About

My name is John Etheridge, and I am a Bahá’í, a poet and a photographer. The theme of my art is seeking the personal and the spiritual in all its aspects: yearning, trying, failing, and, sometimes—rarely—succeeding.

My poetry website is the Book Of Pain. Please drop by if you can.

The tag line of this site, the Book of Bokeh was going to be, “images for the soul” to match the Book of Pain’s, “poetry for the soul.” The issue with this is that few people know the word ‘bokeh’ and fewer yet understand its real meaning, so I went with a more explanatory description.

But let me, here, explain further…

‘Bokeh’ describes the character or feel of the out-of-focus areas in a photograph. It is not a measure of how much these areas are out of focus, but a measure of how much this area adds to the impact or the quality of the photograph, enhancing or emphasizing the photo’s aesthetic appeal.

Consider this photograph:

Lyn praying

Lyn praying

The in-focus portion of the photograph is the tree limb, but this sharp focus on admittedly dull  leaves (backed with out-of-focus leaves on the ground of the same color) only emphasizes more the out-of-focus image of the person in blue. Although that person (it is in fact, my wonderful and long suffering wife, Lyn, who is saying some prayers) is out of focus, the eye and the mind are inexorably drawn there. What is that person doing? Curiously, if the entire image was out of focus, the shot would be ruined; it needs that in-focus portion, as unimportant to the meaning of the photograph as it is, to be there. Bokeh.

As to what bokeh is in life, well, I’ll let you ponder that question.

I hope you enjoy your visit and thank you for coming to the Book of Bokeh.

– john

All photographs and comments ©2014 by John Etheridge with all rights reserved. Neither can be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.

56 thoughts on “About

    • You are very welcome. I got started and couldn’t stop… 🙂 It is an interesting site. Congratulations!

    • You are very welcome. I love your blog and consider Mr Bowie one of the more interesting Interent cats! 🙂

    • O_o <- That's me, mind boggled and my mouth laying on the floor as I lock up in shock at your question. Do I teach?! Honestly, this blog has never received a compliment as lovely or as kind as that before! Thank you so very much! No, in fact I still think of myself as a near beginner and am all too aware of the many things that I do not know. At best, and mostly, I love to share ideas and art with friends, which is why I find this post so rewarding.

      Plus, I stumbled on to your site yesterday…if there is anyone who should be a teacher, it is you! 🙂

    • Heidi, you have just become my absolute, for all time (well, until the next one anyway) favorite Internet critic! You are so insightful, so intelligent and have such incredible taste! Really, I cannot understand why you see so clearly when everyone else is nodding off!!!

      All joking aside (excepting the bit about you being insightful, intelligent and tasteful, which I am sure you are in all things but John) thank you very much! I was incredibly impressed by Wild Call of the Soul (not the least of which was the title) and the story of your going in the lake and locking your keys in the car afterwards was priceless…not just for the humor or it (well, humor now, anyway, not then of course, I would have been ready to chew nails and spit them out) but for the strength you had to see through to the reality of life underneath…that growth and wisdom can spring from the soil of turmoil, if you are humble enough to learn.

      I look forward to many returns! 🙂

      • Ha!! So glad you enjoy my blog as much as I do yours. I’m happy to accept the title of “favorite internet critic” and will humbly pass the torch when the time comes. I’m also looking forward to sharing more! I’m new to the blogging world and am quickly falling in love with so many little communities.

        • To be honest, I started my blog as a backup place to park photos, “just in case” my two other versions failed. When I started getting ‘likes’ I was rather surprised. I had no idea that the best thing that would happen is that I would develop a network of contacts who I would get to know, really respect and start to consider as friends. (Even though anyone of them could walk up to me in public, smack me on the side of the head and I would not know who to accuse! 🙂 ) I do not have the time to visit hundreds of other peoples sites and so my own ‘likes’ are modest in comparison to some…but I have a very high return rate of my network base…and frankly, that means more to me than a bazzilion likes.

    • Maryann, thank you so much for such a lovely and kind compliment! I hope you drop by often, as I hope to see your site often too! But I fear more learning will be coming my way more than going to yours! 🙂

    • That is wonderfully kind of you to take the time to leave such a lovely compliment! Thank you very much! I hope I can look forward to your dropping by more often, as I look forward to visiting Garfield Hug! 🙂 (I do hope your blog is named after Jim Davies’ wonderful creation and not the 20th president of the United States! 🙂 )

    • Steve, you’re very kind, as usual! Thank you. Hope you enjoyed the Sharpe Hill photos. It’s going to be a great night!

