Photographers, Be Aware of Your Background
The figure at the door is actually a movie poster advertising 'The Incredibles'.
The woman with walker is exiting McDonald's restaurant, Yreka, California in early morning gloom.
The caption: 'and STAY OUT 'is an illustration of 'dark humor' sometimes found in my photographs.
This is a juxtaposition photograph, in which foreground relates to an otherwise unrelated background; neither subject nor background would stand separately as a good photograph and this photo only takes significance as a juxtaposition. Here, they form a 'joke'.
Patience was required as the geyser, lower center, subsided and emitted mostly swirling steam, so that I could capture the circular pattern of the geyser's steam and connect it with the swirling clouds, background and overhead, thus relating foreground and background in this landscape.
Photo: Yellowstone National Park near the Firehole River.
This aggressive man, with stumps instead of feet, has commandeered a street corner in Odessa, Ukraine and demands tribute from passing motorists stopped in traffic at a busy intersection.
When traffic is not stopped, he stays in the stream of traffic, pictured.
The caption: 'When Social Security is Privatized . . . And the Market Crashes', a topical reference to a subject of current political debate.
Note the use of 'threes' -- the three automobiles which frame the man, and his centering within the moving vehicles which form the 'frame' for him and also place his daring and aggressive panhandling in context.
European countries with older buildings, and former Communist countries in particular present overwhelming challenges for physically handicapped persons such as this man; and he also has had inadequate medical--prosthetic care.
Sometimes the middle ground is essential to the success of a photo if it contains important information, and it is essential where script appears not to cut it off if the reader is to understand it.
This photo is captioned: 'I Love Work; I Can Watch It All Day, II' -- one of two in a series.
The viewer's unimpeded view of the open hood of the taxi and the taxi-meter sign atop the vehicle are essential to the meaning of this photograph.
After Sunday morning Catholic church services, this impeccably-groomed, eighty-something grandmother with unusual sunglasses, walked along the esplanade at Capitola, California and decried the casual dress of today's youth and their play outdoors while she had attended church.
Surfers ride the waves behind her, giving context to her comments.
A long telephoto lens was used to collapse, merge or 'flatten' the subject, foreground, and the background surfers which were very distant from each other. As such, this is an example of a photographer 'creating' a juxtaposition through choice of lens and focal length.
This down and out man commandeered a corner of Zim's restaurant, now defunct, on San Francisco's Van Ness Ave in the wee morning hours.
The mirror, left, allows a 'background' and 'side' view by reflection and adds an interesting look at other restaurant patrons.
As a result of framing, the mirror has become an irregular pentagon, a shape seldom seen in photographs.
One member commented that the unusual lines in this photograph, which seem ready to 'spill' the man out of the scene, reflected the actuality of his life.
Mirrors often can be used successfully in photography to add 'depth' and interest to an otherwise ordinary scene. Mirrors don't have to be denominated 'mirrors' -- as shiny autos, store windows and other bright surfaces also can create 'mirror' images. (and watch for your reflection as you take the photograph -- others will see it, even if you don't!)
This diner and imbiber at the 1232 Club, North Beach, San Francisco, California is an interesting subject dressed in his 'Sunday best' (This was NOT Sunday.)
He appears even more interesting when framed against the restaurant and bar where he was socializing and having an afternoon drink. This photo almost appears 'historical' or similar to a 'snapshot' from long ago, and was framed that way intentionally.
As of 2006, this bar/restaurant still exists, essentially unchanged and still very busy, but decidedly more 'hip.' (April, 2006, 30+ years later)
Choices, choices, choices. . . .
The hairdresser demonstrates a haircut to my stepdaughter, right. The price list is on a very interesting mural, overhead and background, which also illustrates 'nuclear' scissors held in the science fiction hands of the 'mad hairdresser', left center.
Incorporating murals, posters, and other interesting backgrounds in photos can make simple photos much richer, and every photographer should be aware of advertising, murals and photographs in the background and ways to incorporate them into the photographer's work.
A priest kneels in front of an erect mother and her small child, an interesting subject often compared to adoration of the Christ child and Mary, and more interesting because this photo was taken during Lent.
See the out-of-focus cross, shrouded, in the background. Catholics often have great interest in this photograph although this is an Episcopal church (no Christ on cross).
The dock planks, foreground; the male subject, center middle; and the schooner and lines, background; all merge or 'flatten' into one effective, very geometric and pleasing compositon.
Place: New York City Pier for historical vessels, lower Manhattan, a very long time ago.
This character walking by became even more interesting as my lens caught him in the 'crosshairs' of the Woolworth building's marble panel stones and joints, for a most geometric composition.
Framing and shooting was done instaneously.
Sometimes 'backgrounds' such as this can be merged with subjects to complete a geometric composition -- and that can be very appealing if done well.
Three windows, background, illuminate the subject, a male museum worker called a 'work study monitor' at the University of Oregon's Asian Arts Museum.
Light from the windows' three panes reflected off the floor connects the background to the foregrouund door, all for a pleasing and somewhat geometric composition with the added element of repetition (three windows, three window reflections).
Threes predominate again in this nighttime flash photograph of a train wreck in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.
Three overturned locomotives, background, are reiterated in the three workers, interspersed foreground to background, along with torn up track which connects foreground to background.
Photo taken in the remote and desolate 'Black Rock Desert' in Northern Nevada. Superfine desert dust that entered my car caused it eventually to be discarded, as it could not be cleaned effectively.
A young girl rolling a Sisyphean tire uphill in what looks like a garbage dump is actually turning the banks of the mostly-dry Tijuana River into a playground, all just a short walk from the affluence of the U.S. border, some time ago.
The Tijuana River, background, later flooded, killing hundreds who lived in makeshift slums just beside it, and leaving thousands who lived in its bed and banks, homeless.
I was threatened with arrest by Mexican Federales for taking this photo, and talked my way out of it by threatening a diplomatic incident and showing my press credentials (although I was not then 'on the job').
An art gallery owner smoking a pipe is interesting enough; showing his wares in the background, presents him in context making a much better image.
This young boy's outflung arms are at near right angles to the canted angle of the unusual, modern building, and gymnasium behind him.
The whole subject of this photo is a study in geometry, with the boy's arms and body position tying together the playground, foreground, and building, background.
This photo, from my first roll of film, shows three men, interspersed, on three benches on the Staten Island Ferry bound for Staten Island. There also are three supporting poles atop the benches.
The use of threes (benches, riders, and poles, interspersed front to back) draws the viewer's eyes from the foreground to the background.
Double murder convict Leonard Fristoe, a train robber from the '20s, was 'on the lam' for 47 years after slipping out of the Nevada State Penitentiary shortly after his conviction, until a disgruntled relative gave him up to authorities out of spite when he was 77 years old.
This photo shows him as he was lead off by a guard, cane in hand, to his 'new' living quarters in a low security portion of the Nevada State penitentiary, Carson City, Nevada, minutes after his return to prison
A prison watchtower looks down over him, adding interesting context.
President Nixon had his arms literally wrapped around this me, a young photographer, and I had my wide angle lens on my camera held high over my head, my head ducked left, to keep from blocking this interesting capture.
The various interesting expressions, postures and dress of this impromptu entourage and spectators, plus First Wife Pat's touching grip around the President's waist, tell a rich story -- a moment frozen in time forever.
My photography -- especially my earlier works -- often has shown a strong 'geometric' bent.
This 'background' is actually the staircase of the old San Francisco Public Library, and the dark figure is a man walking down those steps.
The 'background' and its black outlines (steps and bannister) are essential to this photograph, which is a study in compostion. Camera: 35 mm with 35 mm lens.
The compositional essence of this photograph is bifold:
1. The contrasting textures of the tree bark, foreground and unpainted shack/house, background help isolate and emphasize each subject, and
2. The lines of this photo serve to lead the eye to the background by directing the viewer to the distant 'vanishing point.'
This building officially now is known as the 'House at Whaler's Cove', Point Lobos, California State Preserve, but at the time of this photo was abandoned.
It now is a museum housing a rich collection of maritime treasures.
This escalator draws the viewers' eyes from the devil, foreground, up toward the baker; the French Foreign Legionnaire; the Viking; and ultimately (the supposedly well-cooled aviator, top, next to the lights and production assistant for this 'air conditioner television commercial (reclamen)
Here the escalator's diagonal is used to draw the viewers' eyes from bottom to top, foreground to background and introduces a dynamic line into the photograph.
Surreality merges into reality when one views this photograph and realizes that the woman, top, is standing next to a 'photo' or 'cinema' spotlight as one dissects this unusual view.
Bill Lear, foregound, 'invented' the private jet -- the Lear jet.
Here he is at Stead, Nevada, a converted former Air Base near Reno, Nevada, at his Lear, Corp., where he was trying unsuccessfully to develop a steam engine for auto power.
Note the framing of Lear; the overhead captioning by his building's sign, background; and the framing of his head by the large building door, also background, as well as the use of the small building door by his shoulder for an accent and for 'balance' of mass (darkness) in this photograph.
This fancy building atop San Francisco's Nob Hill with a Rolls Royce or Bentley in front overlooks San Francisco Bay.
Parallel lines from paving stones, foreground, merge toward a vanishing point as they lead the eye to the middle background with the luxury car, elegant front door and portico, then through the lobby to the bright light from the sky over the Bay, seen through the front door.
A white backdrop is used effectively to frame and silhouette these photographers, their lights, and also the subject of their photography, an amply-endowed nude model.
Sometimes photographing the photographers (or other artists) as they 'capture' a scene or a subject can make an interesting capture all its own.
Famous photographers have used museum exhibitions of 'art', 'exhibited photographs' and other displays to create interesting juxtapositions. All are good fodder for the aware photographer.
The background here is essential to this photograph and is merged and becomes part of the 'story' of the image (or flattened, to use a Photoshop term).
This down and out man in a dilapidated part of San Francisco, (now vibrant) with a can of Rainier beer at his side, sits underneath a sign that says 'Jesus Cares'.
The building walls are shown large, empty, and desolate, emphasizing the man's plight and his small scale in the greater scheme of things.
Care was used to include as much light, bare wall as possible (and an accenting window, top right, to counterbalance the man's figure) in this capture, and also to show the reverse 'L' shape from the different shaded walls for a geometric composition.
This is Maria, whose main goal in life is to raise beautiful flowers.
It seemed only proper to photograph her among her prize flowers -- iceplant that blooms mainly in May in Coastal California -- so she was framed in one corner of a field of her trademark iceplant as it bloomed bright red.
This unsual photograph shows trunks and appendages (legs, arms and hands) outlined by the work, the building and the sloping sidewalk from a steeply sloping hillside work site on a San Francisco sidewalk.
This is also an example of 'parts suggesting the whole', as well as a photo illustrating in general 'men at work'.
Croatian Mafia members threatened, bumped and taunted me menacingly as I composed this photo in Frankfurt Germany's sex district, and ultimately it almost came to blows with ultimate police intervention.
But the result was this photograph showing a passerby with cigarette going by a photo of huge red lips (with a traffic light shadow), emblematic of the Frankfurt area's 'sex trade' district.
Wrinkles are the interesting subject of this unusual portrait, as well as unusual facial coloring.
The source of the facial color is reflections from a surrounding field of eight to eleven-foot tall gladiolas in my homestead's front yard.
The wrinkles of the forehead are repeated in the wrinkles beneath the eye, as the subject removes a mote from his left eye.
This interesting subject is highlighted by the out-of-focus background of very tall gladiolas. This is a case where an out-of-focus background was shown to emphasize the subject; in-focus individual gladiolas would have detracted from the subject and the gladiolas were not properly spaced (or compressed) to present a cohesive background if presented in sharp focus.
This wharfside warehouse has a somewhat interesting look with overlapping, weathered, metallic side panels of different reddish hues.
Framed with distant power plant smokestacks, this scene is transformed into a composition.
This statue, foreground is a new addition to downtown Santa Cruz, CA, and apparently depicts a human torso and stumps for 'arms'.
The smaller, background figure, against the wall and planter, also has protruberances (bent arms) that mirror those of the statue.
'Mirroring' is a theme in my photography, and often is shown where the foreground figure is 'repeated' in a background figure.
These young men are 'goofing' with a wall poster of a jaguar/leopard in a Waikiki shopping center, Honolulu, Hawaii for a friend with a camera, not knowing this photographer also was capturing their fun.
This photograph incorporates the background photograph into a new one for a humorous take on life. (Note the leftward man's open mouth expession!)
You can click to the original on this or any photo in this presentation to view this 'larger'.)
This boat brace seems insignificant compared to the scale of the huge, reproduction schooner that it supports -- all resurrected from a South Sea island wreck, and being restored in Moss Landing, CA.
This photo is filled or 'painted' with color and the supporting screw and platform 'merge' into the mottled colors of the boat's freshly sanded hull. The totality is a near abstract rendition of this boat's multi-hued hull.
This boat brace, also spindly, is shown with gas bottles, in hues of blue and green.
The similarity in colors ties together the foreground with the near background -- the blue hull.
The photographic theme here is repetition with two subjects being repeated in two different directions.
The train, foreground to background is composed of repeating, identical grain cars.
Contrasting are vertical grain silos.
Contrasting vertical and horizontal (and foreground to background) repetition, is the essence of this interesting photograph.
This also promises to work well as a black and white photo.
The in-focus subject here is a cigarette tip; all the rest in this 'street' portrait of a convicted wife killer, is out of focus and essentially 'background'.
The man was imprisoned 15 years for second degree murder, and was writing about his life.
This photo was taken during a break from his Greyhound bus ride; see bus, background with wheels and running lights, in circles of confusion. They suggest the 'blurriness' and 'confusion' that this man's life represents emphasized by his stressed and 'sunken' features as he drags on a cigarette.
The foregound, sharp, continues to the background, increasingly out of focus, mirroring this man's life as I sought to present it.
This surprisingly popular photo uses the device of 'repetition' -- this time repeating booths in a pizza restaurant in Santa Cruz, California.
The repetition is broken from foreground to background by a pair of eyes and a top of a young woman's head, for a humourous aspect that seems to draw viewers in. The compitional devices is repetition, broken by an 'accent' figure.
This is photo about scale.
The smallness of human forms emphasize the vastnesss of this huge hot pool at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, on the Firehole River, near Yellowstone Village.
The background steam is essential to outline and silhouette the foreground figures.
A telephoto lens was used for compression of human subjects with the steam/pool background.
This my first photo from a moving vehicle I was driving, taken through my vehicle's windshield at 70 mph.
Capturing the exact moment without a motor drive, I combined the subject truck, with the overarching latticework of the surrounding bridge steelwork, and thereby integrated all into one image.
One frame taken.
This liquor store owner appears plenty 'tough', although many viewers can see humour in his face.
