Motion Blur

I have been experimenting with motion blur (or intentional camera movement, ICM as it is called) in the past. You achieve this effect by using a relatively long exposure time (1/25 second or slower) and moving your camera in a planned and coordinated way when pressing the shutter release. Technically it is not easy to produce meaningful pictures because you need to calculate the visual path of the camera and the position of the object that you are aiming at. So consequently you often get pictures that do not show what you have envisaged. 

And to be clear. Motion blur does not mean that you shoot randomly into a crowd or at still objects. In order to achieve good pictures you should have a clear idea of what you want to capture and how to move your camera. Otherwise you end up with chaotic pictures that don’t have any meaning or good visual impact. 

In Tokyo I returned to the technique of motion blur. An important reason was that I was not overly happy with the expression of my “still pictures” that I had taken in the first two days in the city. So I decided to take the plunge and shoot ICM only for the rest of my stay. That gave me the opportunity of trying out this technique in many shots and to improve my technique. 


To my mind motion blur pictures have a deeper, a different expression than still photos. I find that they reveal a “reality behind the reality” that you can hardly find in the usual images with quick shutter release. Particularly when shooting people I find that their faces show treats that express something of their character that you only find when you use long exposure. 


As the viewer of these pictures you need to take more time too. Following the lines, looking into each corner of the picture helps you getting the full expression of the picture. Letting the overall impression sink in, letting your subconscious process what you see may indeed reveal a deeper reality. Of course this applies on any photograph, however do I think that in motion blur pictures, patience on the side of the viewer reveals more details and more meaning. It feels as if I as the viewer immerse myself deeper into what is happening in the picture. 

Flickr is not the ideal medium for motion blur. We “flick” through the pictures very rapidly, spending hardly longer than 3 seconds on one image. But maybe sometimes it would be good to slow down and to force ourselves into a deeper experience with the pictures that we regard. Motion blur is a good occasion to start this attempt.