Bokeh.

Bokeh (originally  /ˈboʊkɛ /ˈboʊkeɪ / boh-kay, and also sometimes heard as  /ˈboʊkə/ boh-kə, Japanese: [boke]) is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image.

I’ve been in love with those lovely bursts of lights for a long time—even way before I knew that they were called “bokeh”. The term itself comes from the Japanese word boke (暈け or ボケ), which means “blur” or “haze”, or boke-aji (ボケ味), the “blur quality”. The Japanese term boke is also used in the sense of a mental haze or senility. The term bokashi (暈かし) is related, meaning intentional blurring or gradation. The reason why I love “bokeh”? Maybe because it gives the impression of things; seen through a pair of teary eyes. There’s this certain sadness, certain beauty, certain silence… like not fully knowing someone you love. Like being drawn by a secret. Like the curiosity of wanting to see things clearer. But you just can’t. You can’t come closer. Because you’re afraid that reality might turn ugly on you. Because you’ve learned that some things are more beautiful to be seen from a distance. Or maybe you’re just afraid of getting hurt, again.

A short trip to Taipei gave me a wonderful opportunity to capture that certain feeling: like… the feeling of missing someone?

H.

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