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October 8, 2019

what is up everybody welcome back to the
show we are back into photo assignments once again today and we are going to be
doing photo assignment number 11 which deals with something called sub framing
sub framing is a technique where you use elements within your composition to
frame up your subject so the end result is a picture within a picture one of my
favorite photographers who uses this technique quite a bit is Robert Frank
now Robert Frank does street photography and because street photography is
improvised you’re going to see him using sometimes literal objects that will
frame something in whether that’s a car door or maybe that’s a window and then other
times it’s very subtle like he’ll use buildings in the background to frame in
the subject and send them up to draw your eye in another photographer whose work I
greatly admire is actually somebody that I know through making these videos because
he participates in photo assignments religiously and fanatically I always get
like 20 entries his name is Craig Whitehead you might know him by his
moniker online which is sixstreetunder what I like about Craig’s work is that
he takes a lot of the ideas and the approaches from what we saw in the 1940s
and the 1950s in terms of street photography but then he adds a modern
aesthetic into it he shoots with longer focal length lenses he has a wonderful
wonderful sense of color that he likes to use check out how Craig uses sub framing so for this photo assignment I thought
it would be a good idea to start by just showing you some images so you would
begin to get a feel for what I’m talking about with sub framing but I want to dig
a little bit deeper into it and talk about why it works let me illustrate
okay this is a blank sheet of paper this will
represent a photograph I’m going to make a point of something that occurs within
visual composition it is time for some of Ted’s patented bad drawing skills
bear with me folks this is not an interesting photograph this is just a
little drawing that I’m using to make a point here and that is is this still
works in the sense that your eye is drawn to the subject which is this
poorly drawn stick figure down here and the reason that is we talked about this
in the last photo assignment this is negative space and so what you have is
you have this extreme juxtaposition between a very low activity that’s going
on here and the stick figure who’s down here so
first of all the scale but also the use of negative space this obviously isn’t
very practical when we’re talking about photography because photography
especially if you’re shooting street photography you’re not in a studio
situation you are dealing with what’s around you and typically for instance
out on the street you’re gonna have buildings and cars and other people and
signs and logos and advertisements and more logos and more advertisements and
it becomes very difficult to actually isolate your subject enough to create
that type of interest so for example I’ve got a good one that I’m going to
show you here what if you wanted to shoot the Chrysler Building in New York
the Chrysler Building is an amazing looking building and if you’ve ever been in New
York City and you’ve seen that skyline you know that it’s cluttered with a lot
of other stuff so how would you use a technique to be able to isolate that to
draw your eye into that as your subject okay check this out this is a photo I’m
talking about of the Chrysler Building and it’s been isolated now what is the
technique that’s been used here well it is sub framing Baril has used an empty
office building to actually create a secondary frame within the composition
to show you the Chrysler Building and to isolate it from its surroundings
Tom Baril is one of my favorite photographers and another thing I want
to point out is on the Chrysler Building is check out the scale that’s involved
there in juxtaposition to the size of the photograph it’s really pretty small
and my point that I want to make is that when you use sub framing this is a
way to start using scale to your advantage to create
interest within a photograph bring interest to your subject now using scale
especially smaller scales within the photo is hard to do and that’s why most
people don’t use it that’s why people use longer lenses and they tend to get
up closer to things to isolate it from its surroundings but when you do this
and you put the effort in it can be very effective one other point that I want to
make about a photograph is a photograph is a two-dimensional object so we see
photos on two dimensions whether it’s on a sheet of paper in a book on a screen
whatever but a photograph is a representation of a three-dimensional
world and photography does this so well because you have depth of field you can
use blur to knock things out of focus to create that depth but I also want to
point out that the deal with sub framing is is that you can create sub
framing by using something that is in front of your subject to frame it in you
can also use something that is behind the subject so let’s go check out a
couple examples of this so we’re gonna look at some portraits that were taken
by Arnold Newman who is one of my favorites and Arnold Newman is typically
associated with the environmental portrait so the environmental portrait
is you take your subject and you put them in an environment that supports who
they are what they do and so this first one is a very extreme example of sub
framing but this is a sculptor this is Isamu Noguchi and his head is
literally stuck in the middle of this sculpture and I think this really proves
the point but it also supports and it has a way of bringing your attention
into the subject and it supports who they are and I think another example of
that that uses sub framing that is probably a little more conventional is
this which is I.M. Pei who the famous architect and we are seeing him through
a little window but it’s using a lot of black space so what he has done is
through sub framing he has created the whole idea of negative space in its
relationship to the subject and so draws your eye in and it also supports the
fact that he is an architect we don’t actually see the architecture but if we
did it would be distracting so I think this is a great solution that and he
came up with for that another one this is of the famous pop artist Roy
Lichtenstein again we’re using sub framing but the thing I want you to
notice here and this is something that Arnold Newman did quite a bit of which
is use something behind the subject for your sub framing so you can see that
there’s a canvas behind his head and what that does is it draws your eye and
it creates more contrast it’s a black and white photo between the background
and the subject and it’s very subtle but this is sub framing from the
backside and another example of this is the famous painter Josef Albers who did all
these color studies that were kind of a square within a square and he used that
as a contraption or a device to sub-frame against the subject so again
it creates a little bit of interest if it were an all black background it’s not
necessarily distracting and it would work but this creates more interest
because it’s one of Albers paintings again you see this with Georgia O’Keeffe
as she is standing against an easel that has a skull on the top of it but anyway…
these are pretty classical examples of sub framing the way Arnold
Newman did it another photographer that I want to look at that is one of my
favorites is Dan Winters now this is not a style that Dan Winters is typically
associated with he typically is known for his work shooting portraits of
celebrities against flat backgrounds and these are some of my favorites and
what I like about these first of all the subject in this photo is these little
figures clear out at the water on the beach and you’re seeing these taken
between the legs in the foreground okay so first of all this is breaking rules
putting subjects out of focus in the foreground is a no-no it’s distracting
it shouldn’t work but he’s using it as a compositional device and this is what is
really interesting he’s using this to draw your attention and he’s using that
depth of field with the camera that photography is inherited of I mean it’s
not like painting where you have to create that it exists with the camera
and it’s drawing your interest in and it’s a really interesting use of sub
framing another one that I think is really subtle is this pointing hand and
it’s just framed up between two people again in the foreground out-of-focus but
where’s your eye drawn I think it’s pretty obvious and then finally another
one which is the Statue of Liberty and you have tourists in the front and I
think much like the environmental portraits that we’re looking at that
that Arnold Newman had done you’re looking at a technique and the
importance here is that you’re drawing the attention into something that in
this case is small and scale but in both cases Arnold Newman and Dan Winters is
the subjects or whatever is doing the sub framing is there to support the
subject and the intent of the composition I think that is very
important so that is sub framing and that is your assignment for this segment
of photo assignments if you are new to the show and you have no idea what photo
assignments are these are these weekly challenges that we do to that are designed
to improve your creative thinking and your overall skills as a photographer
essentially these are designed so you can go back and do them at any time but
if you want to participate in the moment as we are doing them basically what I do
is that give the assignment on a Monday and then the following Monday I do the
recap video and people who have submitted work during that week I will
feature the best ones on the show so if you want to know how to submit your work
I have an entire video explaining how to do that that I will link up here or in
the show description wherever you’re viewing this so go check that out if you
want to participate and as far as a deadline people always want me to put
the deadline in here and let’s do that so today is September 11, 2017 let’s go
for September 18th is when the next video will go out and I’ll give you
until – I’ll make the video on Sunday which is the 17th so September 16th that
is your deadline that is Saturday by midnight or whenever – or by the time I
start doing it I mean sometimes like literally I sit down and there’s a
couple things that just flew in and I’ll consider them so anyway I will make that
video on the 17th to just make sure you have your images submitted before then
and if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and if
you enjoyed this video please remember to like it share it subscribe to the Art of
Photography for more videos I will see you guys in the next one until then