The prices on these rows and rows of bottles really date this vintage photo, as do the various other features of his dress, the shop signs, the bottle labels and especially the ancient prices on the shelves.
The repeated figures of lines and shelves of bottles are broken by the figure of the man, his counter and his fist, and serve as an interesting, contextual background.
This unusual photo portrays the fatigue felt by the man, hands to eyes, as he sits with his family at a fast food restaurant, Watsonville, California.
Note vanishing point and strong diagonal leading from left foreground to right background and lack of level horizon -- emphasizing the man's 'unbalanced' or 'unfocused' state.
Lack of level horizon is rare in my photography, and the out of kilter horizon suggests the 'disassociation' I attributed to this subject and his fatigue.
This is a classic example of a 'soft' subject with a 'hard' background. The subject is my stepdaughter, then a preteen, and a garage door at Moss Landing, CA.
She once was Photo.net youngest member and her work was well-received (she is inactive now).
This beautiful young mother (my former wife) suffered from a debilitating brain cancer, and although she led an ordinary life, struggled with life because of personality defects that arose from her cancer.
Here she is seen with her daughter (then my stepdaughgter) on a sponsored trip to Hawaii.
The background is an out of focus hotel lobby (there are no hotel front doors in Honolulu).
The orange spots right background, are koi fish from a lobby fish pond. Selective depth of field makes the subjects of this impromptu portrait as isolated as though they were photographed in a studio.
This 'most commented on' photo depicts a dead cat (with bulging eyeball), and incorporates a classic 'S' curve to draw the viewers' eyes from the foreground to the background, where a school bus approaches, lights on and horn tooting to warn the photographer of danger).
One viewer likened the bus to 'Mad Max', coming around for a second shot.
To effectively make a portrait of this ruddy fisherman, he was photographed in a nautical setting -- here with his drydocked boat in the background as he stepped on a platform leading to his elevated boat deck.
Conversation with a boatyard worker after a photographic session became a unique photo opportunity as the worker stood on his back 'camper' steps, and I moved to place him in juxtaposition with a large drydocked sailboat's stern, emblazoned "Fourth of July, San Francisco."
This is Sally, entrepreneur and boat owner, inspecting the repaired hole in the hull of a boat she was rehabilitating with her partner.
This portrait captures her at the moment she turned from her inspection of her work on the hole in the steel hull from the formerly wrecked vessel.
Many viewers clicked on this photo, apparently to view the inside of this 'sweat shop' in old San Francisco's downtown under the shadow of the financial district, a long while ago, and just a few blocks from San Francisco's famed Chinatown.
Sweat shop wages were paid next door to where stock brokers earned millions.
These immigrants (background, working hard) turned their frugality into an asset, and many since have purchased homes in large, wealthy portions of San Francisco, in a 'rags to riches' story.
Photography of this man and his hat in West Yellowstone, Wyoming became more interesting, when I moved around him with my camera, and discovered a U.S. flag in front of a bookstore behind him and incorporated it into the photograph, transforming a simple portrait into a patriotic emblem.
This warehouse and workshop, Moss Landing, California, seen above in sunlight, has a different aspect because of (1) the fog, middle background, (2) the barely visible smokestacks from a power plant, distant background, and (3) the juxtaposition with the smokestacks.
This would have just been a photo of a dining table in a luxurious ICE (Inter City Express) train in Germany passing through a train station in Germany until it passed a poster advertising a Catholic Conference to be held in Ulm, Germany
These three girls are doing their studies in Paris's Gare du Nord (Train Station of the North), a popular commuting spot, underneath a poster of three characters from a "Harry Potter" movie.
'Threes' as a compositional device, occurs frequently in my work, and here there is compositional richness with two groups of 'threes' (two sets of groups, each with three figures.)
Such repetition (here -- 'threes') is something I call 'mirroring'.
The bridge, middle ground is the central subject, mirrored background by a second bridge with a sole semi-tractor truck on it -- a view that required patience to capture as many other types of passing vehicles detracted from this scene.
In the bottom are two boats of fishermen, one near foreground and one in the distance, all 'accents' creating richness in detail. It is difficult to portray 'detail' such as this in the Internet format provided here, especially in 'thumbnail' photos. This photo should be viewed 'very large' for best appreciation. (Click on this or any photo in this Presentation for a 'larger' view.)
This woman bus rider exited a rest stop rest room in Yreka, CA, and on request paused a moment in the early morning hours for a brief portrait. (Film image with a prime lens - 85 mm f 1.8)
Red color, right, is a background out- of-focus phone card vending machine.
This portrait uses shallow depth of field to create an out-of-focus background and contrasting colors to make the subject 'pop' from the background.
The subjects here are dual:
The eye first sees the smokestacks of the power plant in the sky, then moves to the boatyard, bottom, on nearby Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, California for an unusual, twin subject, photo juxtaposition.
Elkhorn Slough, one of California's most prolific marine breeding areas, is ecologically very fragile, yet co-exists well with this now-gas-fired power plant.
A talkative but pretty woman and a slow shutter speed serve to distort her features as she and her date have a meal at a swank restaurant in Carmel, California, a rich village where it seems almost everybody knows everybody, and there are many rich and famous people.
The slow shutter speed distorts her features to create a most unusual expression.
The wine bottles and background decor emphasize the 'swankness' of the restaurant.
This beggar, foreground, looks almost the spitting image of the bicyclist, background as they appear in juxtaposition for the contrast of 'rich' vs. 'poor' made all the more rich by the subjects' nearly identical faces.
(The bicyclist is an advertsiment featuring cycling legend Lance Armstrong).
This strong diagonal line with 'pegs' for skateboard slalom, draws the viewer's eye from the foreground to the background.
The strong diagonal line adds to the photo's dynamic elements, effectively bisecting the frame diagonally into two triangles, both 'dynamic' compositional elements.
This merchant, foreground, contrasts with the mannequin, background, in several ways.
The merchant's head (foreground) appears oversize, and the mannequin's head, background, appears undersize as each relates to the subjects' torsos.
Both figures have white or offwhite hair. Both figures have a strong hair part and a full head of hair.
Both figures have contrasting positions -- one facing the camera; one in full profile.
This a study in contrast and comparison through juxtaposition.
The fishing industry is vanishing fast in the U.S. and California in particular, with new regulations.
This is a portrait of a fisherman: He is red faced from the summer sun, reflections off the ocean surface, and the bracing wind, which gives him a ruddy look, and his 'look back' suggests a 'last look back' from a declining breed to a work life disappearing fast.
The drydocked (and therefore incapacitated) boat, background, places this environmental or 'street' portrait in context.
The subjects are far away, enjoying one possible last embrace before this train departs Budapest's 'international' Keleti train station.
The train coach vestibule, foreground, is used to frame the embracing couple, and effectively directs the viewer's eyes through the photo.
Here the subjects are in the background but framed by the 'foreground', all kept in acceptable sharpness by a relatively small aperture.
Out of focus foreground male and female secondary school military marchers frame this male marcher, second rank, who stares directly at the camera.
This is a good illustration of the effective use of an out of focus foreground and the foreground as a framing device.
This airport tarmac worker at Paris's Charles De Gaulle Airport in suburban Roissy, fights fatigue.
He's framed by the graphic and stylized 'M' on the wall behind him, and his bright yellow vest contrasts well with the bright red background.
A confusing background was presented by numerous buildings that framed this young woman street entertainer on her perch above a street crowd.
Great contrast between the building detail in the background which would have competed with her, disappeared into blackness as the difference in brightness (Exposure Values - EVs) between the subject and the background exceeded our or more stops.
This is an unmanipulated photo which isolates the performer as though she were were shot in a studio with a plain paper background.
This young, beautiful, Hungarian woman attorney spent a weekend dressed up as a Dutch woman for a Budapest shopping mall promotion.
The cardboard cutout of a man, background, turns what is an ordinary photo of a pretty girl, into something more joyous as he seems to 'react' to her beauty and 'exclaim'.
German students spend little time in school compared to students in most nations, and it is a joyous and liberting time for German mothers when their children go off to school.
Here, mom and her children cycle off to kindergarten. This sideways view created a diagonal of cyclists (dog on a leash), drawing the viewer from the blurred and moving child, foreground, to the mother, child and dog, middle background to the street and buildings, background.
This unusual photo of a passserby in Lvov, [Lbib] Ukraine is full of color from his umbrella foreground to the tanker truck full of brew-like 'Kwas' for sale to passersby, background.
Water from rain and other sources changes the chemical composition of many substances, adding the 'hydroxide radical' to them, often greatly increasing their 'saturation' (hence the term 'saturation' is used in relation to brightened colors.)
Color ties this image foreground to the background. The color of the bread is repeated in the sacks on the wall, the bread loaf, and the color of the wall.
The device of repetition is used in the twin lines of sacks, rear, and their interspersal on the shelves, also background.
Wall graphics are an important part of this photo -- here restaurant logo advertising in large type in this photo at France's Charles De Gaulle airport.
This photo with its view of a one hurried man smoking at a small table, perched high, and another hurried man, background, gobbling a hamburger, effectively counters the traditional French image of lounging smokers and diners, and is emblematic of a new French cultural trend.
This trecker pauses for a look at an advertising figure in Hamburg, Germany that bears a striking resemblance to Arnold Schwarzeneggar (possibly a licensed image.)
The subject man and the subject of the lighted advertisement merge to become one image with the foreground figure presented in silhouette.
A 'long' telephoto lens brought this old truck and this tractor on an Oregon farm into juxtaposition amid lush emerald grass.
A viewer suggested these two vehicles appeared involved in a 'drag race'.
The use of a telephoto len's ability to 'compress' a scene to bring foreground to background together helped make this scene possible, as there was great physical distance between these two vehicles.
'Where you want, when you want' exclaims the wall graphics in French in this section of Paris called St. Germain.
This is an unusual street scene embracing these unusual wall graphics, all taken from a passing taxi.
The subject, a nude woman wrapped in Saran Wrap bearing antennae on her head, is enigmatic enough and presents a sort of humor missed by most viewers.
Her appearance before two bemused men in a deliery truck, near background, is even more enigmatic.
Here Crosley uses his familiar theme of 'threes', this time present in the number of subjects.
Crosley's most viewed photographic and one of his highest-rated (although far from his best) shows a National Guardsman taken through a very wide angle lens from so close that demonstrators can be seen through the mask's lenses, and demonstrators, background, appear almost to be skewered on his fixed bayonet. Very wide angle photograph from very close proximity to the Guardsman.
Bicycling is the theme here, and the near bicyclist is a downtown San Francisco bike messenger.
Framing the messenger with an advertisement featuring another bicyclist (Lance Armstrong) ties the two together for this 'steet' photo, taken from a car window.
This is one of a series of beach portraits to illustrate how to make a 'static' subject -- here a man being photographed, enlivened by incorporating an active background.
The theme in this photo is 'contrasts':
The white dressed woman, foreground, contrasts with the dark dressed woman, near background, all framed by a geometric background.
Other contrasts: Race -- white vs. black.
Apparent wealth: rich vs. poor
Vitality: Active vs. passive and standing vs. resting or reclining.
This sunken boat may be emblematic of the fishing industry at Moss Landing, California as the state of California clamps down new regulations on fishing.
It is important in such a photo, to place the sunken boat in the context of the harbor in which it is 'berthed', and hence to show the rest of the small harbor as background and to 'isolate' this sunken vessel.
The sign above reads 'Coiffure d'Alberto' or Albert's Hair Salon, but in reality it is a 'beauty parlor'.
This woman, bent in the neck from apparent osteoporosis, a disease of aging in women, is apparently searching for her lost beauty and given weight in the context of being taken in front of a 'beauty parlor.
Shadow and darkness, foreground, frame lightness from this departing ferry boat going to a neaby island in Manhattan's lower harbor, an illustration of the use of light as a device to focus the viewer's attention on a distant subject (subject in background). See also the museum monitor, Asian Arts Museum, Universithy of Oregon, above for similar use of light highlights as an element connecting foreground to background.
This wall illustration advertises beauty products using a very stylized image of a pretty woman, and women of the former U.S.S.R., such as this girl passserby in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, are the targets of such advertising.
Women of the former U.S.S.R. not only possess unusual beauty, but they also spend an unsual portion of their income on beauty products, possibly persuaded by western-inspired 'marketing' such as this, to which they have few 'learned' defenses.
The plane of this girls' face coincides directly with the plane of the stylized chin underside of the illusrated woman's face, all planned in a split second before the capture.
This street scene, contrasts the rehabilitation of the building, top, with new, modern windows, versus its cellar dwellars -- squatters, below, and compares them with a passerby, all an illustration of the effective use of juxtaposition.
The worldwise Parisian matron, foreground, has her handbag around her neck, her shopping bag jammed between her knees, but she looks curiously on as these two black Parisians from Africa give a friendly hand and armshake.
Here, her gaze ties foreground to background, effectively completing the photo.
This child saw this photograph of a jaguar/leopard pasted on a building wall and said 'nice kitty' as children will do.
This child literally is doing what the French call a trompe l'oeil, mistake of the eye, more commonly referring to an optical illustion. Children are less discriminating between reality and fiction, as this photo illustrates. This is a color photo throughout -- no selective saturation; the mural photo of the jaguar/leopard was B & W as displayed.
Children sometimes don't understand bariers as adults do, such as the 'barrier' between foreground and background and between reality and fiction.
A camera and a variety of lenses allows a photographer using the two-dimensional medium of a photograph to convey mesages and images that effectively break down such barriers for the viewer to add meaning and/or interest to captures.
A man running down a rainy street is interesting, especially in front of an interesting window.
Upon closer look, there is an image of a woman in the window for a far more interesting, enigmatic, and surreal photo.
This grandmother had a bucket full of chalk 6:00 a.m. and proceeded to chalk up these walls, effectively becoming a street muralist/graffiti artist.
Note her printed socks, her print skirt and her printed scarf -- all artist's clothes.
Photo from a stopped car passing betwen cities, as it entered Odesssa, Ukraine.
The setting sun, background, helps frame this youthful and gorgeous model, foreground, and explains the use of 'flash' for this image.
Artist 'Jean' had just finished this door at Rue St. Quentin, Paris, and he wanted to show it off. Here the background is essential to portray subject artist in context.
A street photographer could hardly ask for a better background than this group of murals along Seattle's 'downtown' transit corridor.
Here a young man walks along a traffic barrier, as children will do, before hopping off and hopping on a bus.
This subject, Shirley -- daughter of Holocaust survivors -- is posed straightforwardly in Black and White in front of a background stark for its spareness and grittiness, which contrasts with her beauty.
This is an example not only of 'balance' between the subject and the background, but also use of a 'soft' subject and a 'harder' background.
