University of Louisville Photographic Archives presents “Ghosts of Motion,” an exhibition that demonstrates how blur in photos — often regarded as a mistake — can actually deepen aesthetic quality or meaning.
The 39 photos explore different types of blur: intentional and unintentional, blur from motion, darkroom processing or manipulating shutter speeds and exposure times.
The exhibition shows that, over time, blur has helped raise photography to an art form by expanding its visual language. It’s served as a valuable storytelling tool, resulting in images that can be disconcerting, haunting, mysterious and provocative.
Marcy Werner, assistant curator and imaging manager for Photographic Archives and curator for the exhibition, said she often comes across blurry images in her work and finds herself asking so many questions about them.
“Why didn’t the photographer tell everyone to be still? Why didn’t they wait a second until that car was out of frame to take the photo? How could the blur have been avoided? Beyond trying to figure out the reason for the ‘mistake,’ to me, it could make a photo more interesting. And I didn’t like to look at the blur as a mistake, but as an element that provided more of a story or feeling and provided a different reason to examine an image,” she said.
“Ghosts of Motion” continues through Sept. 30 at the Photographic Archives Gallery in the lower level of UofL’s Ekstrom Library.