Capturing imperfection

I love trying new things.  I’m not always happy with them, but sometimes, the results surprise me.  This happens to be one of those times.

I was playing around with a bowl of tangerines trying to capture the vibrant orange color.  Everything I shot was too detailed, and I realized I was getting frustrated with the whole process.  I didn’t want to showcase the dimpled exterior of the fruit – I wanted to capture the color and the shape.  So, I did something counter-intuitive for me: I unfocused.

Generally I hate blurry photographs.  Now that digital is king, we all seem to be pushing for the sharpest image possible with all the detail you can see in real life.  The more detail the better!  If anything, oversharpened images are as bad as blurry ones – and sometimes worse.  This image though, goes so far beyond blurry it’s no longer a photograph in my opinion. 

It’s not blurry because I shot with a longer shutter speed than my camera could handle, or because I moved the wrong way when I tried to steady the camera.  No, this is a deliberate, careful adjustment to the focus – I wanted the image to blur to the point that the colors and light patterns became shapes.  I’m happy with it.

Granted, this certainly isn’t a new concept for the rest of the photography world.  It’s probably something you’ve seen a million times and written off as blurred crap.  Still, it’s new for me.  I’ve always tried to capture that perfect shot, and to deliberately strive for imperfection is something strange for me.  Liberating really.  And rather fun!

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One thought on “Capturing imperfection

  1. I like this method of photographing something, it actually most closely approximates how I can adjust my own lenses, my eyes. I can’t zoom in with my eyes and make something clearer, I can’t always filter out the background light to make something less glarey, but what I can do is unfocus my eyes so that I lose an object’s, typically a person’s, details and am just left with the form. I find this technique particularly useful when having a conversation in which it is difficult to focus my my attention; defocusing on the minutiae of a person’s appearance actually helps me to hone in on the spoken focus instead.

    Just seeing this evokes memories of times when I’ve employed this methodology in my own life, and the tangerines in the picture look much better than much of the citrus which I’ve been stocking at work lately ;-P.

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