biff051509017I have a collection of interesting and slightly exotic lenses on my camera shelf here, including a tilt/shift Nikon lens, a tilt/shift nikon knock-off I got from KievCamera.net and a couple of lensbaby variants. The lensbaby, for those who don’t know, is a simple lens connected by a flexible tube to the camera, and you focus it by moving it around with your fingers. All of these lenses share one common aspect: they make blurry images, or rather, they tend to handle focus in odd ways. I’ve marveled over the years at how this strange effect of focus has an impact on the content and emotion of the photos that you take with the lenses. Our brains are wired in strange ways, as relates to sight. The same image, sharp edge to edge will pale in comparison, emotionally, to one that has focus fall-off. Why is this? My theory is that our visual center is interested in “what is of interest” for the matter of our survival. When you really focus on someone in a conversation, your peripheral vision fades and even noises drop down. You are “focused” on that person. I think that the effect of the lensbaby and other such devices, including the very short depth of field created by view cameras, has the same physiological effect of “focusing” our attention. In any case, here are some photos from the recent BIFF (Berkshire international film festival) that I shot with the lensbaby that I like.

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