This mural of Marlon Brando is on the rear wall of a theater in Roslyn, Washington, where the quirky television series 'Northern Exposure' was filmed. This is an example of incorporation of a mural figure as the subject of a photograph.
This 'busker' did interesting things with his glass balls, but when he held them up to a lighted and colored movie marquee, they truly shone, acting as lenses for the colors of the marquee lights.
This grandmother, who asked the photographer (assuming he was from a newspaper 'Do you want my name and address?') was at an air show featuring the Blue Angels. Her hairdo and face are interesting, but the photo is somewhat more interesting by placing her in perspective with the 'expensive' box seats. Does she look like she sits in those?
This Columbia River tugboat, pulling a large barge, is juxtaposed against rainy, fracto-nimbus clouds and timber-clad hillsides alongside Columbia's Oregon side as seen from Washington state. The mast of the tug is placed intentionally at the intersection of two ridgelines, far shore.
This 'fool' -- a retarded man in a village in Ukraine -- might have made an interesting portrait, but the woman kiosk owner in the background adds not only balance to the photo, but also adds interest with her 'take' on the situation and her 'amusement' that the man is having his photo taken -- a 'politically and socially incorrect' stance that would be discouraged in Europe and the West.
Three interesting mannequins in a Vienna Airport woman's shop are interesting.
The photo of the scanitily-clad model wearing lingerie (lightened in Photoshop) in the shop interior, makes this image more about eroticism.
This man is a businessman in Kiev, Ukraine's nearby Borispol, who has just driven his Mercedes from one of these rudimentary garages, then returned to lock it.
Now, as he exits, his forward movement can be seen in his stride, silhouetted against the contrasting light garage side. The photographer waited for his stride extention (1) to illustrate forward motion and (2) to contrast with the light garage door.
It took 37 images of this graffito before a pedestrian came by with just the proper step and stride for a silhouette that emphasized the unhappy look of this simple face.
The windows, the placement of the figure and the mid-step stride all give the photo balance.
Here the background is as much of the photo as the foreground, and neither is complete without the other.
Here, the background, like most 'mural' or 'wall art' shots is essential to the photograph.
This inspired shot, featuring salmon with anthropomorphic attributes, is titled 'Don't Look Back, I Think We're Being Followed!' Fish above the man's head are similar to speech 'balloons' used by cartonists.
This photograph is dedicated to cartoonist Gary Larson whose 'Far Side' comics attributed human qualities to animals, plants and other living things, as these salmon seem to have.
This much-commented photo is almost entirely a subject-in-background photo, with the foreground razor wire fence barely visible, but necessary for the meaning. 'Lap dance' is an interesting subject, but a sign protected by cyclone fence and topped by razor wire, much as Viet Namese fortifications were protected against Viet Cong were protected, is inconguous to say the least and a telling comment about American culture and its relationship to 'sexuality'.
Poverty is the ultimate theme of this colorful Ukrainian woman who it finally turned out (because of her oven size) could only bake one loaf of this bread (klep) a day.
So, showing her with a long expanse of bare shelves in the outdoor market beind her in the early morning sun when the village market first opened, was especially 'illuminating' as she pleaded with me with her eyes (she didn't speak) to buy her sole loaf for a few dimes.
I ultimately bought it and gave it to my driver.
A camera was placed on a counter, permission for a photo was obtained and this short-order cook proceed about her duties, and ultimately apparently forgot that her photo was being taken, I think.
The result is that the order paperwork in the foreground and other foreground paraphernalia lend an unusual perspective to this wide angle photograph, taken with preset focus and exposure setting.
A Parisian 'taxi' sign would be a pretty 'dull' photograph without the chatting taxi drivers in the background, out of focus, silhouetted by the bright colors of a distant restaurant sign, in front of the Gare du Nord, (train station of the North).
The subject here would be barren without the background.
This photo languished for 35 years, a study in lines -- too good to throw away, and not attractive enough to rush to display. The automobile in the foreground complemented both complements and contrasts with the reverse curve of the parking garage lane in the background, all broken by the pull down mesh iron/steel grate, for a most unusual photo -- a study in lines and curves.
This is an example of a foreground and a background merging to become a 'subject' with each dependent on the other to 'make' the photograph.
This is a gate near the departure area of Keleti (international) train station in Budapest with the departure board in the background.
The in-focus gate would be almost meaningless (and photographically barren) without being juxtaposed over the out-of-focus departure announcement board in the background and the high windows behind.
This is a photo few people, not even passersby, would see. The more distant bow of this boat had eyes painted on it, and the near bow had a wreath posted on it.
Standing back and using a 70~300 zoom stopped down to f16 or f22 caused both elements to merge to send a message: Beware the Eyes of December! (Apologies to Shakespeare).
This juxtaposition brings them both into the frame for a most unusual juxtaposition of creepy 'eyes' wishing 'Merry Christmas'.
This juxtaposition was made by the advertiser, a temporary placement firm, which suggests that the uninteresting billboard figure, foreground, has no future, while the other figure, rear, is a go-getter with a future.
Place: Gare du Nord (Train Station of the North) -- Paris.
This juxtaposition, done in the more classic style of 'street photography' shows a woman relaxing at a street restaurant having a smoke and a young man racing by, all in front of a department store clothing window.
The progression of figures from foreground runner, to middle background woman in outdoor restaurant, to background mannequins, draws the eye through the photo. The runner gives the photo dynamism.
Interspersal of figures superimposed against a colored background helps gives this photo interest.
This color photo uses the colored umbrella, right, to catch the eye, the angular shape of the man, left, to keep the eye, and the greenish color of the moldy brick building to keep and outline or silhouette the figures, all for an interesting composition.
The foreground figure has just exited a Lufthansa jet in Frankfurt (see overhead sign, middle background in Lufthansa colors), and because of exposure is silhouetted, a planned effect.
It is clear he is on his cell phone (mobile, also known in Germany as a 'handy'), and he is striding or running, phone in hand, luggage trailing amid the busy-ness of this huge warren of an airport.
The scale of the airport can be judged by the immediate background showing the shiny floor with figures and their reflections as well as the distant luggage cart. (Tarmac aircraft regrettably are missing from this image.) Bright light is used to tie the background to the foreground as in other photographs above.
This rude woman decided to give the gesture commonly known as 'the finger' and did it with aplomb, arching her back.
The car, foreground, otherwise uninteresting, serves to focus attention on this pedestrian, and the restaurant window, background, with its colors, tends to highlight and help frame this middle background woman, making for an interesting and well-received composition.
Street photography often begin as visualization in the photographer's brain and is executed on film or other media such as digital storage devices.
Here, envisioning that passerby, right, would sneak a peek at this woman's twin 'peaks', my photographic expectations weren't met as the passerby passed on a 'peek'.
This photo was almost removed before it was pointed out that the male, rear, was sneaking a peek over her shoulder, and suggested that the man, right, was intentionally averting his eyes.
(Or, as suggested in a Seinfeld episode, he already had taken a mental 'photo' of this woman's anatomy, as many males are wont to do, was thus able to feign indifference -- a form of deceit practiced by many males, especially married ones.
Why take a photo of a (woman) holding an umbrella? Here, because of the coloring and pattern of the umbrella.
But that would be insufficient except that the umbrella's color and pattern somehow fit nicely with the color and texture of with the background paving stones and department store across the street at this street car stop in Hamburg, Germany in the evening rain.
This is one of the most complicated or complex, yet rewarding images in Crosley's portfolio.
Looking in through the window of the front door of this thrift shop in San Francisco, one sees a profusion of things, mostly merchandise, and then the eye wanders through the scene, until it becomes fixed, first on the mannequin, right, and then on the merchandise, rear, and finally on the three figures in the rear which are:
1. A customer in the rear in overcoat, standing;
2. A mannequin head on counter;
3. The apparent owner, seated behind a rear counter;
Notice that the figures in the back including mannequin are a group of 'three'.
All are very small in size compared to the totality of the photo, but very important to the photo, and require work on the part of the viewer.
The photo is comprised of the totality of the foreground to the background with the 'prize' or 'reward' hidden in the 'background center' with the triad of unusual figures, including shop owner.
This alcoholic derelict was being removed from the once disreputable South of Market streets (now the more fashionable "Soma" district of San Francisco), then a skid row, just before President Nixon was to arrive in San Francisco.
On the edge of consciousness, his arms spreadeagled, two cops dragged him across a sidewalk.
The two arms of the bum were repeated in the two arms of the cops, and the theme of 'twos' was repeated again in the two figures of the old men and again in their two canes (sticks) for a more complex (and thus more interesting) image.
A woman trying on glasses is a mundane subject.
An older, not particularly attractive woman trying on glasses even less so, until she was juxtaposed against a distant sign with a beautiful woman advertising the suggestion that women wearing glasses are 'beautiful'.
There is repetition in that both figures have 'glasses' and further repetition in the background, which roughly is divided into fourths of quadrants -- with the customer breaking the frame somewhat.
To those suggesting that photographic composition relies heavily on the 'rule of thirds' this photo illustrates the 'rule of fourths'.
It contains various photographic elements: (1) juxtaposition -- a. old and young; and b. division of background into four rectangles as well as repetition (glasses wearing, and nearly identical quadrants, background).
This photo has two centers of attention, both juxtaposed, neither of which is actually, technically a 'background' or a foreground.
The workers, on their hands and knees, are contrasted and juxtaposed with the standing businessmen observing, hands in pockets or at their sides, with businessmen being more distant or a humorous take on a slice of life.
This is an instance of two 'groups' being necessary for the subject of a photograph where neither one is technically a sole subject. However, but the rules for use of an interesting 'background' apply equally here for this photo in which elements are more side by side.
This Japanese-American saleswoman fitting a necklace to a Japanese tourist in the stratospherically-priced Hermes store in Honolulu is hardly interesting on its own and without great photographic merit.
Set in the midst of a return of Japanese money to Honolulu with a return of Japenese tourists to Honolulu's tourist dependent economy and juxtaposed with the trendy and expensive Paris designer logo of Hermes, Paris, on a distant wall, the photo takes on new meaning and import.
Surfboards in Honolulu generally are photographed on the beach and there are generally a cliche. But people have to get their surfboards to the beach, as this man and his son were doing when they stopped in front of the Macy's, Waikiki, Honolulu, Window.
And, the window advertised, appropriately, beachwear -- what else?
A couple of elk crossed the road ahead, then a whole herd, with these three young elk nearly at the head. They scampered across a meadow for this summer snowstorm capture.
Note the interspersal of three during this summer sleet storm with the color still on the valley meadow plants for a most unusual, almost impressionistic image.
The hats, foreground are unusual, even for Santa Cruz, California which has its usual scattering of hippies left over from the sixties and seventies as well as its scattered oddballs.
Breakdancing from the 70s and 80s also is making a comeback and this top-hatted duo, foreground, frame a break dancer, spinning on his helmeted head, legs in the air twirling wildly under the 10:00 p.m. evening street lights.
What appears to be a jetliner, rear, banking in a steep turn, actually is nine small jet trainer planes of the Canadian Snowbird demonstration team. This easily-overlooked photo (at least in presentation size) illustrates a device often used in television -- the 'reaction shot' but instead of focusing on the woman's face, then the jets, this photo compresses them into one frame, which is what a still photographer must do outside of a photojournalism essay.
The spectator, foreground, the flat on the framework and the vast separation between the watchers and the planes all add to the surreality of the intentionally depicted surreality of this air show scene.
Here the subject young Thai 'woman' merges with these depicted advertising subjects lined up in neat rows --- the Chinese script giving context in this Bangkok Chinatown photo.
The background, with rows of photos and the right divided into rectangles, gives this photo a decided geometrical touch, and the juxtaposition of her face before the advertising faces uses the device of 'repetition'.
Telephoto lenses (even moderate ones) allow juxtapositions that frequently are unrecognized by the ordinary eye.
Here, a small ceiling lamp is brought into juxtaposition with a wall skeleton celebrating Halloween in Hoffman's bakery and restaurant in Santa Cruz, California, transforming two stark elements into an interesting and unusual photo.
This young 'wanderer' who lived in the woods was educated and trying to buy a ticket to the midnight showing of 'Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas' depicting portions of the life of Hunter S. Thompson, now recently deceased 'gonzo journalist'.
Beside him is the photo of an actress depicting an english abortionist, the subject of the evening's motion picture feature.
Whenever he finds visually stimulating or interesting, an attempt is made to incorporate photos, billboards, posters, window dressing, signs, etc., into my photography for interesting and/or unusual juxtapositions.
This truck driver paused behind his load of four loads of drywall sheetrock on the back of his semi-trailer in this nighttime photo. Such loads often are wrapped into special wrappers that emphasize special geometric relationships for visual interest, and these four loads repeat patterns.
This driver stood at an interesting point where he stood in one quadrant of the four rectangles defined by the four background 'loads' defined by the sheetrock forklift bundles.
This another illustration of the 'rule of fourths'. ;-))
Impressively hardworking and ambitious Ukrainian waitress Nelia goes over a guest's bill at her work table in the far background of a dining room in the far distance, caught by a telephoto lens in dim light.
She is framed by nearer foreground chair backs, covered by white fabric in this very fancy hotel restaurant.
Mary-Kate did what? The foreground in this photo is one-third of the photo and it's out of focus, drawing the viewer's attention to the background 'newspaper' and the reader (notice the resemblance between the reader and the newspaper photo subject's style).
This very photo, taken looking back in a Thanksgiving Day supermarket checkout line, broke many rules about sharp focus overall on Photo.net, but it effectively drew viewers' eyes toward the subject through use of an out of focus foreground.
This fisherman had a contrasting shirt and a sharp focus which contrasted with the slightly out of focus boat hull with duller colors, background silhouetting this deep sea commercial angler with the movie star good looks and helped make making this image 'pop'.
This second grain train photo is about repetition, with the grain train, foreground, comprised of four complete grain cars with gold color, and a huge grain elevator beside the banks of the Columbia River at Kalama, Washington.
Here vertical repetition of the silo elevators competes with horizontal, vanishing point elements of the grain cars.
The sign on the wall (near background) says 'ultimate indulgence' and depicts a beautiful, toothy woman.
The very young woman, seated foreground, also is beautiful and equally as toothy, for a repetition, as foreground and background merge in this juxtaposition. The repetition is double: teeth and beauty of both images.
The task for photographer Crosley was to make a static pose of a subject interesting to the subject by posting him with an active background -- here a businessman on the beach with a girl relative playing frisbee on the beach background. First of a series of three.
This is the third in the series of this former Eastern European businessman in a static pose on a beach, with a young girl relative playing frisbee in the background for 'action.'
