Week 1 – #39 Shallow Depth of Field

39 shallow depth of fieldI am going to start out this new season of themes with one that is a reproduction of a 1930’s photograph.  In this, I am demonstrating the fading of the LifeSaver on the candy as it gets further from the camera.  Notice the lifesaver in front lower right is sort of in focus but the next two front facing lifesavers on the right are the focus point.  I am using lighting that is coming from the camera’s right instead of using a flash on top of the camera – throwing the unique shadows – copying the candies shape.

To give credit – this is a copy of one of Ruth Bernhard photos


Ruth Bernhard was born on October 14, 1905 in Werder, Germany, near Berlin. Daughter of the legendary graphic artist and type designer Lucian Bernhard, Ruth moved from her native Germany to New York at the age of twenty-one. There, her…artistic life blossomed among the designers and artists of the new modernist movement who inhabited the vibrant cultural center that was New York in the thirties. A 1935 encounter in California with photographer Edward Weston led to her passion for photography as an artistic medium, and thus began her unending commitment to the making of exquisitely perfected photographs. The first image she made after meeting Weston, “Creation, 1936”, a hand cradling a doll’s head, remains her favorite. “When I am working on a still life,” she later explained, “it might be days before I make an exposure, and then it will be only one negative.”

Ruth’s photography began appearing in print in the early 1930s, and in the June 1939 issue of U.S. Camera, she was “the American Aces” cover story. By that time, she had produced work on many subjects: children, shells, animals, dolls, still lifes, and nudes. Ruth’s first photograph of the nude was in 1934, but she did not begin concentrating on the genre until the 1950s and 60s. Bernhard worked for decades in a male-dominated field before her own achievements were appreciated. At a time when women were rarely acknowledged in photography, Ruth carved out her own trademark style.

During her lifetime she had more than 200 exhibitions around the world and innumerable books have reproduced her images. Since 1996, her works have become part of the permanent archive of Princeton University.

Ruth Bernhard died on December 18, 2006 at her home in San Francisco, California.

Each time I make a photograph I celebrate the life I love and the beauty I know and the happiness I have experienced. All my photographs are made like that ~ responding to my intuition… After all these years, I am still motivated by the radiance that light creates when it transforms an object into something magical. What the eye sees is an illusion of what is real. The black-and-white image is yet another transformation. What exactly exists, we may never know.” ~Ruth Bernhard



18 thoughts on “Week 1 – #39 Shallow Depth of Field

    1. Thank you – I wish I could say it was my original concept. I had seen it and now trying to find the original again so I can give the lady photographer credit. When I do I will post it.

    1. Smell of wintergreen in my kitchen. Problem was trying to keep my cats from changing the layout – one paw swipe and off the board they roll – and crash into halves on the floor.

    1. Ahh George, I remember how I was last year with it being the first year and I kept going back and forth on what to do. As I got into a rhythm for it, they just happen. You will find your rhythm and the ideas will just jump out at you. Just have a good time and relax. Don’t worry if it takes a couple of days or so.

      1. It’s funny you say that, Sue. I got so used to finding the themes last year that I keep looking at the list and not really sure what to do this time! All of them are completely new – which is great – but it will take me awhile to wrap my head around them! =)

    1. Thank you – I think you understand why after I saw the original, I had to try to replicate it. Both because it was so interesting and to remember a lady who definitely knew how to compose images.

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