Focus in photography is about a lot more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus can enhance a subject by making it stand out from or blend into its surroundings, focus can draw you in, and the right focus can create an emotional connection with the viewer.
Continuing on my journey towards total photo snobbery, I’ve come to realize that my friends and family and I have different ideas about what makes a “good” photo. I’ve actually gotten exasperated requests at Christmas to “just send regular pictures.”
I prefer a documentary style approach to photographing my family and friends. I prefer more reality in my photos, capturing people doing stuff besides posing, looking natural and relaxed. But many people prefer smiling mug shots. I don’t go all prima donna and refuse to take requests. No, I just bury my pain deep inside of me where it can fester and create raging internal conflict and turmoil useful for artistic endeavors, smile, and say, “Say cheese!”
I give them both. Once in a while,
For years, I was too shy to ask to take a stranger’s picture. Normally, I’m not at all shy. I’ll talk to anyone. But stick a camera in my hand and I would become horribly self-conscious. I thought it a bit presumptuous to ask to take someone’s picture. After all, I wasn’t a “real” photographer but only a hobbyist.
I did take photographs of people who were unaware. Some were interesting pictures, I thought, that captured moments or moods. They were small slices of real, unrehearsed and unself-conscious life. I think such pictures have an important place in any photographer’s repertoire, but I am not discussing those here.
Then I read up on various ways that street photographers took pictures without being noticed. These surreptitious shots did not appeal to me, though, because they seemed a bit sneaky. I wanted either pictures of people completely unaware, or pictures of people who were totally aware. I did not want to furtively snap images of people who did not want their pictures taken.