Slice of life
You can use selective focus to direct the viewer’s eye towards your subject
At the opposite end of the scale from keeping as much as possible in the frame sharp is using very shallow depth of field. There is naturally more choice in how to play it than with deep focus, because you’re able to decide which parts of the scene will be in focus.
The classic selective focus approach is to keep sharpness restricted to the tiniest part of the scene, using the widest aperture (and with a fast lens, such as Nikon’s 85mm f/1.4, depth of field can be extremely shallow). Using a longer focal length enhances this effect, as does shooting in close-up. The eye is naturally attracted towards sharpness, and so a ramp from soft to sharp, as in this scene in Laos of Buddha statues being gilded, leads the viewer’s eye into the image.
Success in shots like this hinges partly on exaggerating the contrast between the sharp and blurred areas, so not only is it important to choose the focused part precisely (and to be very accurate in your focusing) but also to have the out-of-focus areas at some distance physically from the main subject of your photograph.
The lines of perspective draw your eye to the man, and selective focusing has made him the clear subject of the shot