  1. Thank you for visiting my site, otherwise I might not have found yours. Your pictures are truly stunning! Such amazing colours and interesting subjects. I look forward to more uploads!

    • Laura, and thank you for taking the time to return and leave such a sweet compliment…I appreciate it very, very much! I can say that your site blew me away with your shots and I can also say how much I am looking forward to returning to your site. Frequently!

  2. Hi John, thank you for that lovely comment. I must say, it’s the best description of my photography thus far — and the one I like best. Also, your photography is quite breathtaking. I can’t stop looking at “Storm’s Coming” and “Storm’s coming, like soon.” I just left the page open, so I can quickly return.

    • You are very kind and I hope you can sense my blushing through the miracle of the ‘cloud.’ I was very lucky that evening, having a nice and wide open lens when a dramatic cloud pattern was coming in. But it is time, alas, that I confess to the reality of that night…it didn’t storm. As far as I can remember, it didn’t even rain! 🙂 Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.

  3. Thank you for visiting my blog, I really appreciate that. You have wonderful pictures over here. I also love the word Bokeh and the effect of it when you take photograph. Even a little dirty detail looks wonderful with a blurred background. I’m addicted 😉

    • Well, I confess that the respect is mutual! I love your travel photographs from all over the world. (OK, truth be out: I’m flat out jealous!) Your infectious backgrounds and super shots (the red in Hong Kong, I think it was, was incredible) are incredible. I look forward to seeing many more posts soon!

    • Candia, thank you! I hope you enjoy the site as much as I certainly enjoyed your eclectic site! Will you be commenting on the upcoming opening of Le Grand Boucle in Leeds on July5th? By the way, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is one of my favorite books from my university days. I keep meaning to re-read it…

        • I’m a nutcase cyclist so The Tour de France is my highlight of the year. It will (for me) eventually eclipse even the World Cup, unless the US makes an incredible (and unexpected) deep run.

  4. What does it mean to be a “Bahá’í “? You have a beautiful site and I would love to come back to it. May your wife be better soon.

    • Mariekie,

      that is wonderfully kind of you to say and I appreciate it very much. I look forward to your visiting often. I wish I could understand more of your poetry on your own site. There was one poem in English from December that was stunning! I also love your photographs…please do more. Photography transcends language!

      It would be very difficult in an email to give an overview of the Baha’i Faith. Let me just say this and suggest some web sites: that the central belief of my religion is that all mankind is one and should not be separated by any distinction of race, ethnicity, color or gender and, moreover, that there is only one God and that all the great religions of mankind (Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam…) all stem from this one God, and are only differentiated by the time and place of their origin.

      Here are a few sites to explore if you’d like to read more:

      From the Baha’is of South Africa: http://www.bahai.org.za/cm/
      The international web site: http://www.bahai.org/

      If, after reading you have an specific questions, please post them here. I will respond directly to you by email.

      Thank you for visiting and I look forward to hearing from you again!

      -john

      • Hi John, thank you for explaining your religion so well. Religion remains a difficult subject. I believe that love transcends all boundaries, although so difficult to practice. For me, there is only one God no matter what you call the Divinity which you acknowledge as such.
        Because of the language difficulty, I post to two different blogs, mariekiesinne, which is mostly in Afrikaans, and also on Wordexchange. Maybe you could offer some advice? Should I rather combine the blogs?
        Thank you for the positively comments. I do appreciate the encouragement.

        Mariekie

        • Mariekie, that was wonderfully, kindly and justly said.

          As to the twin blogs, I *sort of* have the same difficulty as I have two blogs also, one for poetry and one for photography. When setting the second up, I felt the need to split them so as to keep the ‘signal to noise’ ratio as high as I can in each. Having said that, however, there are lots of time when synergy is possible between the two, as I am sure you too have found in your blogs. In the end, frankly, I just very much admire your ability to switch so effortlessly (and I presume clearly—certainly your English blog is beautiful) between the two languages. I wish I could do that!

  5. I am so glad I dropped by this page of your blog as I was in fact wondering what “bokeh” was. You provide a lovely visual and written explanation. And I will now enjoy pondering what bokeh is in life.

    • It was so wonderfully kind of you to stop by and leave a message, thank you! When I got into photography, bokeh was a word I thought delicious: something new and odd sounding that summed up an artistic ideal…who wouldn’t love photography and not love that?

      I also enjoyed your site very much. I love the easy intimacy you build with a camera…something I have to learn to do better.

    • And greetings back to you from Connecticut, USA! I love your work, I look forward to seeing more of it in the future. – j

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