A boatwright holds the tools of his trade and in turn is overlooked by the boat he had been working on, a replica of a sailing vessel recreated and left to founder in the South Pacific before being rehabbed in this Moss Landing, California boat yard. This boatwright is an interesting subject, but dwarfed by the vessel he is working on, background, and holding tools of his trade, makes an effective environmental portrait of 'man at work'.
The dilemma of this woman with her walker is apparent as she appears to approach the distant 'Drive Tru' sign of this Yreka, CA McDonald's -- standing out in the early morning gloom all lighted up.
Foreground, broken asphaltic concrete blacktop presents an obstacle, leading to the background 'drive thru' lane, connecting the foreground to the background.
This Bangkok motorcycle 'taxi' driver poses against a moldy wall across from a department store, his helmet atop his motorcycle, waiting for a fare. This is an extreme wide angle view, stopped down for great depth of field.
This photograph is one to view carefully. The walls, right, contain murals, the sea, distance, frames a man in a wheelchair, and if one looks carefully, there is a man leaning against the left wall. Place: Capitola, California near Santa Cruz.
Neither of the figures in this photograph would be interesting in and of themselves -- it is only in the juxtaposition of the sitting woman (a beggar) and the working man (see the parcel he's carrying) that the point of the photo is apparent. Red color on both of them ties the figures together, an illustration of color as a connective device between foreground and background.
One critique thought this photo scary, but to this these attractive tween girls celebrating Halloween were just very cute in their makeup applied by their mothers. Photo: Coos Bay, Oregon, outside a restaurant, after dark with a telephoto at an extremely low shutter speed, wide open, throwing the second (background) girl into fuzziness. Another example of a 'dual portrait' on the street.
A stuffed dog is not photoworthy, nor an elph alone, but a shopper in a Wal-Mart had placed them in this mocking 'sexual' position, which lasted only as long as it took to take a quick, grab shot, camera not framed or focused, which resulted serendipitously in capture of the price sign ($6.84) and the words 'body fantasies'.
The bookstore window advertised 'Guitar for Dummies'. In front of the bookstore, at night, was a 'wanderer' with his guitar on his back, and it is up to the viewer to decide whether or not he is a 'dummy' or more accomplished. He certainly was interested in having his photograph taken.
This is Acting Fire Captain Danny who five times entered this burning building and even entered burning rooms, averting certain death for residents of this apartment house, as later he directed this small town's 'ladder' unit to spray the fire that demolished the building one night.
A photo of a 'hook' might have been interesting if taken properly, but it gained a higher status by being juxtaposed with its own late afternoon shadow against the side of a boat.
This is an early evening photo taken at a park in Odessa, Ukraine, where World War II tank turrets have been plugged and children play on them. Focus is on the red turret plug, swinging children slightly out of focus and somewhat blurry from this very low light, post dusk photo.
Taking photos after dark requires long exposures and taking photos of moving objects without flash with a stopped-down ultrawide lens is certain to result in both blurriness and rectilinear distortion. The foreground subject cable car is brought into context by juxtaposing it against the famous 'Buena Vista Cafe' and taxi outside in San Francisco.
There was just one film frame in the camera as my boat passed rapidly by this temple when I spied this young boy about to jump from a nearby pier top. I waited until I judged him to be mid-air, and took his one exposure. This is the result, juxtaposing the boy, with the temple with the storm clouds, distant.
Nighttime photos call or unusual steadiness and blurs result, but vibration reduction lenses can help stabilize the scene, as here. This crippled beggar, on a skateboard, in Bangkok, is surrounded by movement of pedestrian, taxi and motorcycle emphasizing his loneliness -- his possessions slung over his shoulder (he probably sleeps on the street.)
I have never seen a black person in Japan outside of Tokyo's diplomatic district. This airport shopper, between flights, is perplexed somewhat as she shops for cosmetics in an airport duty-free shop at Tokyo's nearby Narita International Airport. Her color contrasts with the target shopper, the model in the 'chrome' ad behind her.
This smiling and happy man in Bangkok, Thailand makes an interesting contrast in this color version of this photo taken in Bangkok's older district near but not in its Chinatown.
A B & W version is different and even more successful. The richness of this photo is the juxtaposition of the man and his open mouth with the shading/lighting on him and the similarity with the poster man on this Coke poster.
The foreground woman, a lingerie saleswoman in Bangkok, Thailand's Pat Pong Night Market, has an interesting open mouth, but moreso because it is repeated in the mannequin behind her.
This unusual photo shows a tattoo subject viewing his new 'tats' late at night, tattoo artist at left viewing his 'books' after a long session. Photo taken through a door. Note use of two mirrorw to obtain views of the back and the front of the tattoo subject, and also note that his left side face is visible in the foreground, but his right side face is visible in the mirror, for an unsusual split portrait.
Repetition, foreground to background, is the dominant theme of this photograph. The jackhammer operator, foreground, was interesting enough and many photos were taken, but it was not until the laborer, background bent over briefly, that the photography took on a higher dimension.
This is three (or four) portraits in one. Not well received by raters, this is a complicated photo nonetheless. This painting copyist in Bangkok's Pat Pong Night Market at a copy painting shop actually is creating a new work patterned after the style of an older work. He works from an art book, in hand, on the painting in front of him, and refers to the portrait, left, which varies in significant aspects, from the photo he is working on. All three vary significantly and are not true 'copies' although they are stylistically related. In addition, the color 'theme' of the paint is carried out not only in the subjects' faces (all three) but also in the painters skin tones -- fourth portrait -- the painter himself.
This well-received photo shows three states of awareness, from foreground to background. The foreground man is completely unaware, the man -- left -- is moderately aware of the photographer, and the woman -- legs demurely crossed -- probably has been aware of the photographer and has dismissed the his presence as 'not worthy'.
Selective depth of field can make a subject 'pop' or stand out. Here two men appear almost to be 'clones' of each other or twins, with beards similar to that of Ernest Hemingway, hence the title. The photo's strength comes from juxtaposing the two men's faces (visages) and their beards, using selective depth of field to throw the second (leftmost) man somewhat out of focus.
Advertising displays, posters, billboards, graffiti, other street art, and even gallery displays often offer rich material for creating photographs. Here, a young woman is placed in juxtaposition to a large window in a commercial area of an Eastern Country. This is an illustration of 'mirroring' or repetition, but notice how the repetition of the foreground subject is used to complement rather than actually mirror the background illustration and fill the frame in an interesting way.
As noted in a previous comment, mirroring with posters, advertisements, etc., is a most effective device for the 'street photographer'. This vegetable stall salesman on an Eastern street below this advertising photo, squirmed when he saw the camera, turned away, and in doing so adopted a 'mirror' pose to the woman in the advertisement behind him.
This photo is about symmetries that just don't make it. If you saw the movie 'Educating Rita' you may recall there's a literary device used in poetry that is used to name poetry that 'tries to rhyme but just doesn't make it'. This is a photo that just escapes symmetry in almost every way, hopefully in a somewhat amusing way. The photos on the wall are paradigms representing certain hair styles, but the couples in them seem to be critiquing this young man's haircut -- a way in which the background and the foreground can work together to 'create' a story that the photographer visualizes.
This photo, fuzzy because taken in a summer snowstorm (yes, summer), at Yellowstone National Park, shows a youthful elk invigorated by the sudden cold, playing. This photo is 'painted with color' foreground to background, a device which ties all the elements together, from foreground through background.
This 'street' or 'environmental' photograph shows two commuters on the Port Authority Trans Hudson (PATH) commuter line in New Jersey's Journal Square. Strong sidelighting enhances the subjects in what is essentially a portrait, but the use of the partially-obscured sign and the detail of the tunnel opening, rear, help add richness to this photograph.
The art of creating (yes, creating) a juxtaposition is part of successful photography. Here, an Eastern European woman is standing at a boat's stern in front of her nation's flag billowing in the wind. Placing her in front of the windblown flag helps 'frame' her and also places this photo in context. The viewer expects that it's a boat flag because of the water and riverbank, background.
Sometimes it takes an extremely wide angle lens to take in all of the elements the photographer wants to create his composition. Here, two carny workers stand in front of a giant Gravitron amusement park machine, Salinas Valley, California. Note that except for the sky in this evening photo, the strong use of color of the foreground through background elements, which helps tie them together.
When a photographer sees an interesting architectural or other environmental feature, sometimes it just takes a little patience to achieve a satisfactory photo. Here, the woman's face (visage) is both pointed in the direction of the bas relief plaque portrait and her face outline repeats the features of the portrait/sculpture face, background.
Sometimes the background can be disturbing to a photo's aesthetics. Here the background was a line of condominiums. Although usually opposed to 'Photoshopping', the ability to blur the background, which makes it appear as though it's in fog, helped keep distracting elements from destroying this photo.
This is a rare photo in which the composition was changed by cropping somewhat. Nevertheless, this photo is one of repetition, illustrated two ways. The first is the repetition of the figures, ducks, two seated children, middle ground, and two seated adults, background. The young boy looking over the lakeside from this pier breaks up the repetition of 'twos' which occurs in this photo, front to back, and adds an 'accent'.
Breaking up repetition through an 'accent' figure is a very effective photographic composition device.
This photo illlustrates two devices that help with photographs that have subjects in more than one plane. The first device is the placement of the subject (off-center) framed by his wares. Note that the wares' lineup seems to create lines that converge on his 'portrait' like a vanishing point. This also is a photo which is 'painted with color' to fill the frame and join foreground with background.
Often 'nature photographers' feel their photos should be pinpoint sharp. Here, selective depth of field (resulting from lack of light more than anything, or an available tripod) required selective depth of field. Notice how it is the rear-most mushroom that is in focus. Selecting the plane in which the photographer achieves focus can help 'tie' elements of a photograph together. This also is a photo that illustrates the device of repetition, broken by an 'accent.'
Here the repetition is in rounded shapes of the partially-reveled mushrooms. The eye and experienced completes the task of telling the brain they're 'circular'. The 'accent' is the in-focus mushroom, which interestingly is the rear-most mushroom.
Telephoto lenses allow or compression of foreground and background. Here, three strawberry planters who were pulling the new plants through this plastic in January, were framed using 'roads' or 'rodados' -- uncultivated areas used for farm machines. Care was taken to 'capture' the figures in a symmetrical way, here 'threes', a common element in Crosley photography. The 'rodados' in the photo do not converge 'on frame' but the Western eye complete the composition to imply a 'Z' figure, which is remarkably similar to the pleasing 'S' curve written about in photography books, for a very effective composition.
This photo is about repetition and the use of the device of 'threes'. This student artist, painting a self-portrait, cannot be seen except through the mirror she is viewing herself in and in her artistic interpretation of herself in the canvas, right. Tying each plane together are the grounded heads, which the mind tells us are all the same person, though they don't look identical. The device of 'threes' is an useful device for dynamically showing interspersal, like the photo of farmworkers above. The mind will connect the points of the 'three' to imply a triangle, which is very dynamic.
Foreground figures can help 'frame' a background and place it in perspective. Here, this low-angle view of two fire officials viewing an out of control fire in a major building, frame the building and emphasize through the one man's glance that the fire is totally out of control. (The title is whimsy.)
Sometimes silhouettes can help 'isolate' a figure and emphasize it. Here, the angularity of this man watching a sunset at Point Lobos, Caliornia is emphsized by silhouetting him against the background of the multi-colored Pacific Ocean.
Not all photos have to have clearly-identified figures. This arched entryway to residential buildings in Odessa, Ukraine illustate how they were build almost fortification style. The figures in the archway add 'scale' to the photograph and help relate the foreground, which is mostly uninteresting, to the background. The figures help 'make' this photogaph. (Interestingly one of the figures was unknowingly an official on Odessa's main photo club.)
The use of a diagonal is a strong compositional element because it breaks a square or rectangular fame into two triangles -- both dynamic figures. This photo, one of many good photo from this shoot of Washington State's Kalam River (from a bridge), was chosen for its composition because the boat (and the extension of the boat through the barely-seen fishing lines at which the parties are staring intently, creates the diagonal which diagonally bisects this frame. Note i you click on the photo, how the intent stares at their lines of the fishermen help complete the bisecting diagona; one case in which almost the unseeable 'vector' of their stares helps 'imply' that bisecting diagonal -- a very unusual compositional device. The expressions here are very rich also.
This photo of 'winter wheat' taken in late spring/summer near Yakima, Washington, illustates how a higher viewpoint helps fill the frame with color. The element of 'threes' is used on the three wheat stalks, foreground, for effective subject selectin. Selective focus isolates those three wheat stalks, and helps make these foreground plants stand out against the seat of wheat, background, yet emphasizes that they are 'part of a whole' This illustates a them of repetition in two ways (1) through three (repeating) stalks of wheat as the 'subject' and the sea of wheat with the front wheat stalks as an 'accent' breaking a pattern of repetition. Also, the apparent 'organization' of these three stalks against a cluttered background helps 'accent' them and set them apart.
This high ISO photo (1600) taken at a dinner table in Germany illustrate use of selective depth of field to emphasize a subject. The choice to photograph 'three' flowers is in keeping with a long-standing theme in this work. The 'repetition' of the flowers is broken by the apparently non-cooperating flower, right corner.
This is a photo in which selective depth of field (here the middle ground) helps bring out a subject, the laughing marcher. This photograph uses the laughing marcher as an 'accent' to break the repetition of the heads and bodies of the uniformed marchers.
These famous and enormous steps in Odessa, Ukraine are repeating elements. The mother, and daughter, lower left, are accents that break (and emphasize) the repetition of the steps. They also help lend the steps scale, as do the background figures. (A partially-visible red building kiosk, right, was desaturated to avoid 'fighting with the drab colors overall and the redness of the skipping child.
The brightness of the sun in the broken clouds, Yellowstone National Park, is repeated in the geyser brine, foreground, that is slowly killing these trees. The trees touch both heaven and earth, and the repetition of glare/brightness, even in its shape, helps tie the background to the foreground.
This young man, waiting for a bus in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine was framed by his umbrella. The radiating spokes of the umbrella, helped emphasize and bring attention to his head for effective framing. It is important to help incorporate props (derived in movie parlance from the word 'property') or whatever other elements are nearby to help frame a figure or otherwise complete a composition.
Martin Luther King was assassinated and there were riots in Harlem. This integrated cleanup group including a patrolman, are busy trying to help push back this building 'riot gate' so they can clean up, the day after a night of rioting, Manhattan, N.Y.
Here, the action from foreground to background and the nature of the action ties the figures, foreground to the train they are running to catch, which is on a vanishing point. One's eye and brain completes this composition, as nothing else says this train's doors are about to shut, but the bain is certain that this ICE train in Munich, Germany is about to shut its doors and pull out of the station.
