Motion Blur (again)

I have previously written about motion blur and my personal approach to it. You find the article in this blog under 11 May. I want to continue and expand this topic a little yet.

Let’s talk a little about what motion blur conceals - and what it reveals. Of course a picture that is shot out of a movement can’t show all details of a person, that of facial expression, the physiognomy, simply because these details are blurred. But this is not entirely true. If you take a closer look at the faces that are shot in motion blur, you will discover surprising details, facial expression, mood, feelings. I am wondering if this is because the technique is able to reveal another kind of reality, something that is hidden when you shoot with the usual short exposure time. But perhaps the lack of detail induces a search process on the mind of the viewers who try to complete the picture on their mind. Are we filling in the gaps with our personal “mind map” or is this really a different reality that the face shows with longer exposure time and motion blur?

I actually believe that the latter is the case. I believe that in a quite miraculous way a face shows details, shows features, shows experiences and traits of character in a motion blur picture that you can’t discover in an “ordinary” picture. I am not able to explain exactly how this works. Maybe it has to do with the lack of control a person has over the facial expression over a longer time (and we are talking about something of ¼ to ½ a second, maybe up to one second exposure time). Maybe it is the subsequence of facial expressions over the time. Maybe it is the “artificial” distortion that the blur effect creates.


In the past I have only worked in the streets and like recently in Tokyo I have created candid street pictures. My next steps will be to work with models that I will shoot with this technique. I want to create both, portraits and nude pictures.

With regard to portrait I will need to find out, how close I need to get to the face or how distant I need to be. Until now I know that the closer you get either physically or with the lens that you use the more difficult it becomes to catch the shot. It requires a lot of shooting discipline and coordination to shoot a motion blur picture with a focal length of 135mm. I have tried it…. :-) So my first step will be to use a wide lens, 28 or even 21mm (I have this beautiful Zeiss Distagon 21mm lens for my Nikon camera) and to try to get a feeling for the movement and the facial expression that I can create. In a second step I will try to get closer, maybe use my 50mm lens, maybe even a 85mm one.

Playing with exposure time is also interesting. I have already discovered that the longer the exposure time is the more “ghostly” or etherial the facial expression becomes. In that way technical details have a big impact on the outcome.

Trying out the blur technique on a nude body is something that I really want to do. What you find in the face you will also find in the whole nude body. I am keen on finding out the changes of expression in a naked body that is shot with motion blur. I will need to find models for this which might be a little difficult considering how much I currently travel and that I am in certain places only for a limited time.

If somebody reads this who is interesting to be my model either in Athens or in Wellington, New Zealand (where I will be during November 2019) or Darwin, Australia (during December 2019), please contact me either through this website or my Flickr mail account.

This story will continue and I want to explore the options of motion blur further in the future. If you have any ideas, suggestions, things you would like to contribute, please let me know….