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  1. Hey! Ive been a fan of the channel for a while now, and Im not particularly a photographer but Im an architect working with 3D modeling and rendering. Sometimes I feel like expressing more than the obvious 2 point perspective looking flat to a room. Do you have tips for architecture compositions? Either interior or exterior

  2. Hey Ted! Thank you so much for everything! And especially the photo assignments. If it wasn't for the episode with movement I haven't rewatched the one you did about titarenko… I fell in love with his work and because of the movement episode I learned how to make what I had in mind and wanted to show. If you are curious about what I mean, search instagram for pulvercris

    Again thanks! And don't stop. ☺️

  3. I tried this Subframing before but you made me want to take it to the next level. It is very interesting and I think it will challenge me on the street.

  4. I shall try it out! I would love to participate! i shall get some photos to you soon =] I got my camera 4 months ago but have been practicing everyday and learning as much as I can

  5. Ohoh. I promised I'd participate in the next assignment… Ok… Got to charge my batteries and pick up my camera… Brain already started thinking…. * nice *

  6. I would like to request, in addition to the weekly assignments, a monthly assignment so those of us who shoot film can participate too, without feeling we've come late to the game.

  7. Love this!!!!!immediatly start working on it! For this subframing topic I took a video of the latest exhibition of Daido Moriyama and its main photo was exactly a subframing self portrait(can't put the link of my video or the comment will be considered as spam). @Ted what is your personal experience with subframing ?

  8. Learned this from Peter McKinnon awhile back (actually it was my first PM video and now I'm hooked). I've been playing with it a lot recently and I love it! I'm totally loving all these photo assignments too! They make it easier and way less intimidating to try out new techniques, especially for someone who is just starting out like me and slowly working their way up.