The juxtaposition or sandwiching of the elements of this photograph help tell a story, although one has to complete the story in one's own mind. It is important in photography to employ 'scene setters' such as this
'Airshow' poster, rear, to help place a photo such as this in context. Does this photo suggest affection, boredom, love, closeness, or some part of the universal human condition (accomodating children in a relationship)?
This Swiss Banker was bicycling from Yellowstone National Park to Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole, Wyoming by himself. He is framed here, using a telephoto lens, against the Grand Teton Mountains. These upthrust mountains, the most recent in the Rockey Mountain Chain are formed similarly to the Swiss Alps from his home country, but are markedly different in their climate/topography otherwise. Telephoto lens used to 'collapse' or place in juxtapositino, subject and background which were very distant from each other.
Monochromism brings this 'color' photo's foreground through background together for a whole. Helping tie the elements together, the camera was stopped down well below normal exposure, which showed blue sky and dark green, very reflective water, to capture the scene monochromatically, and in doing so, the atmospheric elements of haze over the water and clouds were all tied together. Cape Perpetua, Oregon
Sometimes the foreground is placed in context by the background. Here, this woman kissing her man, Denney's is aided in its surreal aspect by the starkness of a black and white conversion, the stark background, and the unexpected accent of the water figure, left, bringing water to the table at this (in)opportune time.
This photo is about several things. One is about the surreal, as illustrated by its caption. This is an 'oddball' photo, and she is carrying the 'odd' 'ball', a bowling ball found in the front yard of this Moss Landing, CA structure. The helpful colors tie and contract the background with the foreground and were what attracted the photographer first in this rainstorm photo. Saturation, after all, refers to the changed state of the color of objects as their chemical composition, with the addition of OH (hyroxide) from rain, changes, usually to more intense colors. This unenhanced photo illustates the use of filling the frame with the 'subject' including its interesting (or the color and texture) background.
High ISO capability of today's digital cameras helps make hand-held photos otherwise impossible within reach of ordinary photographers carrying a camera. Here the camera was stopped down and a well-braced photographer caught the curtain in a theater before it rose, with the repetition of the chairs, foreground, framing the distant, colorful curtain.
On a stormy, rainy day in Oregon, all the leaves came off these trees at Portland, Oregon's Jantzen Beach. A strong bisecting diagonal adds dynamism to this photo, tying foreground to background. The yellow of the leaves is repeated in the yellow of the hydrant.
This photojournalism photo of a fireman and a policeman, both first responders to a fire (the fire captain, foreground entered a blazing multi-story apartment building multiple times even surrounded by flames). Selective depth of field brings out the 'hero' against a patrolman who reported the fire. The photo is framed so the element of 'heads' repeats, but one is more dramatized than the other by selective depth of field. (See Also the photo 'Mr. Hemingway, meet . . . uh . . . Mr. Hemingway' which is similar in a different context.
The sign, background, serves more than one purpose. It sets the tone for the photo, with its written message 'Funny and Charming' and the poster figures seem to be both having 'fun' and to be 'engaging'. That's in contast to the foreground figures, not one of whom seems either to be having fun or to be 'engaged' in or by anything. This photo illustrates how to create contrasts through juxtaposition.
This is a photo about geometric shapes in which a human figure, the vendor, is an 'accent'. The building front and the vending cart top with its geometrically laid out orange juice containers creates a geometric composition. The accent, of course, is the vendor, whose attention, elsewhere, does not detract too much. (If he were looking at the camera, the geometry of this photo would be overpowered, it was felt and other frames bore that out.)
This is a photo about using the foreground to emphasize and contrast with the background by juxtaposition. The juxtaposition was achieved by using a 200 mm. telephoto lens on a ditital camera (effective focal length or film =300 mm). Drama is achieved by making it appear that this couple, seaside is extremely close to the giant, crashing wave, left.
This is a photo in which the vanishing line of the diminshing size 'piles' ties the foreground, left, to the approaching background, right. Repetition is achieved by finding a bird on each pile (naturally and unenhanced with PS). Question: Would this have been a stronger photo if just one bird, an accent, were alighting or descending onto one piling with its wings extended fully?
The poster, rear, is essential to this composition. It states (click on it) 'Funny and Charming' and the poster figures seem both to be having 'un' and to be 'engaged' contrasted to the foregound figures. This is a simple desaturation, which has lost detail in the woman, left, which was present through the use of unusual lighting of her skin, in the color version.
Here the rectangular frame does NOT capture the entire photo. This down and out man and his dogs, left, is accented by the man, right who is peering 'off frame' effectively engaging the viewer to attempt to follow his gaze past the frame's edge, a seldom-used photographic device, which suggests that the photo does not capture ALL of the subject, yet the photograph holds together without the unseen, extraneous element he is viewing.
This Black and White version of 'Billboard and Man probably will be the most enduring and successful recent photo.
This man, looking upward and laughing/smiling is tied together with the advertising poster behind him because of the various aspects of his/their face(s).
His face is up, the poster face is front and down. He is smiling, the poster face is obviously more intent. His mouth is open, likewise the poster face. The lighting on the poster figure and the man, are almost identical, suggesting that the man and poster were essentially photographed as a whole, rather than separately.
Note the use of the vanishing point, left to right and the inclusion of all the words of the sign 'Red Passion'.
This is a photograph in three planes. The most important plane is the subject, the bridal couple with the groom examining his cell phone which just rang as he was in the midst of his 'wedding kiss' and illustrates his (and his new bride's) dilemma over what to do with a ringing phone (and how he resolved this, as he is reading a text message). The background, a man standing, and the structures down below on Odessa, Ukraine's waterfront on the Black Sea, place this photo in context. (Well worth the wait, and following this couple around.)
This is another in a series of photos/portraits in which one subject, nearer the camera is isolated by selective depth of field, while mirrored (here laughing/smiling) by the rearward face. There are two other examples of such dual portraits, using selective focus, in this presentation at present. This is one of two in which a foreground face partialy obscures the background face, a device in itself, as it forces the mind to 'complete' the face, background.
This is a photo about tying background to foreground not only through the use of (1) repeating elements -- the cooking utensils in this Bangkok, Thailand photo, but also through (2) the vanishing point of the alleyway, walkway and (3) through the captured action that places the motorcyclist in his precise location and the two women nurses?) in a similar, precise location for precise compositional success.
There were competing elements with other figures in other crops of this photograph. This is an example of tying two figures, one a statue, and one a man (mirrored figures) together by suggesting the statute's gesture somehow is presenting or 'picking' the standing man, or a bit of whimsy. Place, top of Odessa's steps overlooking the Black Sea harbor on a foggy, winter day.
This successful photograph uses the whole element of the mural, background to suggest that the passing motorized wheelchair figure is somehow related to the message being proclaimed by the mural figures. Entitled 'Wheelchair Dreams' it can suggest to some that it represents 'freedom' or the man, but to those in Eastern Europe or other countries, it may suggest that with his motorized wheelchair, this crippled man is already 'freed'. How you view it may reflect your culture, its prosperity, and how it views 'handicapped' people. Of course the twin subjects are mutually interdependent and singly they would be without photographic merit/that comes only through the juxtaposition and the precise placement of wheelchair rider. (Single shot capture -- no motor or continuous drive) Photographed through broken traffic in less than 1/2 second framing.
Civic Pride suggests the mural, background, yet the woman, below and closer to the camera, is a 'bag lady' carrying her possessions in a vinyl bag, suggesting 'civic shame' for a juxtaposition that suggests social comment.
This photo is not only surreal, the spotlight on the Bobby Darin figure (portraited by Kevin Spacey) in the poster is in the shape of a triangle. That triangle shape is repeated in the shape of the seated and leaning figure beneath, for a mirroring that is more complex because it is reversed.
This is another double portrait, using selective depth of field, showing two aging motorcyclists stopped as they traverse the Nevada Desert in late summer/early fall with their girlfriends. This is just one more example of a double portrait with the second, rearmost and mirroring figure, somewhat thrown out of focus by selective depth of field.
The use of the 'S' curve is well-documented in photographic composition texts and often referred to. It is helpful to recognize when a modification of an 'S' curve is present.
Here, the 'Z' figure formed by the bridge structure performs the same function as an 'S' curve more commonly written about.
The strenth of an 'S' or a 'C' curve (or reverse) is that it leads the viewer's eye from front to back. Here patience was required to capture the figures in symmmetry to the bridge/walkway structure.
This is an environmental ('street') photo/portrait of a corn ear vendor in a Salinas Valley town called Chualar. Note that his rightmost hat line continues the line of the building with 'liquor' written on it, and helps tie the foreground to the background.
A kiss is an interesting subject, but made more interesting by juxtaposing this Saturday night couple against a more distant theater marquee, background. A moderate telephoto lens on digital camera was used to capture these dimly lighted subjects at high ISO (1600).
This is a photo that should be blown up very large to be understood. There are five, equally-spaced figures on the bridge walkway between the two boats. They are framed by three boats top, left and right, and bounded by their bridge, bottom.
This color photo, similar to the B&W photo above, also should be viewed extremely large. The same ships bound two figures, each equidistant from his/her framing ship, capturing symmetry out of life's randomness.
Any viewer of this site will recognize that women make stimulating photos, and that pretty women draw the attention not only of heterosexual males, but also of a larger number of females than most males expect (comparing and judging against themselves/family/friends, perhaps). This candidaly captured photo, almost too good to be true, captured in an Easern country, shows not one but two beautiful women, both drinking Cokes. (The woman, left, was contacted, shown this photo, and appears in other photos that were less extemporaneous and is not a friend.)
The young bus traveler, playing an arcade-type game in this bus station, was essential to the surreal quality of this capture, even her knit hat.
Her seat could be a bus driver's seat, so similar is its shape (she is playing a driving game). The viewer's eye is almost forced to wander from the foreground figure to the background with the couple, background, touching and the woman adjusting her glasses. Even reflections of clothing colors off the metal walls help tie this photo together, as well as the reflections on the polished floor.
This post-midnight photo, available light at ISO 1600, show Sasha the taxi driver consulting a map under his 'dome' light in his more modern auto in Kiev, Ukraine, with the outdoors lighted by street lights in Kiev's old district -- for context. A good illustration of why one should carry a camera at all times.
This photo is about subtle, near monochromatic colors and repetition. The repetition is from the gentle wind carrying the smoke from the smokestack, rear and the smoke from the tour boat on the Dnieper River in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine both in the same direction and with about the same arc, one below the other for a pleasing composition.
The post sundown colors are subtle and almost monochromatic and highly un-saturated.
This is a sunrise nearly a year earlier over the same river, the River Dnieper from a hotel balcony, also showing subtle shades of salmon reflected from the sky into the water, with subtle haze/fog over the city as moisture rise during the late Spring/early Summer morning.
This is what the French call a trompe l'oeil. (mistake of the eye, or an optical illusion).
Actually the sea lion and bird are on separate docks. Only skillful camera positioning and quick movements by me holding a 80~200 mm camera allowed me to place these two figures in juxtaposition, just as the sea lion barked (and thus had his mouth open) while at the same time the bird walked by on a rear dock, giving the 'illusion' the bird was being bitten by the sea lion.
If you look at the caption it is an 'imperative' and does not purport to be a description -- and thus is NOT a misrepresentation.
Heh, heh, heh.
This is a case of silhouetting by juxtaposition. The light which silhouettes this man, standing at the top of Odessa, Ukraine's famous and enormous harborside steps (pictured during Eisenstein's movie 'Battleship Potempkin Massacre') is on a building across the broad street across the way from the top of the steps.
Note that half the frame, almost, is devoted to pure black (negative space) which is unusual in photography, and highlights the subject even more.
Care had to be taken to have the man's body block out most of the light behind him to avoid too much glare.
There are two sets of devices in this photograph.
I was interested in capturing the 'action' and not able to analyze all the elements of a good photograph, but knew it would be good because I saw it in my viewfinder.
The stripes in the pants lend a snake-like appearance to the jumble of pants, foreground.
The pawing shoppers, looking for a bargain, are organized in an arc around the 'sale' table as they pic through these 'then-fashionable' trousers, and the two effects combine for an overall composition that is richer than the sum of the two devices used separately.
This is the best photo I ever could hope to take, and I knew it from the moment I pressed the shutter release, but failed miserably in color, taken with a 2-1/4 inch camera, same subject.
Reason: The balloons, actually balloons within balloons bearing Mickey Mouth figure balloons within a larger, outer balloon with a great big smile, contrast with his round-shaped head, also about the same size.
In color, however, these similarities were destroyed, as each balloon was a different color, and some were multi-colored, and he was dressed in drab clothes while the balloons were bright, so the color photos were decidedly unmemorable and/or competely forgettable.
Of course, his look tells everything: he's unhappy to be selling ballons -- what kid or parent would want to buy a 'happy balloon' from such a dejected man?
This is a photo about repetition through juxtaposition.
These three cupolas across distant (from each other) buildings on Columbia University's campus were brought together through foreshortening, using a moderate telephoto and a 2x tele-extender (doubler), stopped down to avoid vignetting. (Such lenses are mostly good in old time in strong lighting situations.
The progression, right foreground, left middle ground, center background, leads the eye through the photograph turning a simple subject into a more pleasing one than it may appear at first glance.
This is what rooftops, ancient walls and backyards of harborside Odessa, Ukraine look like from a bridge/overpass near harborside -- click through to see a Star of David etched on a wall, upper right.
Static ruins can make interesting photographic subjects, although a person on the distant balcony would have added greatly to the photograph's interest -- and imagine the force if it were two lovers kissing . . . or more . . . thinking themselves unseen!
Click through and view this photo 'large' and see the man in the rear-view mirror, his bearded head resting on his chin as he ponders the multiple menu choices at this McDonalds in southwestern Washington state, just north of the Columbia River junction near Longview early one morning at breakfast time.
Acting fire caption, Danny (last name unknown) crawled the hotel fire, rear, several times, walking into blazing rooms with his protecting gear surrounded by flame and rescuing residents.
As acting caption, he surveys and directs the efforts to cool the out-of-control flames which gutted the building (its superstructure was 'saved' at least economically, as the ground was worth a great deal of money).
Note that the 'subjects' 'fill' the frame, as does the fire and its glow, leaving no doubt that this is a major blaze.
At a large fire, firemen from a large area were brought in as local firemen fought the blaze to embers. These backup firemen were awaiting nervously their task of pulling apart smoldering walls, doors, rooms and hidden spaces to extinguish blaze leftovers and smoldering spots to ensure they didn't again erupt in flames.
The figure of the fireman, foreground, is repeated over and over in the line of seated firemen, rear. Repetition is a vital element of this photo, as well as selective depth of field, made necessary by nighttime avaiable light shooting and thus a large aperture.
A woman with an umbrella during a downpour says 'rain'.
A car, rear, throwing water off it, says rain and possible flooding as it was there that day in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
These three young military pilots fly the 'Warthog' anti-tank aircraft which flies log and slow, and is highly maneuverable for tankbusting warfare.
