The soon-to-be-available Lytro camera allows picture taking without focusing. The photos can be focused later by simply clicking on any part of the image to bring that area into primary focus. It’s a pretty historic achievement in photography. I don’t think anyone has done it before.
The camera uses something called a light field sensor. It captures the color, intensity and vector direction of the rays of light. This directional information is completely lost with traditional camera sensors, which simply add up all the light rays and record them as a single amount of light. So you can snap a picture without focusing at all and then later focus the image the way you want to.
Try clicking around on these images:
Anders Weberg is an artist in Sweden who uses cell phone cameras to make his fluid, multi-layered works that are like quiet explosions of color.
He reminds me a little of Keith Richards. He’s made some of the most beautiful films you may ever see with director Wong Kar Wai in Hong Kong. He seems to like wandering the colorful streets. Always talking about the light and color. Last night I took my new camera out along Ventura Boulevard very late. I was making a film by moving very slowly from window to window, shooting in an odd off-kilter way with closeups through glass and lights moving in and out of focus. It took me several hours to move three blocks up the boulevard. I haven’t seen the footage yet but the night was loaded with possibilities. Do you have any idea how many things you can come up with when you look inside a store’s display window? You can break it down almost infinitely and create images that have very little to do with the store. I find it a natural and obvious way to make a film. The sets are all there waiting for me to show up with my camera. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know what the film will be. It exists already and will make itself apparent when I start staring at my footage.