May 19, 2020

Stay-at-Home Activities 2: Framing

        Today I have two projects for you to try, and both have to do with framing.  I don’t mean putting wood and glass frames around artwork; I mean the aspect of composition in which the artist determines how the elements of the picture fit into the whole, including the viewpoint, how the subject relates to the other objects, what is included, what is cropped out, distance, and so on.
        1.  Grab your digital camera and pick a subject.  You can step out your door or pick a subject inside.  You can gather an object or a collection of objects still-life style, or a person or pet, or a bed of flowers, or whatever.  Now, start snapping!  Try to come up with as wide a variety of framing options for that one subject as you can:
far distant, super close-up, or anywhere in between
with foreground objects creating a frame-within-a-frame around your subject
low point of view, medium, or high
centered, or closer to one of the four sides of the picture
        Once you have a whole bunch of pictures to work with, you can use the photo-editing program or app of your choice and experiment still further with cropping.
        Which pictures are the most interesting?  The most dramatic?  The best at enhancing the emotional impact of your subject?  Your favorite?
        Here are some I tried.  The first shows my subject: the lovely weeds where my poor lawn should be.  (The purple is ajuga.)  I think they’re pretty, but it’s not a very interesting picture.  There follow seven variations on the theme, with different angles, different distances, different placements of the dandelion in the picture, and so on.  They are generally more interesting than that first photo, although they also vary pretty widely in how much I like them.  Do you like any of them, and if so, what is it that makes it more interesting or appealing?

        2.  So you’re stuck at home.  Embrace it!  Windows are, of course, natural frames to your view of the world outside.  What’s the view out each of your windows?  Use your camera again, or better yet a pencil and paper, and sketch the view out each window in your room, or your apartment or house.  You can affect how the window frames the view depending on whether you are close or back from the window, whether you place yourself straight on or off to one side, and whether you sit on the floor, or a chair, or stand.
        What’s the view that is most iconic to you representing your sense of place?  What’s most unfamiliar to you?  Did you discover anything about your view that you never noticed before?
        Save your favorites as records of your life here in this time and place.  Share them with friends and family who aren’t able to be with you right now.
        I have room in this post to share only one little photo out my window, but here’s a prior post that features a number of sketches of views out windows that I’ve done in the past.

        I believe that this is what thinking like an artist is about: noticing what’s here around you, what beauty might be right here that you had taken for granted, what emotional impact you might find in ordinary things, how you can choose the way you depict things in order to tell a story, and how sharing those stories can connect people.

[Pictures: photos by AEGN, May 2020.]


Arti said...

Thank you for this beautiful post.
Like you, I've been making photos with things that grow in my garden and in these home-bound times, I have time enough to sit for long periods of time under our neem tree and watch all the visitors who visit us : bulbuls, sparrows, doves, beetles, butterflies and even the odd dragonfly.It is truly magical.
Your dandelions look smashing:)

Anne E.G. Nydam said...

Hello, Arti! I imagine your photographs are lovely. It sounds like you have a wonderful place to sit and appreciate so many beautiful things. Thanks for stopping by.