I think this photo has a Picasso-esque effect -- essentially three different views of the same figure, taken from three different angles, as each pilot is interchangeable with the others.
They are a demonstration team for airshows and as such are highly cleancut, equally handsome, each has th same build and generally look, and complementery charisma -- the 'best the US has to offer'
This also is a photo about repetition, but so subtle it may not be recognized.
The sun, bursting through the clouds, center top, forms the shape of a mountain 'peak' right above the main 'peak' of the Teton Mountains in Wyoming, Teton National Park.
This is a study in contrasts. These two stall vendors in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine seem to be having varying prosperity.
You can not swell what you do not have, and the woman, left, appears to have her 'stock' wiped out.
Sometimes juxtapositions can be side by side or other ways, and not always front to rear, or diagonally.
The scarves were wonderfully beautiful at this Hermes shop at Frankfurt International Airport Duty Free Shops, and the saleswoman sufficiently severe.
The task was to move about quickly as she moved about in the store to create a pleasing juxtaposition by framing her silhousette in front of one of the beautiful trademark/copyright scarves, properly showing her outline.
This is a classic 'juxtaposition' photograph, used to achieve an aesthetic end.
What may appear to be staged sexuality actually is two Ukrainian women, celebrating Valentine's at a get-acquainted party with American suitors - drawing (with marker pen in their mouths) a Valentine's heart on a 'pad' held by each man. (The man, right, is a genuine American cowboy who makes his home in the desert north of Reno, Nev., and who works also in Eastern California's high desert.
Repetition and joie de vivre (joy of living) dominates this photo of two irrepressible, after-school children just after their release from class).
A subtheme of 'feet' and lower legs might be warranted, as the boys' legs are caught in full stride, the piano player is caught with legs separated while playing, and symbolic figures, top, are cropped to display their 'running' characteristics.
There is a brief moment before most kisses where the kising couple 'targets' each other before the liplock' to ensure that a tactical advantge is had, as here.
This actually is a giant 'X' interrupted at night by cityside features in Strausberg,. France.
The young lovers on this mall, once a street, would mean little if they were cropped out of the photo as a whole instead of being shown in context of the shops and passersby in this night scene.
This sad-looking woman, probably beaten down by working at a job 6 or 7 days a week, 50 or more weeks a year (part-time), trys to sell original art at streetside sales in Kiev, Ukraine in an artist's district.
Sometimes the parts stand for and tell about the whole. Clowns are said to laugh on the outside and cry inside. Here the 'tears' actually are on the legs of the clown's pants, accounting for the title, although I truly didn't see them until after the photo was titled and posted.
Note: This is the beginnning of NEW ADDITIONS TO THIS PRESENTATION, BRINGING IT TO 327 PHOTOS, BEFORE SOME DELETIONS. IT IS AN ORGANIC PRESENTATION. SEE IF YOU CAN SUPPLY YOUR OWN COMMENTARY UNTIL I HAVE TIME TO WRITE MY OWN.
This unusual roof, Odessa, Ukraine, viewed from a nearby bridge, leads from foreground to background, and provides an unusual, interesting and somewhat geometric view into a part of of 'foreign' life that travelers seldom stumble across.
Interspersal of roof featurres helps draw the viewers' eyes from foreground to background aided by the reddish joint lines which tie together the structure elements, also foreground to background.
The 'subject' of this photo, 'Rosie' who asked her photo be taken, was surprised when, instead of being pressented with a 'head shot' she was shown in context of the bar she was in and all its patrons, including the man next to her, schmoozing with the patron next to him, although out of focus.
Her radiant smile and sparkling eyes, neverthless dominate the photo, but the happy custoomers embibing in front and in back of her along a curbed bar (accented by an 'exit' sign overhead give this photo a strong 'environmental' touch.
This much older photo, showing a slum in the bed of the Tijuana River which later flooded killing hundreds, shows the ramshackle construction, but a (then) late-model car's front just sticking into the photo, for time context.
The slanted leg of the bored looking child at the doorway atop the rudimentary wooden steps (railless) is echoed in the akimbo building foundation, which also leans, lower front and left, for an unusual mirroring. This photo has drawn an unexpected number of viewers. Mexican Federales threatened this photographer with arrest for taking it, but threat of an international incident over their threats averted the arrest and backed them off.
This photo, taken in color and converted to Black and White, is about triangle shapes and mirroring.
The triangular spotlight which focuses on Bobby Darin's character played is echoed or mirrored by the shape of the midnight movie goer sitting underneath, whose body shape also is a triangle, but interestingly a reverse triangle -- for a different sort of 'mirroring' -- a split reversal.
Geometric forms sometimes add great weight to otherwise ordinary photographs. Here, I waited for 30-45 minutes until these two concrete washers in their booms not only placed them in a fortunate juxtaposition, but the workers reached out in an identical fashion.
Here, the building forms a sort of canvas on which the workers are forming their art, or as a form of lightness against which they are semi-silhouetted -- a necessary element to the success of this photograph.
A plastic-wrapped woman, otherwise nude is odd enough, and with a clock with two hands, off-center both hands hanging down, is definitely 'odd'.
This 'oddness' is placed in perspective when one realizes it is taken in a 'thrift shop' or 'junk shop' by looking at the array of 'vintage' articles behind her (although it stil doesn't explain why she's wrapped in plastic, or why she's smiling and the clock is frowning -- questions you'll have to answer for yourself.
Bobby Kennedy was a hero to Puerto Rican Americans in New York's Spanish Harlem and Sirhan-Sirhan had just assassinated him in Los Angeles.
This is the scene during an outdoor neighborhood funeral process in New York's Spanish Harlem, with a sign that says 'El Corazon Barrio' (Heart of the Barrio -- Spanish Neighborhood, where Bobby and his assassinated brother Jack Kennedy, also shown on this cross, were idolized.
Buildings and fire escapes with sky, place this unusual, makeshift cross and outstretched hands outside on the street. (Published New York Times)
This is a photo about a 'jetty' and its relationship to fishermen and water. It also is a photo about strong lines and composition, with a man and his son as 'accents' in what appears at the distance.
At the mouth of the former Salinas river, Moss Landing, CA., this jetty is composed of giant boulders and a concrete pathway for fishermen to get to the end, together with a navigation light and horn array.
Gray predominates, just as the Central California Coast so often is 'socked in' by fot in late spring and summer months, aided by weather flowing over cool Pacific waters.
This nighttime photo of firefighters at work with a giant extension ladder shows them pouring water on flames by remote control.
Notice placement of figures in foreground, followed by filling the middle and distance with subject also, causing the viewers' eyes to survey and linger over this photo.
This is a second photo, similar in content to the one above, but with stronger action, and more intensive flames.
Here, the fireman can be seen directing the remote control ladder and nozzle over the flames of the building roof which is fully engulfed and the figures -- fireman, latter and building form a sort of triangle.
The Germans delight in small, classy touches -- here a tea creamer and sugar and a succulent on the window sill of a hotel dining room, second floor.
The photo has context by including the outside, with its view of a typical north German building, a bar, and an advertisement for a 'name' German beer.
A stylish woman in attractive garb, sitting inspecting her hands, suggests she has 'time on her hands' and indeed she does, but why?
Including the railroad tracks, background, gives a vital clue, so the photo can stand alone.
Photographic great Elliott Erwitt spent much of his professional career watching and capturing people's hands -- he believed they were tell-tale indicators of people's minds.
A portrait of a locomotive engineer, especially one out of traditional uniform has little merit, unless he's seen in relation to the mass of his giant locomotive.
It is not necessary to show the entire locomotive, as one can show only a portion, and its relationship to the engineer, as here, to get a sense of the enormous scale of such an 'engine'.
Budapest's Keleti (international) train station.
Portraying this man, a little 'stiff' from imbibing would have been little problem, but portraying him in relationship to both tables allowed a chance to portray him as he was, simply 'frozen' into his pose, as he had been even before spied by the photographer. (One is a table, the other the menu, printing on each desaturated slightly to allow them to 'mirror' each other.)
Here, the subject, a portrait of Madonna on the top of an umbrella, is hidden behind a second, much larger and rainsoaked umbrella, Kiev, Ukraine.
This is one of several instances in which the viewer's eye is directed to the background subject by the presence of a nondistinct (sometimes out of focus) foreground object). Here the foreground umbrrella 'mirrors' the more distant background umbrella.
This is a photo about 'positive' and 'negative' space, in a photographic sense.
Photographically, negative space is 'empty' and often 'black' space, as appears behind this unfortunate man in front of a large, medievel church in Munchen (Munich) Germany.
The church structure, left, is an example of positive space, and represents something 'positive' in life. This man, right, sits in a bisected area, but he has chosen not only a step to sit on, but one in which he is shrouded by darkness or 'negative space' -- perhaps symbolically representing his plight in life.
This is a photo with two aspects to its 'subject'. This 'subject' here is 'old age' and SRO (single room occupancy) hotels, in which the aged lived in San Francisco (and still do).
The sign in the window is the main indicator of the 'subject', advertising what the photo is 'about'.
Looking into the photo, one views a row of older men, lined up in chairs against a wall, whiling their time, experiencing certain boredom and awaiting more certain death, as they gather in the lobby. (Window reflections reveal an urban theatre across the street -- but not the photographer, interestingly)
This is a photo about two men in an environment unique to San Francisco, whose steep hills cause sidewalks to have steps placed in them.
The two men, one lighting a cigarette for another, are placed off center, and are seated on a step of the sidewalk. Without more, this would be a rather empty photo.
However, the wall next to them contains a rather interesting graffito, and the photo extends past the end of the wall to the intersection with the next sidewalk and reveals the building front as well -- thus balancing the photo -- and filling in compositional space that otherwise would be 'blank'.
It may not be immediately apparent, but this uncritiqued photo is a large triangle, formed by the breakwater, left, and the bridge, top.
Triangles are dynamic figures and lend dynamism to otherwise static scenes, and whenever a photographer, seeking to create dynamism in a photo, can incorporate a strong diagonal (as here) and create a triangle in the composition, as here, the composition becomes stronger.
This also is a photo about the vanishing point, with subjects placed at the start of the line which leads down the vanishing point -- out of sight -- right, with 'mirroring' of other lovers and fishermen spread out down the breakwater/fence.
This might work equally well or better as a black and white composition.
The anxiety of traveling is amplified among the tobacco-addicted.
Here, at Vienna's Strauss airport, two travelers suck in big drags (while their daughter watches) before boarding an international flight while seated in a 'smoking' restaurant. (such restaurants now mostly have been outlawed, but this photo is only two years old at this writing.)
The parking meter, foreground has a red flag up, indicating that metered space is 'expired' -- an apt symbol also for the man, whose hand is draped over the meter, and somewhat in the background.
The draped hand and arm tie the foreground expired meter to the the man, a homeless man (bum), whose time in life and whose purpose also symbolically (and maybe actually) are 'expired' or near expiration -- thus the arm ties the near foreground with the near background and relates the 'expired' elements together -- man and meter.
This is a photo in which the background serves two purposes.
As above, the young woman is seated at the apex of the line which leads to the 'vanishing point' -- the line of the counter, if extended, would continue on to a vanishing point.
Moreover, the young woman is seated to the side of the center of the frame and thus offset to the left, creating imbalance, while the counter continues to draw the eye to the rear of the restaurant.
At a separate level, this is an environmental photograph, the young waitress on break, seated with her meal at the counter nearest the front, with the entire kitchen visible in the background, chef working away under kitchen and restaurant lights.
Of course, her expression is the major subject of this photo, but here it does NOT occur in a vacuum.
This is the second photo on the same theme -- expiration of the parking meter, foreground and a 'used-up' figure (literally 'expired' or 'expiring') in the near background, all with a different view.
This popular photograph taken with a very wide angle lens is a portrait of young Celeste AND her book, and because it's or both of them, the eye must travel between the two subjects.
At the same time, this also is an environmental photo. Celeste is atop a barber chair in a barber shop, with barber/beauty shop apparatus and accoutrements in the background, so when one looks at the red chair on which she is leaning, one realizes it is not an ordinary chair and looks to the background for confiramtion, it's a 'hair salon' -- for a surprisingly popular and complex portrait.
The man and the woman, more foreground, are on one plane, and the man's posture is most interesting.
They are superimposed over interesting wall graphics on the side of a San Francisco bar, with one part illustrating a picture throwing a ball, much as a male 'pitches' to a female a 'line', and its bar context is clear from the neon beer signs in the widow behind the woman.
This boy and girl, shown fighting in another photo, are all hugs in this photo, holding each other tight so they don't fall off this narrow bookstore stool.
Their twin figures contrast against the texture of the background, which forms an intersection behind them, of the books on bookshelves, filled with books with interesting titles.
Affection often is expressed in private, although women seeking 'Matches' sometimes advertise for men who aren't afraid of 'public displays of affection'.
Apparently, based on the background -- a side street while standing on a curb, this man truly believes in public displays of affection for his dog, which he cinched up from the hind quarters for a huge hug as he waited for a light to change. (Wags refer to this photo as one in which the man is *having sex with his dog* which patently is untrue -- he clearly was showing affection for his pooch and nothing more -- nothing sexual was observed ;~))
Color is the theme of this photograph, as well as interesting 'wall art'.
This open-mouthed mannequin which enjoyed popularity from Thailand to Israel to the U.S., shows up here in San Francisco's famed 'North Beach' in a shop, covered with red and juxtaposed against a very colorful background.
In general, this is what a winter snowstorm that has passed over California's Sierra Mountains where the moisture has been sucked out of it, appears at it crosses the Nevada high desert in Northern Nevada.
Here, foreground, is sagebrush high desert, and in the background, are the Virginia Mountains (of Bonanza and Virginia City fame) rising thousands of feet into the sky, framed by storm clouds and one 'lenticular' cloud -- a rare cloud of compression which takes on a circular shape.
Separation of Church and State is promised (in governmental action at least) in the U.S. Constitution, but has been a subject of controversy by the religious and those who would keep politics and religion separate -- almost from the start.
Here an Episcopal Church in San Francisco, in 1969, shows both the cross and the American flag (perhaps an anti-hippy protest)
In between is an alarm bell -- perhaps an apt symbol for those would usurp that separateness.
One of several Paris Metro photos in this presentation, this woman, clad in dark clothes which show black here, is framed here beneath the Metro stop's name -- Chatelet. Two signs, one in black on white and the other in white on black, indicate her direction of travel (see right).
Symmetry can be an important element in composition.
Here three farm workers (two erect framing a bent center one) tend newly-planted strawberry fields near Watsonvile, California -- the new plants covered by sheltering plastic, which occupies a big place in such American agriculture.
