Behind the scenes
Blur the foreground to add interest to an image
An effective shallow-focus technique, thankfully not yet over-used, is to place the focus behind the subject, so that it has to rely on colour, shape and other clues to make itself understood visually. Why, you might ask, would anyone deliberately set out to confuse? One reason is to intrigue or surprise the viewer; another is when focusing on the subject might be too strident, as in this case: the flowerbedecked hairdos of Bulang women at an annual ritual were important, but could still be conveyed while looking beyond them at other participants.
In this shot of a Bulang woman, she’s been deliberately blurred in order to draw attention to the other participants in the ritual. You don’t always need the main element to be sharp!