  9. Okay this is one of my favorite accounts. I like how you breakdown everything, even going to the extent of giving examples. Made the cut, big ups! 👌👏👏

  10. Thanks for the trouble you take to illustrate your points with the work of other photographers Ted. I take notes as I watch and then go and investigate the work of the people you mention – this is a real classroom on YouTube and I appreciate it all mate!

  11. Great!! I'm subscribed to a lot of Youtube channels. Most of them get boring after a while. Not yours though. Allways interesting stuff here. Thank you.

  12. I do enjoy watching your videos – a ton of inspiration for me forcing me to look for different things other photographers will pick to shoot plus in a very different way

  13. Another great episode. I love sub framing. I've noticed for a long time now that you're using the white fabric in the background of your videos to add the effect yourself. Well done sir.

  14. I didn't notice that many shots i have taken in the past was token by this technic, i will participat in the assignement and show them to you. Thank you for making youtube more and more infirmative

  15. Great video – except for the terrible (auto-)translated title and description.
    I'm watching from germany and had to change the settings of my youtube account, since it was completely incomprehensible.

  16. Funny timing of this challenge.  Just last Friday I took a picture at work of a construction worker operating a boom lift on the ground level, framed through a drainage hole on the unfinished second story concrete wall of a new building I'm working on.

  17. awesome exploration of a great technique! fully expected you to drop some Saul Leiter on this one, though, as that feels like a bread and butter technique of one of your [many ;)] favorite photographers. thanks for your great work!

  18. I am currently separated from my camera and school prevents me from spending too much time on shoots right now. I have a handful of pictures that fit the assignment already. Can I use those??

  19. This is great stuff, as always! I can not say enough how useful, inspirational and instructional these videos have been to my own photographic expressions.

  20. If you ask me.
    Much has changed in 5 years.
    Of course.
    Your way of talking is nowadays much slower, has much more humour in it.
    I'm unsure whether to remake these videos.
    You've become a much cooler presenter than back in the days.

  21. Ted Forbes I love your channel. Great to see Peter Mckinnon commenting here. Love your work guys. I,d love some feedback from you both. If you could check me out on Instagram and leave me some comments I would greatly appreciate it. https://www.instagram.com/jay_kingsun/

  22. Sir, You dont know what u r doing for the photo community…. u r just awesome…thank god i found u in this saturated world of one kinda photography channels …..Thank you ..i wish u all the success.. 🙂 <3

  23. This video is amazing! I had NO idea that a technique like subframing existed; I've already made some subjectively good photos using this technique… Thank you for making this video, it's massively appreciated!

  24. I don't understand what you' re talking about. All family snapshooters are doing that for the last 100 years. "Honey, stand in front of that statue/building/funny guy/structure/mural etc, and smile". My daughter was recently taking pics of a distant bridge using close tree branches as a blurry frame, and she's 14. Hardly an "advanced" method, everyone's doing it.

  25. thanks i love your video! been watching your channel over the whole afternoon and it is so insightful. so many great videos

  26. i actually heard it made a great interesting photo to blur people in the front ground with subject in back. now you say its a no no but somehow this guy made it work? i heard that blaring people in front is the way to do it man.

  27. Hello Ted:
    what Scale element means in composition, is basically three things. (apart the famous rule of thirds)
    1º a big subject make it look like if was small
    2º a small subject make it look as if it was big
    3º when you are in in front a big landscape i.e. a reference as the human body or well know animal figure helps to get an idea on how big is the landscape
    Nice you mention it, cause very few knows that elemental rule of the visual message 🙂 the photos you analyzed have more to said than just the framing (some have lines created by shadows which produce a certain inquietud in the viewer and more to said about dynamic or leading, some could be better with a tone play to create a little more depth, i don´t know you but my first encounter was when you analyzed the Leica DG Panasonic 12 mmm f/1.4 glass, which is really a very special lens for MFT loved the way you explain and your examples.
    I have learn composition from Jose b. Ruiz and of courses Dondis, cheers

  28. I had the chance to watch this again. I am in a much better place medically and am amazed at how much I missed. I'm grateful you have all these videos archived to rewatch. Thank you.

  29. When comes of serious photography learning on YouTube, it is you, Ted, John Free and Sean Tucker who matter the most. And of course any videos containing Bruce Gilden (yes, I love him!), Jay Maisel and a serious of B&H videos are also gold. Thank you for the priceless information and teaching.

  30. If you weren't so
    well spoken , I would never be able to listen. I have a B.F.A. in
    Fine Art Photography (Ariz. State University) and I am learning a lot
    with you , even though I thought I knew it all. Thank you Proffesor 📷

  31. I found you through Peter McKinnon. Amazing channel.
    Grabbing a few new friends tomorrow to do some street photography in downtown San Antonio. I look forward to applying all these new techniques. Thanks.

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