This photo was taken in winter months, as strawberries are planted in the fall for early Spring picking.
This is a photo of symmetry, assymetry and composition.
If relative size indicates society's values about the relative importance of pretty young women versus women of 'a certain age' this photo is an accurate depiction of that, with the young (poster) woman being presented much larger than her older cohort.
Yet, despite the seeming dissimilarity of size, there is composition (a rising line from lower left to upper right for a diagonal) as well as symmetry between the two women -- both red hair dressed in almost identically colored garments.
This is an unlikely trio.
The two celebrating men in the background are from a poster advertising the movie 'Ole' starring Girard Depardieu (right) and Gad Elmaleh (center).
The leftmost of the trio, the baldheaded man, happened to be waiting for a Parisian bus -- one can imagine that he's going home to a wife who is not satisifed with his 'station' in life, and even that he lacks the pizazz of the figures behind him, as he trudges through the routines of everyday life.
This photo, featuring 'three' and 'one' shows a young man, beer in hand, reacting to a 'joke' from his compatriots.
Wall graffito behind was carefully placed within the frame to bridge the separation between the young men (and to ensure that it was not cut off which might have made the scene incomplete.)
This is a photo with a story and 'mirroring'.
The woman's shirt reads 'Heartbreaker' and that's just the point of this photo. The man, with seeing eye dog, has no conception there's a photo of a pretty girl to his right, as the dog can only guide his physical body -- and he is sightless.
The mirroring occurs in the colors of this photo. The woman is clas in white, yellow and blue. The train, which passes in a blur, also is white, yellow and blue.
The essence of this photograph is in 'mirroring' -- here between the horn player in the statute, rearward, and gthe man with the water bottle held to his mouth, in the foreground.
This is a photo about perspective -- here about 'unusual' perspective that is created when a wide angle camera is held low and pointed up.
Here, a man who collects license plates from many places, is shown with his collection posted on the wall of a shack in Virginia City, Nevada.
Note the the strong perspective forced by the wide angle lens makes the license lates, foreground, appear to be much larger than those just a little farther away.
This also is a photo about lines -- especially the strong diagonal caused by framing the man so his arm and short folds bisect the photo -- giving it a dynamic appearance.
This is a photo of a Chines sous chef -- an assistant chef in a famous Chinese restaurant.
The photo's appeal is increased by the play of interesting colored lights on the stainless steel backdrop to the kitchen cooking surfaces. San Francisco, California.
This is a photo of 'threes'.
Two backpackers on a Parisian street are in the background -- an elderly Parisian with 'stick' in the foreground.
Each goes a separate way. Question: Is there a correct way, and does this photo raise questions about the gap between the ages?
Alternative transport has arrived: this younger man rides a scooter down a Parisian street to work.
Background signs advertise 'transport' and 'energie' suggesting a theme for the photo.
This wide-angle photo, taken at an antique railroad restoration yard and museum at Virginia City, Nevada, features in the foreground at one angle, the rear of a caboose -- at onne time the required coach at the end of every train and which held the train crew.
In what seems to be far distance, an apparance magnified by the wide angle lens, at an intersecting angle, is an old-time passenger coach with a contrasting, dark color, a rusted boiler paralleling it at its side, all filling the frame. The emergency caboose brake is silhouetted agains the sky, also in the background, as is part of the caboose roof overhang.
This is a silhouette photo, featuring a church tower somewhere alongside the Seine's right bank in Paris, taken from a moving taxi.
Silhouette photos depend on background light and need not have more, but in this instance, the background light not only is luminous, it emanates from a series of overlapping clouds from which rays of sunlight shing toward treetops and the City of Light, with birds precisely placed for a most interesting accent.
The 'theme' of this photo is the 'vanishing point'.
The 'subject' is partly the man, left, who is on a moving walkway similar to an escalator at a popular train/metro intersection in Paris, but more precisely it is the interplay between the man and the foreground/background -- the eye travels from the foreground, around the wall graphics, and eventually down the tunnel following the man's path.
This is a variation on use of the 'vanishing point' in photography. One may place a subject at the apex of the vanishing point in the distance, or in the foreground in front of the vanishing point; here, unusually a male figure (minor subject) is placed to the left of the vanishing point, and the foreground merging to the background vanishing point becomes the composition of the photo.
This photograph, taken atop the Virginia Mountains of Nevada, a short distance from the pioneering mining town of Virginia City (home of the Cartwright Brothers of 'Bonanza' TV fame), employs the device of mirroring.
The 'mirroring' here, however, is not precise 'mirroring', and is not exact repetition, but is a theme: the rounded shape and 'softness' of the windblown (and long exposure) sagebrush in the foreground, is 'echoed' by the shapes of the 'lenticular' clouds in the sky, a cloud formation found primarily over mountains when fast moving air layers get 'squeezed' as they pass over the mountains.
So-called 'hostesses' a one of Bangkok's Pat Pong Night Market notious bars are modestly dressed -- but the statues, left, with their devilish figures tell a more true-to-life story of what lies within (or so I am told -- I did not go inside). Such 'bars' go far beyond mere 'striptease, are notorious in Thailand, and are immortalized in the famous song 'One Night in Bangkok'.
Here the foreground lines and textures of the boat brace and pad are in contrast to the sculpted bottom of a recently mechanically cleaned hull of a metal fishing boat.
A dog sticking his head out of a car window hardly would appear 'photo worthy' except when one considers placing it in context of not only the car, the driver (see rear view mirror) and the traffic ahead, left.
These three 'obese' Mexican children represent a very real problem for immigrants' children from that southerly nation -- denying their 'wants' is seen as somehow 'wrong' especially 'food', even the most fattening food, and the result is helping boost the nation's obesity problem with resulting onset of childhood (adult onset) diabetes(weight related).
Notice how telephoto 'foreshortening' has caused these three kids to appear to be one physical structure -- in this case a pyramid. Although one member suggested this would make a good black and white photo, it 'failed' because the topmost child is dressed in black against a black background.
I am told (without verification of authentication, but from a reliable source), that this man was a minor hoodlum who offended Bangkok's organized criminals.
As punishment, they caused his leg to be amputated and daily they drop him off in a main tourist section, to crawl back and forth, begging, then pick him up at evening's end.
This photo was far too 'happy' as a color rendering, so it was 'desaturated' using 'channel mixer' in Photoshop. Notice the strong diagonal, upper left to lower right, the blurred feet of the pedestrians passing by, and the abundance of the sidewalk vendor. (He travels in a very slow time of his own - in fact a world of his own -- trapped forever, it appears, in a way that would surprise those stepping around him.)
'Street' portrait subjects often merely 'tolerate' the camera and make no special concessions.
Here, as I tried to frame the front smoker, I was forced to move my body sideways any number of ways (making my subject wonder 'what's taking you so long?), as I waited for his companion not only to 'light up', but also to take an enormous drag on his MJ cigarette, background.
A 'double portrait' often can be far more interesting than a single one.
This 'tram' of several cars had long passed, I had spotted the kid on its rear, reached for the camera, adjusted the telephoto, zoomed in on him, then re-adjusted the zoom to a 'larger' view to make the capture contextual -- to show the child within the enormity of his circumstances -- tram, wires and buildings in background.
A salmon fisherman on America's West coast -- certainly a dying breed -- looks Westward toward the setting sun.
His beard and the appearance of fishing paraphernalia (radar done and lifeboat) in the background, give this enough of a nautical/fishing flavor, that this 'portrait' becomes contextual, and he becomes 'the last of the fishermen'.
Out-of-focus bushes on a median strip of Van Ness Avenue serve to 'focus' the viewers' interest on the subjects of this photo, which one viewer -- trying to compliment, but unable to find the words, called 'poetry' in an image.
This photo exists as the result of juxtaposing all the elements -- none of which alone would have been 'worthy' of a photo, but together in some inexplicable way somehow are 'appealing'.
Pizza Peppers and Parmasan Cheese in shakers on a wrought iron table surrounded by a wrought iron fence make a casually 'interesting' composition.
Add a pair of legs walking by, and it becomes somewhat more interesting.
Some critics urged me to 'enhance the contrast' but that was the last thing called for in this photograph about 'fog', Odessa Harbor, Ukraine.
Notice how the ferry and tug are placed in the upper right quadrant of this photo and the seagull connects the top two quadrants. The fogginess tells the story -- the ferry is literally disappearing into the distant cold over the Black Sea (Chernoye More).
This is a 'street scene' -- a photo depicting a stormy night scene outside Santa Cruz, California's 'bar where one goes to do serious drinking' - the 'Red Room' which has a long and famous history, beginning as the 'Santa Cruz Hotel Dining Room (no known hotel, however). Notice how the eye leads from the fallen-over bicycle, foreground, through the garrulous students at the door and even into the bar.
A melange of colors and a black man bending over, a white man bending over the opposite direction in the poster behind him, are the subjects of this minor photo, Park Avenue, New York City.
Although these militant black students at San Francisco State University who were protesting some forgotten cause around 1969 were marching toward me, I caught them as a 'group', and the photo survives as a group photo, almost as though posed.
Their looks dislay the enmity they, as blacks, tried to display toward a white photographer, me, a 'honky' (to use a term borrowed from I think author Tom Wolfe).
A planter box coupled wth a building wall, create a zig-zag on which this working man sits for a 'minor composition' in my representation of just one day in Spring. Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.
A man sleeping on a sidewalk is not of great interest -- there are far too many in San Francisco and they're a 'public nuisance'.
However, this slash of light paint on the 'rose' wall, leads directly to his foot for an element of 'style' for this otherwise mundane photo, giving it an aesthetic touch.
In a post-911 World where patriotism and oil seem to mix, one refinery has placed a semi-permanent US flag on its refining apparatus.
In view of claims by some that Big Oil somehow unduly influences US policy, this photo takes on an eery double meaning, surely unintended by the erectors of this giant flag.
Retail: The ideal and the reality is the caption of this photo and for good reason. The man's cheap attire contrasts with the poster model's expensive and insouciant dress.
Another device in this photo is that of mirroring -- his hand as it is placed from his knee to his chin mirrors that of the left hand/arm of the model behind him -- a common element which ties them together. That is an element that might be 'seen' but not consciously by the viewer unless pointed out.
Stunningly beautiful dancer Sasha (Alexandera) was hired before Eastern Orthodox Christmas to dance in the window of Odessa, Ukraine's gift store, VerMeer, complete with theatre lighting.
She hadn't counted on this Russian alcoholic, probably off a ship in the nearby harbor, celebrating her dance with a mocking dance of his own, a bottle of alcohol in his left hand.
Hotly-contested elections in Ukraine's mid-term election attracted 25 political parties including the People's Patriotic Party, which placed this poster near the train station/central bazaar of Odessa, Ukraine.
The cell phone user, left, wanted to avoid being photographed, and instead became an 'accent' who added compositoinal interest and scale to this photograph.
Curves are the subject of this minor photo, taken in Nevada's Virginia Mountains high over the Washoe Valley in which Reno is situated. Home of the famous Virginia City, railroads such as this hauled supplies to mines and minors in the 1800s and continued through probably the 1950s until they were phased on and went into disrepair.
Note the continuation of the curve of the abandonned train wheels, right corner, with the curve in the train tracks, upper left and rear, partially out of focus.
This photo, taken in the Paris Metro, was taken at a slow shutter speed, which explains the 'blur' on the part of all other viewers than the man.
A puckish sense of humor suggests that if the male viewer is looking at the underwear-clad model in the advertisement, rear, and instead finds that the shaven-headed male, center bottom, continually is staring back instead, that the viewer should examine his own sexuality.<,p>
This is another example of a photo that is 'made' by placing placing two 'subjects' in juxtaposition, where neither alone would be worthy.
This not so highly rated but heavily viewed photograph shows the innate nature of the male of the species.
He and his wife were walking together and talking, within inches of me, and I was carrying an ultra-wide angle lens. I stopped down for widest depth of field and when she turned left, and he looked at the photo model on the billboard, distant, I snapped the shutter. This photo has been very popular with viewers, I think, because if reflects a powerful truth.
An exhibition of radiographs (x-rays) of fish, blown up adorned the walls of an airport terminal.
I saw a woman approaching down a pathway with an electric-powered walkway and framed the two together: the result -- a look and comment on 'Evolution' -- a photograph of subject and background where neither alone was a worthy subject and together they became worthy.
This young women in Ukraine is celebrating the International Day of Women with her cigarette, a relatively new addition to the 'fashion' accessories of Ukraine women -- thanks largely to American and British tobacco advertising.
Her boyfriend, who is selling heart-shaped balloons for the widely-celebrated holiday at the city square, peeks over his balloons for a look, a 'hot dog' stand behind him ('hot dog' written in the Cryllic alphabet, common to Eastern Europe).
I was drawn to the inner courtyard of this ramshackle, but downtown apartment courtyard in Odessa, Ukraine, because of the interesting but rundown paint/plaster and its relationship to the paint on the window frames and the interesting curtains
Just as I raised my camera, a woman, who had observed me, at near noon, wearing her housecoat, swung open a lace curtain to observe me, making what was to have been an architecture/abstract photo into a people shot.
I took one test frame of this Moscow kiosk seller in a giant exhibition park, showed her in relationship to the poster behind her, she smiled at the juxtaposition, then I took another 38 shots, as she went about her work before I finally got this shot and moved on.
This kind subject, very distant from me and shot with a long telephoto, quickly saw the relationship of her to the young, beautiful model on the even more distant and out of focus poster, and liked the photo. Considerable work went into making this a 'composition' and not just a juxtaposition, with a strong diagonal dominating this capture.
Sometimes in composition it helps to make use of geometric forms that are in, on or around a subject.
Here, a flower seller, bundled agains the cold, is framed by building stones in front of a downtown building in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. Note the symmetry of her placement with relationship to the stonework -- all intentionally framed.
In the moment it took to frame and squeeze the shutter, this woman was a mysterious blur, and an interesting one.
A customer appears to 'step back' as the barber takes the 'bib' and sweeps the hair out of the barber chair.
Here, the entire scene, from the foreground barber, in semi-silhouette, customer, the window with its signs, and even the traffic and gas station merge across the planes of the photo to create the composition.
The photographer, left, is the 'subject' -- at least one of the subjects -- of this scenic photographic of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah.
Here the photographer's tripod foot is within an inch or so of the canyon's edge, and he is in danger of a misstep's sending him tumbling hundreds of feet to a certain death.
The photographer, canyon and dramatic sky all are a combined series of subjects in this 'fisheye' landscape.
This giant mural adorns a wall in Hollywood, California. I was focusing on it, waiting for possible 'opportunities' regarding passersby, when this kid with skateboard not only came scooting by, but the front of his skateboard hung up on the edge of a sidewalk elevator/steel door to a basement, throwing him off balance, right in front of Marilyn Monroe.
