Pasadena · Photography

Small town, L.A.

Narrow DOF

I have always had these experiences in the big cities that I live in, and maybe it’s because I pay attention to the small details of my surroundings way more than I should. When I lived in Paris and London, I noticed the same people in vastly different areas of the cities, weeks apart. Once in London, I saw the same guy three times in one day, in three different places. I have total recall for details, and that’s how I got a guy arrested (rightly) in Istanbul once. I’ve bumped into the 7/11 clerk from twenty miles away in my neighbor’s elevator and remembered him.

So yesterday, I was at a piercing salon looking for new and interesting earrings. Looking at all the metallic jewelry behind glass panes, I thought how perfect this place would be for my next photo assignment, where we had to shoot for shallow and wide depth of field. I’ve struggled with this assignment, my camera broke, I ran out of ideas. While the employee was fetching a catalog, I wandered in another room and found a black and white photo that caught my eye for three reasons:

1 it was obviously a film print

2 it was exactly what my assignment needed to be: an example of narrow depth of field

3 it was dry-mounted, suspiciously like the ones I have to hand in are supposed to be.

Right then and then, I decided that I knew this was exactly what I thought it was: the depth of field assignment that I was supposed to hand in. Just to confirm my suspicions, I reached for the mounted photograph, and flipped it around, to read on the back, on a piece of masking tape, exactly what I thought would be there:

“student name: narrow depth of field”


2 thoughts on “Small town, L.A.

  1. This post is particularly entertaining because we just critiqued the depth of field assignments tonight. What a small world.

    1. Hi Dan!! Yes, you’re right! That’s actually exactly what I was thinking about when I shot that picture. It’s easy to get the effect with a point and shoot digital because if you set the mode to macro, it automatically blurs the background.

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