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Hospital portrait – understanding Bokeh

This image was taken in a local hospital earlier today and demonstrates the effective use of a large lens aperture f1.4 to isolate the two subjects in the foreground from the out of focus background. The way a lens renders out of focus detail is referred to its ‘bokeh‘. If you look closely you will see that the large haggered looking subject on the right has one eye in focus while the other is out of focus. This shallow ‘depth of field’ is also associated with larger lens apertures.

According to the Keywords used in the image metadata the smaller and more attractive subject is a Sylvie Goldsmith while the the larger subject is of no interest to the viewer and quite rightly goes un-named. The larger subject would also benefit from some serious work in Photoshop.

In case you are worried the rough looking subject on the right will be teaching at Bath University as normal today.

Hospital portrait - Bokeh and the newborn baby (Sylvie)

Bokeh and the newborn baby (Sylvie)

2 Responses to “Hospital portrait – understanding Bokeh”

  1. Julian Foxon

    Not only informative but very funny! Oh, and congratulations!

  2. Steve Hull

    Congratulations on a superbly-composed image! In particular, the use of stripes in both subjects’ costumes acts as a unifying motif and the choice of blue and pink nicely underscores the contrasts between the two while at the same time ironically commenting on anti-progressive gender issues still prevalent in our oppressive culture. The thesis/antithesis balance between contrast and similarity is further reinforced by the presence in the image of only one set of hands, one set of open eyes and the top of only one head. The subtle smile of the one is even mirrored in the drowsy frown of the cute little snuggly-wuggly sweetikins — (*ahem*) excuse me… now where was I…

    Ah, yes. In summation, then, we have a seemingly uncomposed moment which is in reality a precise and disciplined example of dialectics in photography, a structurally rigorous essay presented in a manner easily digested by the masses. The political implications are clear, so clear that I will leave it to the viewer to reify them.

    Way to go, comrades!

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