Cajsa Lilliehook covers the best in virtual world screenshot art and digital painting
When it comes to pictures, the word frame gets a workout. After all, the entirety of the picture is the frame in which the artist chose to present the subject. The angle, distance, how it is cropped, all decisions that go into the frame. Then, of course, sometimes the picture itself is put in a frame, and we spend hours at a frame shop dithering over matte colors, bevels, checking dozens of corner samples.
Sometimes, too, the artist creates a frame within the picture, a frame within a frame.
Frames within the frame of the picture create context and and depth. They create different planes within the photo, a foreground or a background, for example. In "High", the photo by Marcus Lynch, above, you can see how frames creates multiple layers. In the front we have the man framed by the dark walls of the structure, the skyscrapers are framed by the opening in the ceiling and the plane is framed by the buildings. This complex layering creates a starkly powerful picture.
The foreground frame is by far the most common. Trees and the blurred leaves and flowers that artfully frame the subject are ubiquitous. This picture above takes what is a bit of tired cliche and freshens it up. The tree frames the subject, but is in turn framed by shadow and water. The foreground frame is about giving context in terms of size and distance. Our eyes want visual clues to where the subject is, and the foreground frame is the easiest clue. It gives us perspective, something pictures need.
Eight more fantastic frame-within-frame photos follow below!
Background frames also give perspective. If we know the size of the frame, then we know the size of the subject in front of it. A frame does not have to square or made of wood. It can be a color or in the case a children’s swimming pool. The frame is made obvious by its bright bold color. This is a great example of a frame being an important element in the story the picture tells us.
A frame can also lead the eye. Here the frame is made by light, leading us forward beyond the subject. This frame also creates a mood of solitude.
Frames are all about creating depth and this picture by Dark Firegrave gives us depth magnificently. This is not just an example of using a frame for depth, but also of how the frame itself can become the focal point.
Frames can be constructed in many way. You can use an archway, a bridge, a door, a window, the ceiling, a fireplace, or mirrors. You can make a frame with color, lighting, shadows, or bokeh. You can use curtains, trees, flowers, grass, mountains, or other aspects of the landscape. Negative space can make a frame. You can even make frames with people.
Here the frame within a frame is created by the trees and their leaves and the hammock. This is a peaceful picture. The frame provides balance and serenity.
This picture is framed by white, both by her hat and the negative space, the erasure of much of her body. This frame is very dramatic.
This romantic picture has two foreground frames, the branch and the windowpane. This frame also implicates the viewer, we become voyeurs, spies looking in the window.
This picture is framed by the door and another frame is added by the curtain. With the doors ajar and the curtain waving in the breeze, the picture has a feeling of being caught by chance, in the moment.
This picture is framed by the windows, their light and the shadows. This could easily be too symmetrical and become static, but the diagonal cast of sunlight on the floor and the piano lid at counterbalancing angles that disrupt the perfect symmetry.
These are just a few examples of a frame within a frame. Keep it in mind when you browse Flickr and you will start seeing examples everywhere. If you find any great examples, please share in the comments.
Cajsa Lilliehook joined Second Life in 2007 and has been enjoying the art of SL ever since. Disliking the common practice of critiquing poor photos, she decided to highlight good ones and explain why they work in hopes of inspiring with praise instead of criticism. Follow Cajsa on Flickr, on Twitter or on her blog.