Focus on Blur: Bokeh Cityscapes Celebrate Color & Light

bokeh urban color light

Stretching and reversing conventions for balancing foreground and background, one urban photographer in Tokyo is taking the Japanese concept of Bokeh to dazzling extremes.

bokeh vertical landscape city

Bokeh (which translates as ‘blur’) plays with a lens’s circle of confusion in which points of light become glowing discs, but instead of making the background fuzzy, Takashi Kitajima unexpectedly lets the foreground become the backdrop.

bokeh blurred city street

The result seems to highlight the chaos and movement of what is closest to the viewer’s perspective in a surreal but suggestive way that indirectly resonates with our actual experience of cities.

bokeh city angled view

bokeh statue monument focus

In turn, more distant monuments, buildings and bridges on the horizon or off to one side emerge as stable anchors, contrasted with a sea of light.

bokeh zoom foreground background

The net effect is something between a photograph and a watercolor or pastel painting, a fusion of concrete realism and playful abstraction.