Quote Originally Posted by wiltw View Post
The English spelling 'bokeh' was popularized in 1997 in Photo Techniques magazine, when the editor Mike Johnston commissioned three papers (Grad, Merklinger, Kennerdell) on the topic for the March/April 1997 issue.

Unfortunately now, so many very wrongly use the word (which actually is the QUALITY of the out-of-focus blur) to mean the out-of-focus area itself (vis a vis the in-focus area within the DOF zone). Ironically many dispute their wrong use, when the correct definition of 'bokeh' (the QUALITY) is supported by famous optics companies like Zeiss' paper on the subject of DOF in-focus areas and Out-of-focus blur and bokeh quality characteristics of the blur.

Photos seeking to use razor thin DOF, particularly so-called 'portraits' in which one eye is in focus and the tip of the nose and the ears are out of focus, fail to appeal to me. There is an inordinate amount of attention on this use, when large apertures original were intended to get photos when there simply was not enough light for the limited ISO (ASA) film speeds.
I'm not an expert in Japanese language but, at the university where I work, I know the woman who teaches Japanese language and culture. I often ask her about things like this.

According to the way I understand, the word "boke" or "ボケ" (pronnounced "bokeh" in English) actually means "blurriness" or "having the quality of blur."

Therefore, what you say is right in line with the real meaning of the word.

When I was first getting serious about photography, learning how to develop my own film and make my own prints, short depth of field where the subject's nose was soft was simply called "out of focus." (Usually followed by, "Dammit!") Now they call it "art."