Is an out of focus picture a failed photo?
In photography, the out of focus has the particularity of being both the most basic error to avoid and at the same time an extremely difficult form to master between primary technical error and artistic ambition.
Pauline Martin had the excellent idea of taking us through the history of photography through the prism of out of focus, from the invention of the process of photography to the present day.
We will discover that, depending on the era, out of focus is sometimes considered a positive value, sometimes a negative one.
In a historical-thematic development, the works presented tell the evolution of this form whose uses have constantly changed according to the times and practices, whether they have been amateur, artistic, scientific, or even for reporting.
Interspersed with quotations, the book creates a dialogue between the images and the way in which out of focus has been described by authors and artists as diverse as Charles Baudelaire, Julia Margaret Cameron or Pierre Bourdieu, thus highlighting the issues of out of focus in perception. of the world.
Because as Serge Tisseron points out in his text, “If the rapid evolution of the world makes us anxious, we will probably prefer clear, stable images. If, on the contrary, we are distressed by a certain rigidity around us (…), we will favor movement, aspiration towards the future”.
In the preamble, Pauline Martin’s text tells the story of out of focus, a term originally dedicated to a certain pictorial practice before taking on the meaning we know.
Her expertise is supplemented by four texts: Martin Barnes examines the promotion of vagueness in the 19th century in Great Britain; Martine Beugnet is interested in the beginnings of cinema; when Florian Ebner and Michel Poivert focus respectively on the 1980s in Germany and on contemporary practice. A personal contribution by Sébastien Lifshitz and an interview with Serge Tisseron complete this reference work.
Flou. Une histoire photographique
Under the direction of Pauline Martin
Co-edition delpire & co and Photo Elysée
Texts and contributions by Martin Barnes, Martine Beugnet, Florian Ebner, Sébastien Lifshitz, Pauline Martin, Michel Poivert and Serge Tisseron, afterword by Nathalie Herschdorfer Publication: 03/02/2023
Size: 20 x 27.5 cm
282 black and white and color photographs