As a creative professional1, it is important to be on the leading edge of photography composition, editing, and style. Doing so allows you to be obnoxious and condescending to all other photographers.
Why make images that people like when you can loudly express how great you are, while everybody else sucks? Because of this, I would like to declare: I am one of the world’s leading Out Of Focus photographers.
“Don’t grieve. Any kind of really bad photograph you make is a classic if you tell people it is a great image on social media.”
– Fake Rumi Quote, like most Rumi quotes…
What Is Out Of Focus Photography
Like many movements in art, it is difficult to explain to Plebian photographers who cannot possibly understand the creative process and methodology in a new genre. Since autofocus was invented in the 1970s, photography has been subject to the tyranny of those who insist that you must properly focus your images.
Even hipster photographers, resplendent in their film camera bodies and poetic love-making of their home darkroom, ruin the nostalgic moment with their focusing techniques. This is why a large group of photographers2 formed the aptly named f/1.2 group. No longer will this very large group allow those from F/64 to tell us how to create images.
Some people, often referred to with the scientific term, haters, will say that all I am doing is purposely making these images out of focus. I take much offense! This is art! Please take your time machine back to the 2010s, please!
“Rather than focus, fidelity, and honesty, give me a baloney answer that you ‘Barely Use Photoshop’.”
– Fake Quote by Henry David Thoreau
Field Notes With No Focus At All
We know, the mountains are calling. Many people visit these climes in times of indulgent and ephemeral recreation. Because they do not spend constant idle time in these locales, they are tourists. They are simpleton visitors. They cannot come to understanding the true wild nature of this place.
These tourists miss the rich aroma of a road-killed skunk. They don’t catch the sweet fragrance of its stink, when a maintenance employee simply shovels its carcass and tosses it 4 feet off the highway. Only multiple visits, with accompanying nostrile tightening from rotting stench, can one even begin to elucidate true meaning of the urban-wild interface.
Ponder for a moment, a simple rock, compelled by gravity to spill onto the asphalt. Beginners and tourists only see that rock, and because they are trying to drive and look at their smartphone simultaneously, must make a hasty decision of fight, flight, or put that leased vehicle over the guardrail.
For some, this rock is only a day-ruiner when a mystifyingly lowered Honda Civic kicks it from its roadway resting place directly into the vehicle’s poorly protected oil plan. For those who spend weeks, months, and years in these parts, we have a more comprehensive understanding of man vs. planet. For the Out of Focus photographer, that rock is a granitic story of millions of years, with sharp edges that can be beautifully softened into hazy lumps with zero detail.
Rookie outdoor enthusiasts, many whom believe Julian is a fun place to visit on the weekend, do not understand the kilo-decible din of the Harley with no muffler installed. They do not ponder the deep hip-hop bass chasing avian residents and enslaved bovines away. Nothing says true wilderness than a symphonic low-end that rattles a car trunk so hard that the bolts are about to fall off. Us, the veterans of the outdoors, we seek these higher places.
That – is how art is made. That – is how prints are sold. That – is how people can claim to make hundreds of thousands of dollars a years in photography while hiding their day jobs.
The Next Big Thing In Fine Art Landscape Photography
There was HDR, and who couldn’t resist using Photomatix and tone-mapping a photo stack so bright that it causes blindness in small children3. There was Orton Glow, and who couldn’t resist turning every object in your photograph into a ghost-ridden dreamland that left some people dizzy4. Then came the luminosity masks, and why not add masks on top of your masks until the result was so foreign, NASA scientists thought we had photographed an extra-solar planet5.
But now, we can step back and let go. One of the leading ways to be one of the true leaders in the field is to be the first to do it. So I submit myself, T.M. Schultze, Award-Winning Professional Landscape Photographer™6, as the world’s leading Out of Focus Landscape photographer. As the leader in the field, I shall make enumerated pronouncements about how your work is not good enough. For you, the amateur and the tourist, will only think turning the focus ring will create this new, expressive artwork7. Many will be defeated by their camera systems own autofocus feature, for they will not know how to turn it off. Many will not understand the precision with which you must defocus to create this timeless creation. True art, that only I have brought to this world, and your work will be but a clever imitation. People shouldn’t be the next Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz or Steve McMurray. You should not be the next Out of Focus photographer, you copycats!
In my talks to Photo Clubs throughout the country and the world8, I get asked questions about how I determine the best way to blur my images9. Some wonder, do I Photoshop my images? The horror! How could an evangelist for the field resort to computerized magician-ship to replicate the 20/200 vision I have created with my motor neurons?
Besides, in the quest for the optimal pixel daze, shouldn’t I get it wrong in camera first? Photoshop is a crutch. I barely use Photoshop, like every landscape photographer claims. I don’t cheat my thousands of buyers and followers with machinery bamboozle. I am perfectly capable of getting 20 stops of dynamic range with equipment not dissimilar to yours, but I know the cauldron spell and magical pixie dust to bring out long-rumored and hidden features that the big camera vendors don’t want you to know about.
Marketing These Priceless Works Of Art
As a true artist, one cannot help but hold back the hoards of eager buyers. For a field so complex with such a high barrier-to-entry, I often feel like Beatlemania has set in after each image I release. Few will ever know what it is like to hold a precision instrument more difficult to obtain than a brand-new Rolls Royce10. Because I am a photographer that most will only dream of being, I climb my internet-based mountain to scream it from the peak!
Nothing speaks to true artistic endeavor than squeezing your standard 2×3 aspect image into Instagram’s inexplicable square format. I am telling you, the world wants odd crops or strange white border bars for photographs. Instagram knew this all along. Instagram easily makes good photographers millions of dollars. While browsing famous people holding the latest protein beverage they were paid to Influence, let the bots do the work. Pay for a bot and buy some followers yourself! Chase them Likes! And rejoice when the Bots react to you, and always, you must always reply to your Bot comments because chasing that clout is what makes the world go ’round.
Tell it from your Facebook-based rooftop, hear me roar! I am the best! Humblebrag how your photo is going viral, all on its own, even though we can easily see your Post is “Sponsored.” Pay the social media devils who suppress your updates, which creates your thirst to boost them with your hard-earned dollars11. You will succeed! You will, like me, of course, someday become a millionaire selling prints. Some of those haters may claim there are more people selling photo prints than people buying photo prints, but ignore those cynics!
Oh….The World of Photography
If you found any of this post to be satire about the state of the world of photography, I encourage you to reflect when meaningful time can be had to determine if that is truly how this post is to be interpreted12. As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you don’t appreciate the images, because, of course, it is April Fool’s Day.
Some Real Images
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.
- I actually work in technology sales and make photographs for fun…..don’t tell anybody!
- Just me.
- I could resist, actually.
- There is some overlap between purposely making out of focus images for a HAHA blog post and overuse of Orton Glow
- Continued crimes against photography that should be investigated by The Hague
- Professional Inside Sales Representative
- This is literally the way to do it.
- Just my local photo club, and I don’t even talk to them…
- I have never been asked this.
- Actually, B&H has them for 1% the price of a Rolls
- The Mafia is jealous that social media came up with this…
- Yes, yes it is. There actually is no other way to interpret this post. At all. If you come up with something else, there is something wrong with you.