I couldn't have planned it better.
This is a full-frame capture, after some slight 'rotation' to account for unwanted camera tilt.
One portrait of a man, cast aglow by an airport departure board, is a simple portrait -- juxtaposing him with a second face, background, adds dimension to this photograph.
These steps, with the foreground woman in isolation, represented 'loneliness'.
Now, with a man seated behind her and to her side, as she looks off forlornly, this photograph symbolizes 'loneliness -- with hope.'
This 'noir' (taken from 'film noir' or 'dark film -- literally 'black film') photo shows an elderly and disabled man passing in front of an all-night Ukrainian casino in a large Ukrainian city. Note the joyful illustrations on the casino windows and the guard/doorman, front.
A down and out man may or may not make a telling photograph.
When the sidelight hits him from above and behind, and he is framed more in the background by the young woman's legs as she steps down these Metro steps in Kiev, Ukraine, the story becomes more universal.
One reason for his particular way of laying down is that it was outrageously hot and he was cooling himself on the concrete steps (even though he may, indeed, have been drunk).
He has not abandoned hope or survival instincts -- his begging cup still points upward even as he sleeps or is passed out.
This photo features 'mirroring' again -- this time in the clasped hands of the father, foreground, seeing his family off on a train trip to 'Yalta' on Ukraine's black sea. His clasped hands are echoed in his son's crossed hand/forearms in the train window.
The forced perspective of the train, heading into the night at a train station suggests that this is not just a photo of a train, but that this family pair are headed for separation as soon as the train pulls out of the station.
The extravagant and bizarre expression of the youth, foreground, offering his camera-phone and asking for a photo, is mirrored in the equally amused (and amusing) looks at the youth behind him.
What are the odds?
If you find one homeless man huddled against winter cold, chances may be likely you'll find another.
But what is the likelihood they'll practically 'mirror' each other and also that they'll be perched end to end symmetrically on a bench below a sign identifying a Paris Metro station?
Altogether, this is not just a photo about homelessness but also about symmetry in composition.
This is a story of five hands, as well as another story.
The first hand is to the face of the young woman, foreground. The two hunchback women, backgrond, each show a hand (or hands), while from off frame, background left, stretches yet another hand, this time a charitable offering being received by the leftmost hunchback woman.
A man seated eating lunch did not realize that the wall graphic next to and well behind him showed a youth at play.
Together, the juxtaposition suggests that this serious-looking or just bored man, is having his thoughts elsewhere -- as illustrated by the background boy.
This is another 'classic' juxtaposition: An older woman stares intently while a billboard behind, showing two young women, appear to be amused -- even mocking.
This bizarre scene: A Japanese man in suit with traditional headgarb of a Samurai, together with a televised DVD presentation of a woman masturbating, is revealed when one looks into the background and realizes this is a 'porn' trade show.
The subject of this photo is not just the man passed out (or dead) on the side of this fountain, but the trail of liquid passing from his body to the foreground, all shown as a diagonal to give 'life' to the composition of this otherwise stagnant photo.
The main subject of this photo at first seems to be this disabled black man, until one peruses the sign behind him, advertising the 'Oasis Motel' with 'Rooms from $28' - an absurdly low price, which probaly bespeaks poor quality rooms.
For further irony, for this photo taken on the 'glitzy' Las Vegas Strip, the motel features' 'Jacuzzi Fantasy Rooms, and 'Wedding Chapel' for a true, authentic Las Vegas 'experience'.
The main poster, taken from the Paris Metro (aboveground), shows a woman photographing herself, hands to her right eye.
In a classic case of 'mirroring' or repetition, the woman, (at first hardly noticed) foreground, also is touching her eye, working on inserting a contact lense, also in her right eye.
Taking photos like this is far more than 'coincidence' or 'good luck'.
This photo - the epitome of juxtapositions, shows a 'porn' worker at a 'porn' convention showing mild hostility after a noon-time repast, while in the background a High Defifition Television displays the wares his company is selling -- with great explicitness.
The real comment here is that all moral judgments aside: 'Porn is Business'.
To each his (or her) own.
The foreground woman, bound and suspended, was part of a 'fetish' demonstration at a Las Vegas pornography convention.
That her plight is deliberate and 'fun' is echoed by the look on her face as well as the woman, background, being similarly bound.
This photo illustrates that not all sexual 'perversions' are unhappy things in the view of some participants and calls into the question how much the viewpoint that most sexuality 'objectifies woman' is necessarily repugnant to the women being objectified. (No final view is expressed by the photographer -- this only illustrates the question.)
A man in a pig's head walking on stilts might be an interesting photograph, but waiting until he walked in cadence with the woman in front of him, made a more 'original' photo.
Note that the four sets of legs -- walkingn woman and 'pig walker' are interspersed with the legs of those on the park benches for added symmetry.
This is just one of several scenes after this man, who is totally covered with tattoos, shed his shirt and stood obligingly by as a flood of passersby viewed him.
The man, left center, was one of a number who looked askance at this particular man and his unique adornment.
The workmen with ladders were seen approaching, but rather than just show men with ladders, I rushed back and waited until they came into view again, this time to portray them (and their ladders' rungs) as a continuation of the vertical lines of the iron fence surrounding this lush garden in Paris.
This window dresser at the famed 'Dolce & Gabanna store in Paris, was at first unamused by having his photo taken.
Later, when shown this photo of himself with his hands on trousers and in the crotch of this mannequin, he showed a big smile. Clothing racks, rear, place this photo within context.
There are four figures in this unlikely photo; (1) the white-clad man, left, looking left; (2) the security guard, left, looking right, (3) a third man, rear, looking left again, and (4) the porn star gyrating atop a table in her stripper ensemble (g-striong and bra or pasties.)
This is a study in anomie, as well as separateness. All photo viewers' eyes first may be on the 'stripper/porn star' while in the photo, no eyes are on her at all.
This photo, repeated below in black and white, shows three different viewpoints on what it means to be 'stuck' in Las Vegas's huge McCarran International Airpot in the late night/early morning hours.
Further analysis below in the black and white version.
Two neighborhood women, foreground and background, frame this interesting wall mural in Los Angeles's South Central District -- on Vermont Street.
The signs in this photo may have special meaning in explaining the type of district this is.
The market day drawing to an end, these three womenj adopt different position, foreground to background, in this wide angle photo of an outdoor market near Kiev, Ukraine.
Of added interest is the man's hand, from off frame left, offering what appears to be money to at least one of these women.
The center-most woman appears amused by her conversation with someone off camera.
This photo require work to 'understant' -- as it is partially an 'intellectual' exercise.
The background trio on the billboard appear to be the subject.
On closer examination, it is clear there are two additional figures: the illustration on the bus stop shelter, bottom left, and above that, barely visible without blowing up the photo -- the 'pedestrian walk' sign, illustrated by a cartoon figure of a man walking (in white).
It takes patience to analyze and understand such a photo; this photo and any in this exhibition may be viewed 'large' by clicking on the photo to be taken to the original posting on Photo.net together with accompanying comments and ratings.
Some who saw this photograph suggested it would be better just to crop it to the little boy atop the coupler.
That advice was rejected, as it was seen important to present this non-fare-paying young man within the totality of the scene -- the boy, streetcar, the utility lines overhead which provide power, and even the distant apartment and commercial buildings.
This salmon actually is a 'mockup' being drawn by a trailer behind this 'motor home'.
However, the juxtaposition of the two, plus some judicious cropping (in the camera) make it appear as though the salmon is about to devour the motor home it is chasing, for a most surreal look.
The doldrums of a hot July day engulf a large square with fountain of a large Ukrainian City.
Here, two young men in silhouette, engage in a mock fight as part of their tomfoolery in front of this central fountain.
Model Nina, foreground appears to be the subject of this photo taken after midnight in a restaurant in Kiev, Ukraine.
However, the real center of attraction is the model, rear, and her boyfriend, aggressively making out in this plush restaurant.
A photo of a seated man, his derrier raised and possibly passing gas, would have little real photographic interest.
Place the same man in front of a poster featuring a comedian (replicated in Photoshop and 'dressed' in Photoshop in different hair and facial styles), all symmetrically placed, makes a most interesting composition.
This photo has two centers of interest and both are tied together.
The sleeping man with (mostly) white shirt, foreground, is the first center of interest. Then the eye moves toward the trio of black-clad young men in the upper right.
All are tied together by the curbline here, which all appear to be touching (or near so).
This photo of 'three' tango dancers is presented in color to show off the historical colors of 'La Caminita' section of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where workers once painted ships, then threw leftover paint on their own shanties.
Here, the colors which are the basis on this district's historic interest, form a backdrop for these street tango dancers.
There is obvious 'strength' in using the 'word' 'fcuk' as an advertising device, as it catches the eye.
This window display of mannequins and posters of young women, fashionably dressed forms an interesting backdrop at 2:00 a.m. for this wheelchair bound man, who has brought his 'midnight supper' to eat along San Francisco's fashionable Powell Street in the brightness of this showroom window, for an interesting juxtaposition and comment on life's disparities.
Police are to keep order.
Rock performers illustrate just the opposite with their free-wheeling antics.
Here, the two (the cop as concert guard) and the jumping rock performer are placed in juxtaposition.
A rock concert with concert lighting sweeping the sky and illustrating the gaiety of a midsummer's night celebration takes up the background of this scene.
The foreground shows a man whose bare legs show that they are the legs of a crippled person, laying and perhaps passed out on the side of a civic fountain -- his harvest of returnable beer bottles at his side, for an interesting and 'forelorn' comment on life and its frailities and disparities.
This 'surreal' photo shows an American man 'seated' in a lounger in front of a background of nude or nearly nude 'full-figured mannequins, which are meant to be used and/or sold to stores featuring sexually-explicit merchandise.
Alone, neither makes a satisfactory photograph, but together, they make not only an interesting (and surreal) photo, but a comment on the presence of sexuality and (yes) pornography in our society.
This is a wide angle portrait of a young Hispanic girl.
It takes on additional interest by placing her under an umbrella used as a sunshade and with a background of items from a so-called 'garage' sale.
This is another photo in which 'mirroring' is used with a clever twist -- actually there are two sets of 'mirroring' in this photo.
The first is the repetition of faces -- here -- characters in the foreground left, and 'caricatures' as shown at this caricaturist's artist's opening exhibition.
Additionally, the foreground figures are seated at a right angle to one another and that right angle is repeated in the 'L' shape of wall on which the artist's work is hung.
This is a photo in which neither subject alone was worth a glance.
But together, this seated woman, clad in red and black, seems ideally suited for this advertisement for "Korrespondent' Magazine, also made of red and black. White also is present in the foreground woman (legs) and the background poster, and she is seated on what seems to be a black bench.
These stairs do not stretch infinitely as the photo suggests - any adult could not be captured within this scene.
Along came a small girl and began running up these steps, and her fleeting figure made just the right composition - here a break in the symmetry of sets of parallel lines.
The word 'classic' is the background of the male mannequin's photo in the window -- seeming very debonair and his hand swinging as he apparently walks.
Also a man passes, more foreground, his body in essentially the same position at the mannequin's poster he passes.
The foreground man and the background poster man together form a 'composition'.
A businessman at the annual Las Vegas 'porn extravaganza' and convention pictured alone with his briefcase and cell phone would have little meaning.
Pictured against a backdrop of beautiful 'porn' stars on a semi-transparent montage at the extravaganza's entrance, the photo takes on additional meaning.
This is a study in mirroring, but with a 'reverse twist'. Here the eye is first drawn to the advertising figure -- a beautiful woman wearing glasses.
Next, the viewer spies the saleswoman, also wearing glasses and quite more plain looking, staring out of the photo's frame into the opposite direction, but an interestig comment on 'advertising' vs. 'reality'.
The foreground man is partly a puzzle: he is seated against a concrete wall with puzzling shelves, clad in shorts/swimming suit and shoes only.
The surreallness of this photo is emphasized by showing that is in in a large expanse, illustrated by showing the entire wall, as well as two dogs, background, also against the wall.
As one viewer noted: this is a photo about 'heat'.
This is a scene in which a probably unnoticed diagonal dominates the composition. The drunk man, left, is repeated in the drunk man more background and the composition is completed by the three figures, seated, who seem not to care at all.
The sign, in Cryllic letters, and in Russian/Ukrainian, says 'goes good together' a reference to a beverage (Coke) and other things, but which appears to apply to the two passed out men.
This male 'bowler' with strong arms and vigorous stride is shown walking past -- what else -- bowling pins. However the bowling pins do not advertise bowling or a bowling alley, but a type of mobile phone service.
This is an example of the use of a subject (the male) and a background (the bowling pins) forming an effective composition, when caught in exact relationship to each other.
Sometimes it is not the 'subject' that is the subject of interest so much as the placement of that subject.
Here, a saleswoman in a Kiev shopping center for lingerie adopts the same pose momentarily as the model in the poster behind her -- a device I call 'mirroring' -- which is a shorthand way of saying 'repetition'.
Repetition requires, by definition, at least, two subjects or points of interest since it is the similarity which creates the photo -- not either 'subject' by itself.
This is a photo of contrasts.
The woman, foreground, who has her head buried in her arms, represents both poverty and fatigue'; she is tired and waiting for a bus -- no automobile for her.
The poster woman in the poster, behind and to the right as we view this, represents freedom, energy and affluence -- no bus waiting for her.
There are three figures and probably three storiees in this photo, taken at Las Vegas's McCarran Airport. The kissing couple in the back is the main 'subject', while the man next to them, sleeping so soundly his jowls droop, illustrates the 'lateness' of the hour. The semi-awake limousine driver with walkie-talkie, foreground, helps place the three in context.
This photo illustrates 'three viewpoints' or 'three experiences' of a late evening/early morning at a busy major metropolitan airport.
This African man's furtive movement illustrates the caption 'the illegal' -- an undocumented Alien in Ukraine. His sordid workplace -- pallets and bags of merchandise under a major thoroughfare, given texture by sidelighting, add to the impression of the squalor of those who are 'illegitimate'.
This is a 'work in progress' and is made available for 'preview'. Perhaps it will be worked into a book or other work, and your comments are invited. You may either e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment here (if Brian has left room in his change of the software) or in my portfolio comments.
As stated above, this is a work in progress. Many of my more current works which can be viewed in my various folders, make use of the foreground through the background and the use of juxtapositions, and are not incorporated into this presentation, and I hope will be added soon.
AS OF FEB. 7, 2006, I ADDED NUMBEROUS PHOTOS. Please feel free to try to add your own commentary to those until I have available time in the next few months to annotate them.
Have fun, enjoy and enjoy shooting. I hope these examples help you enjoy your shooting more and help you shoot more maturely.