Framing The Frame

In The Frame © Knut Skjærven

In The Frame © Knut Skjærven

This humble image is a very good illustration of what Street Photographer’s Toolbox is all about. The ground that it stands on.

The point is that there is always another frame. When you think that you fix a content in one frame there always comes another frame along with it. That which you leave out of the first frame either deliberately or simply because you did not know that it was there at all.

And other ones on top of that.

If the first frame (call it the text) in this shot is the bear and the bench and part of the two people going to and from. Framed by the large, visible frame.

The rest of the image included is the second frame (call it the context). That which is not there in the flesh for the first frame.

What we call  Itching Images is a way to arrange things within frames. What we call  Deep See Photography  is a way to arrange “the whole picture”: text and context in one go. The first is what you see, the second is what glasses you see with.

John Berger says about a photograph: What it shows invokes what is not shown. (John Berger: Understanding A photograph, Viking Press 1974).

You could say that this was highly speculative. My answer is: no, it is not.

On the contrary, it is reading the text without an eye on the context that is the speculative way. Texts without contexts are not possible and can lead to grave errors if you think texts come in isolation. They never do. Strange that we most of time think that they do.

As we shall see later contexts come in two kinds. The first one is embedded in the experience and knowledge you as the viewer bring with you. The second is constituted by the concrete surroundings that every photograph is a crop of. Both are present in the photo above.

The humble image, the image below, consisting on the two frames, made me think. One inner, one outer. Think not about that which is there to see, but about what is obviously left out.

This is the area of friction which leaves al messages, even visual messages, even messages contained in street photography, as open messages. Some more than others.

But, but, but, the thematic study of the friction like we try to do it here is a way to lay it bare. We are on the way to understand what we deal with.

Nobody said it was going to be easy. On the other hand, nobody said it should be difficult. And it isn’t. Once you have got it, it sits.

It does not matter what camera you use either. I have tried different. Frames always come within frames. Texts are always within contexts.

Now we know.

© Knut Skjærven. All rights reserved. Text and photo.
Copenhagen February 14, 2013.


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