The secret recipe of “great bad photos”


Photos that are out of focus, under/over exposed, back-lit, too grainy, wrong color, cropped subject head,  generally goes to trash and regarded as failed photos.

It’s true most of the time, but have you ever find some of your above photos that is actually beautiful? I did, and over the years,  I discover interesting common characteristics in those photos. And this post focus mainly on one significant type among these photos.

Such photos are interesting, but our brain is fascinating!


It’s all about some action and facial expression. I discovered those out-of-focus photos that still works are those you can see a smile, an expression.

Why is that so? Our brain is so trained up in everyday through years that we are hard-coded to recognize faces and expression better then anything else in the world. a tiny glimpse of tireness, a tiny change of skin coloration, our brain is so good at faces to detect others emotions and health. a pixel difference at your eye will be perceived differently, we can deduce what the subject feels and think by looking at thier eyes. Like Shelok Homles is a great master of this, but all of us are not that bad either, it’s just how we are born to be.

So, even a very out-of-focused face we can still detect his facial expression. And most importantly, we like looking at facial expressions and feel the emotions without even thinking!

Action, expression, vibe can sometimes override other failures!


That’s how these photos works. the few photos in this posts might not be the best photos in such kind, but it should illustrate that it works out of the box. We can instantly see and feel what the person’s mood. And we are interested by that despite other photographic pitfalls in the photo.

Below are more blurry but nice photos:



Below is another category of blur but nice photo, not uncommon use of bokeh-ish rain drops, but have you discovered that there is nothing in focus and you can’t tell what they are right away? Instead of asking what the heck is this photo doing? It still works, it is still suggesting certain mood. It still possess a beauty of the abstract, and the colors are fascinating. And in fact, some of you might vaguely tell it’s a tram in the rain, and there are neon lights, reflections of neon, etc. the vague here becomes a useful element.12501236643_5cb79c95f7_o

Finally, there is a arguable question:

Will the same photos looks even better if they are in focus? you will be the judge.

But one thing i observe is these photos adds a sense of casual spontaneous mood, which is a quality absent in professional focused photos. Also, the blurriness, for better or worse, adds some mysteriousness and room for imagination. And in some of these photos, we can even see the subject in action, like he/she is about to do something, about to move forward, about to laugh, etc. These qualities are well accepted and even embraced by Lomography communities.

Do you like these photos? will you proudly present these photos in your album or simply trash them? That’s totally a personal preference.





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