Boh-keh? Boo-kay? Boh-kuh? Bok-uh?
What do you call the blurry part of an image that is out of focus? Silly question, right? It’s bokeh. But—how do you pronounce it? If you’re like me and countless other filmmakers and photographers, you hesitated to answer and then started questioning everything you thought you knew about saying the Japanese word.
There is a right way to pronounce bokeh and in this video from Photo Gear News we get to learn what it is once and for all.
First of all, I just want to take a second to say—you’re welcome. When I grew weary writing all of those term papers on film movements no one has ever heard about, I knew that it all was somehow worth it, that my career and my daily internet scouring would one day lead up to this moment—the moment when I would find a video like this that put an end to the utter confusion surrounding this one filmmaking term in particular.
For a long time I pronounced bokeh as “boh-kay,” like a “bouquet of beautiful flowers.” Then I heard someone much more experienced than me pronounce it “boh-kuh,” so I started pronouncing it the same way. Then I heard someone else much more experienced than me pronounce it as “bok-uh,” so, of course, I started to believe that that individual was not as experienced as I thought they were.
The true answer: “boh-keh.”
I’ve been wrong for decades, as were all of my heroes.