Today I want to share images of Dan Ginn, who contacted me because he wanted to share his Street View with me. While looking at his collection I noticed that he often likes to embrace the compositional technique of Framing. Whether consciously or instinctively used by him, this technique is a great way to create compelling Street Photographs. Therefore I decided to take his images and provide a short lesson how framing in photography can create the illusion of an image within an image.
Framing in Photography with Geometry
One great thing about Framing in Photography is that it often goes hand in hand with using geometrical figures. Naturally, you are placing a person inside a square or something circular. This is very pleasing to the eye and provides a great border for the image. Those geometrical figures create a contrast with the environment as you can see in the picture above. In Street Photography it is very difficult to create “clean” compositions so have to rely on a few tricks to get rid of distracting elements.
Leading the Eye
Without the framing in this picture, it would be very difficult to focus on the subject. As you can see there is a lot going on the picture and in the background. Combined with the mirror image the eye is led to the subject directly through the use of a noticeable frame. Nonetheless, there is still enough information left that you can see the surroundings.
Read more on how to lead Eyes with Leading Lines
Frames in the foreground also create additional depth. Imagine this picture just being the woman without any additional surroundings. Due to the frame and the leading lines from the building, the image gains a more stereoscopic view. When using such a frame in the foreground you can decide whether to focus on the frame or the subject behind it. In this case, the focus is on the art installation because it possesses greater interest than the regular person in the background. In case there is much more going on in the background you might put your focus there.
This time we have a view across underground platforms. Instead of a very narrow frame that is very present, we have a more conservative border that reflects classic frames of paintings. Also, you might embrace multiple frames like in this case. Not only do we have the columns in the mid-section of the track, but we also have the person standing between the walls in the background. Another example of why train stations are wonderful places for Street Photography.
Creating interesting Stories
Through framing, You are able to tell more interesting stories that intrigue the curiosity of the viewer. The viewer feels like viewing at an antique painting, or at least a TV.
Both, interesting objects, that the viewer gets closer and spends more time to investigate the content of the frame.
Depending on the frame, the story can also change.
You can have bright natural frames, that make the photograph more joyful, or in contrast, You could decide to frame the picture with the help of cold concrete walls, or other objects.
In photography, You don’t have to stop with one frame. Although the aforementioned examples have shown only a single frame with the subject in the middle, You can also create multiple frames in one photograph.
The more frames You decide to include in a picture, the more difficult it becomes to create a visually pleasing composition.
Ideally, every frame should be filled with subjects, otherwise, the frame doesn’t fulfill any role in the photograph and is more misleading than useful.
If You see an opportunity for more than one frame but don’t find the right subjects, it might be better, to get closer and only focus on one frame instead.
In Street Photography it can be very hard to lead the eye of the viewer when there is a lot going on in the picture. More often than not they appear very confusing instead of interesting. Framing in Photography can help you to lead the eye to points of interest. They emphasize the subject while keeping information about the environment alive.
Through different perspectives and angles, you can also create greater depth of field or other “illusions”. They also add value to otherwise more regular pictures. Another advantage is, that they are a great tool to train your eye in spotting geometrical figures.
The next time you find yourself on the street without much inspiration, try and find natural frames and make them come alive.
About Dan Ginn
His most recent project “Finding light and color in London” has the objective of removing the cliche “it is always grey and dull in the UK”, instead of finding powerful colors and strong contrast in light when creating his images.
You can see more of Dan’s work via the platforms below.