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?



21 Responses

  1. Hihihihi….. fotonya keren2… dan sungguh dramatis…. foto yang aku punya tentang butir air hujan, lebih abstrak tanpa bokeh dan tone… ^___^ kapan2 jenguk yah di

    Dear lovely beradadisini… fotonya sungguh berkisah,, narasinya mendramatisasikan fotonya…. ada sepi, sendu, dan haru ketika melihat bagaimana mba bisa mengartikan sebuah penglihatan…. menular sekali rasanya menikmati foto2 dan narasi di atas itu… terhenti rasanya waktu tadi… sekedar menikmati lewat potongan-potongan gambar,, yang selalu aku suka ^___^v

  2. This is beautiful, your writing makes me smile, your photographs make tears feel more beautiful, they show how sadness is also a part of healing, so lovely xx

  3. I’ve seen a lot of bokeh images through the internet,but this is the first time I’ve seen such beautiful description about it.Thanks so much for sharing these thoughts~~love them~~

  4. baru tau kalo namanya “bokeh”, terkadang aku suka bikin efek bokeh sendiri, manipulasi mata aja trus tiba2 semua jadi blur..walopun abis itu jadi pusing..
    i like “alone” but “crossing the distance” have something inside..don’t know what..

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Screenshot 2022-12-08 at 12.43.17
This year, I learned to accept the days when I don't feel motivated, tired, or a bit grumpy. I learned to allow myself to sit with this feeling instead of feeling guilty about it and forcing myself to be productive, socialize, or just get things done.
Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash
In the end, self-care is not always about doing the things that make us feel good or give us instant gratification. It's also about doing the RIGHT thing: something that is good for us in the long run—even if it may feel hard at times.
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer and an artist/illustrator based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.