in which i learn the difference between ‘blur’ and ‘out of focus’

me with granddaughter alice, by jim hester

It is an undeniably sweet picture.  When I first saw it on my husband’s camera, I felt a small twinge that (it seems) manifested as a sigh, or catch of my breath; something easily (and apparently) interpreted as disappointment. 

In fact, it was surprise. I had not anticipated the image being so … out of focus. My husband is a masterful photographer, winner of awards and seller of his prints at art shows. He prides himself on his artistry, whether the subject be landscape, tight leaf shot or portrait. So I had some context for my initial, um, surprise.

This was a parting shot of myself with my newest grand-child, Alice. She and her family had spent the Thanksgiving holiday with us and our hosting daughter. At the time of this photo, her family was saying its goodbyes in preparation for their return drive to points south. A precious moment, captured.

When I expressed my surprise at the unfocused nature of this shot – especially in comparison with the quite clear pictures taken before and after – my husband patiently explained to me the intentional artistry involved in creating a ‘blurred’ shot in which the camera moves slowly to create a soft brush-stroke effect. If it were simply out of focus, he said, edges would be unclear and the whole would be unidentifiable.

As always, I am grateful for his artistic eye and for the intention with which he creates his chosen art form. It IS a beautifully watercolor-like image and one I shall cherish. In fact, the longer I look at it, the more it invokes two of my favorite mother-child artists: Mary Cassatt and Pablo Picasso … Yes, my husband is a figure artist with his lens.  And he has captured, in this BLURRED still life, the essence of a weekend filled with love and loving moments, each one crystal clear; though, in toto, they collage into something of a blur.



8 thoughts on “in which i learn the difference between ‘blur’ and ‘out of focus’

  1. I am so lucky that you are sharing these images and words Sarah. You know my brother much better than I do, as I have mostly childhood memories. Your posts about moments of your life with him and your relationship together is a wonderful gift. Thank you.

    • Oh my! Thank you, Rita, for that insight. One of the gifts for me is hearing in what way(s) my few words impact others. And what I learn over and over is – I simply do not know how/what that is going to be. Thanks for letting me know this particular angle – so moving to hear!

    • How lovely to ‘see’ you here, Philippa – and to read your kind and evocative words. I love ‘evanescent moment stilled forever’ … in ‘soft focus’ according to Anne’s comment. A poem might be brewing from readers’ beautiful responses!!! Warm wishes to you along with my gratitude.

    • Soft focus! Now THAT’s a fine term, covers all the angles (LOL) and aspects. Yes, it was sweet. Looking forward to hearing about yours as well when we reconnect soon. Thanks for stopping by1

  2. Sarah,
    What a precious photo. I can feel the warmth and love for Alice as well as your husband’s love for both of you. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Ah, Bonnie. I just love seeing your name here and reading your caring words. I hope you are well. Across all the years I still see your face with such clarity, feel your fierceness for causes, for justice … Thanks for reading and sharing your impressions. Love backatcha …

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