What’s the Deal with Bokeh?

I’ve seen it before in movies but never knew it had a name. Bokeh.

Bokeh is an out of focus point of light you’ll see in backgrounds of photos. When I joined Flickr, I noticed there were groups dedicated to nothing but bokeh. I also noticed some photographers do only bokeh photos. And photos that have that stuff have a gazillion adoring comments.

There is some in this photo I took, but it is not ideal.


Here’s an excellent bokeh photo someone has over there.

So I wondered, what’s the big deal?

I thought about some of my favorite moments in film and the images that flashed in my mind were ones that had bokeh in them.

A moonlit kiss on a porch with a fuzzy moon as a backdrop would be a good example.

But I don’t have one to show you.

Then I thought about some dramatic moments of my life. Bokeh in the background. Like when my son was born and his face was the only thing I could focus on because they gave me a powerful hallucinogenic drug.

That’s when I really got it.


17 thoughts on “What’s the Deal with Bokeh?

  1. Kitty, I snickered when you said, “Bokeh.” Like you were, I was skeptical but after your last paragraph, I now understamd exactly why bokeh is popular. I didn’t have the drug but I know just what you mean.

  2. Wow….I NEVER thought about this before….. thank you.

    I had an inconsequential boyfriend in my early 20s – and our first kiss was on a street in DC one night in the rain. I kept my eyes open, and the National Cathedral, all lit up in rain light was in my line of sight. BOKEH!

  3. When I read the title of this post, I first thought Bokeh was some kind of food. Tell’s you where my head is at.

    Interesting post, I willl look for those in pics now.

  4. It does sound like some exotic food.

    I’m trying to think of a specific movie example of where you’d see it. That scene in Pulp Fiction where Travolta is spaced out on heroin and driving that car, I think maybe it is in there. Also the movie “Leaving Las Vegas” it seems as if the entire movie was bokehtized.

    I see bokeh when I’m drunk. LOL.

  5. Pingback: Buck with Wounds « REDHEADED BLACKBELT and Other Strange Connections

  6. Now see, I’ve always called it “that thing where people don’t focus their cameras because they’re artistic.”

    So…that’s got a name. Nice. Is there a name for “that thing where people color up pictures of Che Guevara because they’re revolutionary”?

  7. Hi Kitty, you’ve justgive me something to ask my brother about ( he’s an excellent photographer)- which is okay because he’ll get all weird and I’ll end up with some funny posts- I’ll explain later….

    Silver Star- I work in Seattle and I’m sorry I missed out on WInterfest, it looked like a lot of fun!

  8. Well tell him you know that the better the bokeh, the better the lens it was shot with.
    Which is why mine is not that hot, but I had a hard time trying to “borrow” a great bokeh image from Flickr. Some of those guys are so not into letting people use their stuff, even with credit.
    I guess a lot of them get bombarded with people asking to use them all the time and they just shut it all down.

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