Supporting Nest

One of the wonderful benefits of travel is learning about other cultures. The histories and traditions of other places is fascinating to me, especially the art and craft. Each region of the globe has its own rich artistic tradition, but in many places it’s fading fast. How often do you think about where our goods come from? Who made them? It was eye-opening to watch this woman in Burano, Italy hand-tie lace, the traditional craft for the women of this island, while the men were out to sea fishing.

I came away from my experience of living and traveling abroad with a strong belief in supporting artisans around the world, helping them to use their art and craft to earn a living. That’s why I support Nest with a portion of the proceeds from all of my online courses. This wonderful organization seeks to “celebrate craftsmanship as a powerful way to promote prosperity and stability throughout the world,” as written in their recently-released 2011 Annual Report. Nest provides in-depth training and business development for artisans in developing economies, and partners with companies to create sustainable markets for the goods. It’s a win-win for all involved. I encourage you to learn more by visiting their website here.

For all of those who have participated in my courses over the last year, I would like to thank you for your support, which allows me to continue to support Nest. Together we have done a little bit to empower many women around the world who earn their living through traditional art and craft. Thank you!

From Water to Wheels

I couldn’t miss Venice in my Market/Wheels exploration! How do they get their produce to the markets on the islands? By water, of course, and then transitioned to wheels. You can’t get away from the market/wheel combo, even in the Venetian Lagoon.

I was lucky enough to catch this transition from water to wheels on my favorite island of color, Burano. This is just a little glimpse into the daily life and all the work it takes to live in this fascinating place. Enjoy!

PS – The Photo-Heart Connection is going STRONG! I’m so excited for all of the connections we are making through this new project. The link up is open for three more days, there is still time for you to join in.

Evidence of Love

It’s here! Today I’m sharing a new portfolio, Evidence of Love. I started this project early on in Italy, with this picture from Bergamo. When I took the photo, I didn’t see the heart, I was so focused on the texture and lines. The graffiti seemed to magically appear when I edited the photo later. From that moment on, I kept an eye out for graffiti hearts and other Evidence of Love. I looked for images that showed both the emotion and a sense of place.

Don't Tread on my Heart

The new portfolio is a compilation of these images, capturing Evidence of Love from around Italy and other places in Europe. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are, you will find these declarations of love hidden somewhere. Love is a universal emotion.

Penciled In

I wanted to release this portfolio in advance of Valentine’s Day, so that you can use them to express your love too. Let’s take Valentine’s Day beyond the “couple” holiday and express love to everyone in our lives we care for, including close family and dear friends. What better way to make a heart connection? The images are available in my RedBubble shop, where you can purchase greeting cards, postcards, prints or even a calendar. Love-ly inspiration for all year long!

Which one is your favorite? I’d love to know!

Finding Color and Space

From scooter love yesterday to Burano love today. I am sharing “color” today, in honor of the wonderful Rachael Taylor who has featured me on her blog. Rachael is a surface pattern designer I met at the Do What You Love Retreat in May. Her work is beautiful and simple, and she loves bright colors, just like me. Stop by and visit her blog here to see me featured, and stick around to see her work. You will find something you love, I guarantee it. My favorite is this orange bag, which I brought home with me from the retreat. I’m so excited that it arrived with my goods from Italy, and I can start using it again. Orange Power!

I’m celebrating negative space on Mortal Muses today, so thought I would share some “space” here too. Have you stopped by and visited Mortal Muses lately? There’s been a lot of change! We celebrated our first year at the beginning of August and now have five lovely new muses bringing their beautiful images and words your way. I have always loved how having nine different people working together creates a place of such beauty and diversity, and that has not changed. I hope you will join us there.

PS – Don’t miss the giveaway on yesterday’s post, there is still time to enter.

The Answer

So, what’s your guess for today? USA or Europe? Just kidding, I won’t drag you through another day of suspense!

Today’s image is from Carbondale, Colorado.

Yesterday’s image was from Old Colorado City, Colorado. Old Colorado City is the historic part of Colorado Springs.

Monday’s image was from Burano, Italy.

What do you take away from this little exercise?

Exploring with a Camera: Frame within a Frame (2nd Edition)

[Author's Note: Through the summer months Exploring with a Camera will be "Second Edition" postings of previous explorations with some new images. You will find a new link up at the end of this post to share your photos, and your photos are also welcome in the Flickr pool for the opportunity to be featured here on the blog. I hope that you will join in!]

