My Blog

10 May

Focus & Distortion

Focus & Distortion

To follow on from my first experimentation I wanted to look into it further. I was interested in the distortion of the face and the different perspective from the viewer’s point of view and my own point of view. I concentrated on the focus of a camera lens within my next self-portrait. I wanted the viewer, instead of me behind the camera as a photographer, to feel like they are the ones controlling and focusing the camera. I wanted them to see what I see through a camera lens and how I see the world.

I took inspiration from these two gifs:

tumblr m9qj96f3Bs1rbzx0po1 500

I like the way they go in and out of focus, showing what it looks like blurred as well as in focus. This is also what you see through the camera lens. I like the way the blurred movement distorts the image so it is hard to see but it is still recognisable especially when you can see the focused image within the GIF. This gave me the idea to create self-portraits through distortion and focus.


By looking at blur and focus I was interested in the distortion of the face, where the features aren’t crisp or enhanced which makes it harder to see facial expressions and what a person actually looks like. I looked work by Tinca Veerman and within their project they focused on blur creations of portraits. These portraits are out of focus but they still feel some what recognisable, as you can point out different aspects of the person, such as the hair, you can see each portrait has a different hairstyle - plaited or tied up or falling down over her face and eyes. I also took inspiration from the painter Laura Lancaster who paints abstract pictures. I like how you are aware of the figure standing in the painting but the features don’t stand out. The subject is anonymous in a way where the painter uses broad strokes to blur the picture. The person is shown through pattern and colour. This shows off how the painter views the subject and the surroundings, as well as what the person in the painting is feeling through the artwork.

Experimenting with Blur and Focus

bluefocus screenshot image

As I am interested in slight movement within my self-portraits I wanted to create a cinemagraph as I find gifs show too much movement. Within my self portrait I wanted the viewer to feel like they are the ones controlling the camera. To make a cinemagraph I used photoshop and recorded a video. To create this effect I used two cameras (both on tripods) and positioned one behind the other. This is so the camera behind could record the focus of the front camera and also capture the camera as well as the surroundings. I wanted myself to be blurred in the background so that the focus is on the camera screen. I wanted to make the self portrait as a cinemagraph so that only the screen was moving. As I am an aspiring photographer I felt that letting the viewer see what I see through the camera lens shows the way I view the world. Within photoshop I stopped the movement of the video and then masked it and painted over the bits I wanted to be moving, this then keeps the camera and the surroundings still and just letting the screen loop so that it is constantly re-focusing onto my face.

Gifwork setup image
Camera Focus

Final Outcome

Camera Focus3


  • "Camera GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "Camera GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "Flea Market Inspiration: Laura Lancaster's Work References Found Imagery". Arts Observer. Web. 10 May 2017. 
  • "Laura Lancaster - 11 Artworks, Bio & Shows On Artsy". Web. 10 May 2017.  
  • "Sunset GIF - Find & Share On GIPHY". GIPHY. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 May 2017.
  • "The Jealous Curator /// Curated Contemporary Art". Web. 10 May 2017.