Peripheral View

A few years back, I was thinking about the framing of photographs. What makes a good photographic composition? Can you control such a thing consciously? Mind you, I rarely think about it. I just do it. Like most, I move the camera around in front of me until I like what I see. Usually, it’s seconds. Sometimes, it takes a bit longer. I remember, too, that some folks have tried to actually offer a formula of sorts for good composition. How deadly. You either know, or you don’t. You either feel that it’s right, or you don’t. But, as I contemplated all of this, it occurred to me how often I like someone’s image based on what I saw at the very edge of the frame—what’s just coming into view, or what’s nearly left the frame. This stayed with me until I began consciously looking for those things—looking for those elements not necessarily intended as the subject of the photo, but just left on the periphery. This developed into a series of images (an exercise, really) whereby, I made a point of obscuring the visual content in the area usually intended for the main subject matter—just allowing the viewer to see what’s on the edges. And, sure, as with so many ideas that come to me, there’s a level of irony involved.

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