… Meeting, in person, other artists, interesting artists, with whom to change ideas and experiences… Sure, Internet is great also…

    About the focus in photography… Did you ever seen a photo-shotgun? When I was young (and kind of silly) I,ve made economies for months and bought myself a ZENIT (russian) 300 mm zoom lense, installed on a similar rifle studff… You use it just like a real gun (photo gun, not bad…) and you photograph pusshing the trigger… It made great subject focused – backround out of focus photos…Just remebering…

    By the way, I"ve wrote my Challenge…

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