Searching for Bokeh
Nina Romani loves to explore cities and landscapes. Whether at home or when traveling she is constantly on the lookout for special bokeh with her camera and her Planar T* 1,4/50 always at her side.
Punta del Este is a popular beach resort on the Atlantic Ocean situated at the mouth of the Río de la Plata (Plata River), around 140 kilometers (87 miles) from Montevideo. Nina Romani often comes here to take pictures. “One time on the way to Punta del Este, I saw an old blue car parked along the street. It was just after noon and very hot; the light was extremely bright. Normally, I avoid taking pictures at that time because of the hard contrasts. But on that day, after a few attempts, I was able to take a very atmospheric shot. The hood of the car, blurred in the soft bokeh of the Planar T* 1,4/50, is ‘full of longing’ as it faces the sea.”
Nina Romani likes to wander around aimlessly during her travels, especially with with her camera. Whenever she walks through a town or drives on a country road, she focuses her gaze on moods that others might overlook. This is how she explores places and landscapes in her own special way. “With the aperture of the Planar T* 1,4/50 almost wide open, the railing at the marina of Punta del Este appears as little more than a small, focused spot of wood. But who might be standing on this jetty and looking out into the distance? What might that person be thinking about? About the space, the evening air, or taking a ride on one of the boats whose sails are illuminated at dusk?”
“It’s the small details – a view for the essential – that fascinate me during my travels. I always look for very special places and small things that give me joy and a sense of calm. Then I linger and try to capture the moment with its emotional aura.” The background of her pictures often flows into the unknown — into a bokeh that directs your view to the front of the image and makes you curious about what is hidden behind. In the picture of a flower shop, for example, you can deduce a person in the bokeh, a pedestrian on the streets of Stockholm. Did that person just leave the flower shop? Or is he or she going there to buy a strawberry plant?
Perhaps the imaginary person whose figure disappears in the bokeh paused for a moment on the way home to admire a pink tulip — tulips like the ones pictured here, shot in London’s St James’s Park. Romani: “Flowers play a big role in my photography. Whenever I discover such a flower bed in the middle of a city, I lose all sense of time. And this image shows very well why I enjoy taking pictures with the Planar T* 1,4/50 so much: its contrast-rich color rendering combined with an extraordinary bokeh which allows me to give my pictures something really special.”
That ‘special something’ is also visible in the image of an old bicycle that appears before a ‘lonely’ grey marbled background in the streets of Stockholm. Or in the classic, circular bokeh that appears behind a cup of Wiener Melange, enjoyed in a Paris café after a long day of taking pictures. “Several years ago I first discovered how to play with bokeh and to work with a fixed focal length, such as the Planar T* 1,4/50. Ever since then I have experimented a lot and read about that technique. With the right bokeh, you can create images with a magical, but also cheerful, character. An interesting area of blur can stimulate the viewer’s imagination, allowing him or her to think about the next possible step in the scene, and to make the picture a part of their own story.”
About Nina Romani
Nina Romani was born in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires. She studied computer science at university and has worked in the computer industry ever since. Romani, who taught herself photography, loves to take her camera with her when she travels. Her passion is photographing appealing corners of small towns and big cities. Romani aims to give herself and those who view her pictures a ‘time out’ from hectic everyday life.