“Frame within a Frame” is a compositional technique that I’ve had on my mind to share here, but was waiting for the perfect “frame” shot to lead off with. I found it in this shot from Bologna, looking through a bridge window into the buildings and canal beyond. Now that I’m writing this post and reviewing my archives, however, I am seeing that I use this technique more than I thought!

Frame within a Frame works for a couple of reasons:

  • First, it serves to focus the eye of the viewer on a specific subject. When you look at a frame within a frame photograph, you are usually drawn directly to the frame and what is inside of it. Then you kind of visually take a step back and take in the whole of the image. In the photo above, you are immediately drawn to the jumble of windows and walls and the distant bridge within the frame. Then you back out and see that you are looking through a wall with graffiti.
  • Second, it provides context for the image. You are looking through one thing – the frame – into something else. You have a better feel for where you are, as the viewer. It places the viewer of the photograph into a slightly different role. Instead of just looking at the photograph, they are looking through the photograph, from the frame into what is beyond. They are immersed in the image more completely. 

The “frames” that are within photo don’t have to be windows, although these are used to good effect. Basically you are looking  for anything that serves to contain or frame the subject. The nice thing about a frame within a frame is that it doesn’t have to be a straight line! The edges of our photographs are typically straight lines, with rectangular or square shape. Compositional frames we can use within our photographs can be any shape, from natural or man made.

In this image the eye is immediately drawn to the subject framed in the “white” of the overexposed window, and from there you move into the room to get the context of the boy (my son) standing at this very large window.

In this image from Padova, the subject is the bookstore, but the context is provided by the frame of the store window at night. The person walking by serves to punctuate the fact that we are looking into the store from outside.

I find that I use arches all of the time in my photography to frame a subject. It helps that they are almost everywhere in Europe! An arch is a nice contrast to the rectangular shape of the photo, as shown in this image from Brescia.

And here is one from Marksburg Castle, in the Rhine River Valley of Germany. This arch frames both a near and far vista, looking down the Rhine. It shows the strategic view the castle had of the surrounding area.

Yet another, this time an arch internal to the building, at Casa Battlo, in Barcelona. This arch frames the beautiful lines of the staircase curving upward.

Don’t ignore the good old, square doorway though! This doorway serves as a frame, giving more depth to the alley beyond and leading your eye right to the window at the end.

Natural elements make great frames. I think you can probably conjure up images you’ve seen or captured looking through trees at a distant object or vista – the trees are the frame. The palm tree in the image below from Split, Croatia serves to frame the subject of the lighted building while also giving the context of where the photo was taken from, the waterfront promenade. I have photos of this building without the palm tree, and they are not as interesting as this one.

This may be a familiar photo to you, as I’ve used it in Exploring with a Camera before. The branches of the trees arching over and hanging down to the water, along with the reflections completing the the arch below, serve to frame the path and draw your eye right along it to the water beyond.

Finally, here is a more literally frame within a frame from Bologna. Instead of looking through the frame, you are looking at what is inside the frame. It takes the random jumble of advertising, ties it together and gives it context. It becomes street art on it’s own.

So, now that you’ve seen a few examples of frame within a frame, how can you use this compositional technique?

  1. The easiest place to start is to look for the obvious in our everyday lives – windows and doors. Look at these as frames. What do you see when you look through them? What do you see reflected in them? Consider the point of view from both sides of the frame – looking out and looking in.
  2. Expand beyond the obvious to look for other opportunities for frames in our everyday spaces – hallways, mirrors and furniture are a few places to start. What other ideas can you come up with?
  3. Look for frames in architecture. As with arches, architectural elements can make great frames for something beyond, as well as provide the context of where you are at when you take the picture.
  4. Look for frames in nature. Trees make great frames, what other natural elements can you use to highlight your subject?
  5. Try changing your focus point and exposure – focus on the frame as the subject, focus on the image beyond the frame as the subject. What works best? Why? For many of my Frame within a Frame images, I have done both and then picked the one that had the best feel.
Chances are you are already using this compositional principle without thought, as I was. The lead in photo, found in a back alley of Burano on my last trip to Venice, is a great example.

Take a look at your photos, and see where you have used frame within a frame and what effect it had. Keep an eye out, notice how it is used in the images you see around you everyday on the web, in print, in TV and movies. See where you’ve used it or go out and try it, and then link up below and share your photo in the Flickr pool. I’m sure we’ll have lots of creative frames!

FYI – Links will be moderated. Please use a permalink, ensure that your linked image is on topic, and include a link back to this site in your post through the Exploring with a Camera button (available here) or a text link. Thanks!