Framing in Photography

Using framing devices in image composition

Framing (usually the subject) is also used to compose an image. Examples of framing devices used in image composition can vary from an actual image frame (and a fun shoot) to trees, branches, buildings, and so on. And the frame doesn’t always have to be a full frame. Here are a few examples.

"Light My Darkness" - Sometimes, a rainbow appears after a scary storm. Here's a rainbow brightening the scary, stormy sky over the Midtown Manhattan skyline. ©Alina Oswald.
Light My Darkness” – Sometimes, a rainbow appears after a scary storm. Here’s a rainbow brightening the scary, stormy sky over the Midtown Manhattan skyline. ©Alina Oswald.

Sometimes the image title can point to how we use compositional elements in a photograph. For example, in the rainbow image below, if the image is called, say, “Manhattan Skyline Framed by a Rainbow” then the Manhattan skyline (or Empire State Building) is the subject and the rainbow is the frame or framing device. But, if the image title is “Rainbow over Manhattan” then the rainbow itself is the subject, and not the framing device.

Panoramic view of a rainbow over the NYC skyline. ©Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Full rainbow over the NYC skyline. ©Alina Oswald.

The image posted below was shot in Liberty State Park and captures a silhouette of Jersey City and New York City skylines.

And here’s the reflection of the Tear Tower 9/11 monument on the surface of the tear, itself.

Tear Tower, Bayonne, NJ, 2010: 9/11 monument dedicated by Russian artists to Jersey City; Jersey City rejected it, saying that it was too big…. Bayonne accepted it; it is simply beautiful. It can be seen from Liberty State Park (if you know where to look); from the Tear side, you can see the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan (also reflected in the tear)

And a zoomed-out shot of the Tear Tower, a frame-in-frame kind of example, if you want to look at it that way.

“The Price of Love” captured in Sylt, Germany, a #tbt.

The Price of Love. Garden ornament, Sylt, Germany. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Brocken Spectre observed from the top of Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

And the Brocken spectre or Brockengespenst. I mentioned earlier using the rainbow as a framing device. Here’s again the rainbow framing our silhouettes, creating this beautiful optical illusion, first noticed on Brocken Mountain in Germany. Famous Brocken Mountain visitors include Goethe, who mentioned the Spectre in Faust, and poet Heinrich Heine, who mentioned it in Harzreise (1826). “Viele Steine, müde Beine, Aussicht keine, Heinrich Heine” describes the difficult mountain climb in foggy conditions.

Until later and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

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