Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sergeant, You've Earned Those Stripes

Sir, I Think I've Been Framed


Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Some weeks ago I was in a studio, checking on some details, when these frame samples caught my eye. I asked the manager's permission to take some shots and he agreed readily. The variety of colours was really striking and the image that immediately popped into my mind was that of a sergeant's chevrons.


Then I went from horizontal to vertical (above) to capture a different mood and a fresh perspective. This time I didn't see chevrons so much as arrow-heads. As you can see, just a slight change of approach can make a big difference.

Now take a close look at the photograph above and the photograph below. You'll see that they even work as optical illusions. Look carefully and you'll see that the sides of each frame look as though they are "bulging" outwards. The bulge seems more pronounced on the shot below - probably because it's taken from closer and is therefore a tighter image.


Then I moved a few inches to the right, and this time I zoomed in a little closer to use the contrast beteen the range of dark wood and the varieties of light wood. Now the challenge was to capture the light faithfully as it played across the different colours and surfaces, producing a dull glow on some of them and a harsh sheen on a couple of the others.


See what I mean about the sheen (above). Honestly, how often do you get the chance to work with light that is falling across so many different surfaces, so distinct in texture, reflection and absorption? In this shot the frame corners actually reminded me of angular boomerangs.


Then I moved further along the wall, because I could see the hardest challenge would be to shoot a close-up, with these medium-timber wooden frames on the left and the gold frames on the right. It's an interesting result, because every single surface has produced a different reflection of the light inside the studio.

But this is where composition becomes crucial. The angular aspect, the irregularity of the arrangement and the sharp 45-degree angles of the cut corners draw attention away from the fact that the light is of different qualities across the image.

Don't be intimidated by light. Don't back away from a challenge. Think your way around a problem and you'll always come up with a solution. Even if you have to look for frame and fortune.

Check out the Authorblog quiz at Question Time.

49 comments:

Casdok said...

They certainly are striking.
Its interesting the different compositions you can get.

david mcmahon said...

Thank you, Casdok.

I do enjoy experimenting with different compositions.

Keep smiling

David

Chris H said...

Good Morning David, thanks for visiting my blog.... can't imagine why? LOL You have a cool site I must say! Have a great weekend in Melbs!

Daryl E said...

Interestingly I was in a frame shop last weekend and I swear they had the identical display .. I was going to shoot it because I also saw the interesting angles but the reflection of the flash on the metallic frames made too much of a glare .. hot spot .. next time I am going to play with the ISO ..

david mcmahon said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you very much. It sure will be a great weekend here in Melbourne - we're even getting some rain!

Cheers

David

david mcmahon said...

Hi Daryle,

Maybe it was the same frame shop!! Just opt for ``Flash Off'' mode and experiment with your speed. It'll work!!

Keep smiling

David

Sandi McBride said...

Such lovely Chevrons...no wait...that's not a sleeve...is it a wall? How many picture frames can I get here? Very different to say the least David...
Sandi

david mcmahon said...

Hi Sandi,

Yep, it's Sergeant Bilko's sleeve!!

Keep smiling

David

San said...

"Even if you have to look for frame and fortune." You're right, David. Never be afraid of the light. And that goes for life itself, not just photography.

david mcmahon said...

Welcome back, San,

Hope you and Bennie had a great holiday. Yes, I could not age with you more about looking for the light - and never to be afraid of it.

Like you, I sincerely believe that applies to life as a whole, not just to photography.

Have a wonderful weekend

David

dND said...

Hi David,

Thanks for you comment and congratulations. I would love to take good photographs but am very much a point and poke person at the moment. I keep meaning to dig out the SLR and find time to have a go again.
My photography with the SLR works a bit on the monkey and typewriter process. If I take enough then usually one turns out OK :-D Thank goodness for digital.

Cheers,
Deborah (From Here to Eternity)

imac said...

"Sir, I Think I've Been Framed"

And possibly hung in the Family Gallery. lol


Nice one David.
Catch up with you in a weeks time David.
Take care.

lynn said...

Well spotted. Give that manager a plug!

Bubba's Sis said...

I love the second one - great photos!

Katney said...

Once again you have created something amazing out of something very basic. I will have a wooden post up later. It is still Friday afternoon here, though I know it is Saturday for you.

kimmy said...

I have never looked at a wall of frames like that before. You certainly have a way with the camera! Thanks for sharing!

Kimmy

Lee said...

I've seen walls of frame samples like that. Usually at Deck the Walls. They do look like arrows and military chevrons. When I looked for a frame for a print I got hooked by the variety of colors. It is amazing what the right color can do to a print. One color of matting made my print pop into 3D. Too cool.

Peace!

Gawdess said...

I thought of bird houses, trim for their little rooves!
Could be quite glam with the shiny silver and gold ones.

A Bishops wife said...

Thank you for visiting me!!

Art is every where isn't it? It always makes you consider the fact that art really is life isn't it.

Julie said...

Yup, those look like stripes on a uniform. Wonderful way of presentation.

Have a great weekend, David.

leslie said...

If I squint, it looks like the ends of the frames are curving up a bit. Interesting how the light plays such a role in each photo.

Just Joni said...

I just wish I could have been a bystander watching you take these pictures...I'm sure it was entertaining...but, really I do appreciate your passion for photography.
have a good weekend David~
Joni

Jennifer said...

Howdy from half a world away...

Thanks for the visit today! And the pun. Ha, ha, "sofa so good," yes, yes, I get it. :)

You have quite a talent for photography, evidently... I especially loved the landscapes below. I've never been to Australia - never been overseas, actually. And there you are, having lived on two continents!

The internet is a strange thing... I'm sure we would never have met otherwise. That is one thing I love about blogging, though : everyone has a story, and it's usually good! What an amazing opportunity to hear them from all over the world.

I'm going to post pictures of the infamous sofas soon but I dread it now because expectations are up and I'm NOT talented with photography! And, after all, they are just blue sofas. :)
Still, you're welcome to see them if you are so inclined...

I've gotta say it : "G'day!"

Jennifer said...

p.s. by the way, I'm in awe of anyone published... congratulations on your book, 2 years late! That is AWESOME.

Jen, again

napaboaniya said...

LOL~ Dav, your caption is hilarious.
That's a lot of frames. It'll probably take me a full day to choose a frame with those choices.

*chants* Melbourne GP! Melbourne GP!!
heeheee...

Kathryn said...

That is fabulous! Nothing beats a photographer's eye. Wow!

Corey~living and loving said...

Great idea for the theme David. My favorite is the 4th one down. It was fun to see how each photo changed the way we saw the frames. cool.
have a great weekend.
mine is up as well.

Tom Foolery said...

David,
.
Don't be intimidated by light. Don't back away from a challenge. Think your way around a problem and you'll always come up with a solution. I like those words...
.
Thanks for visiting my photoblog, much appreciated. CLICK, CLICK. TFX

ghee said...

you have been framed?LOL!

nice angle,i havent known what was it in the first glance.I had to focused more and i think theyre awesome :)

happy weekend!!
Mine`s up,too!

thanx,
ghee

Julie at Virtual Voyage said...

Visually arresting choice this one...

could be interpreted in a number of different ways. Appreciate the tips -
especially to think outside the box with a subject!

charm said...

great find for the wooden theme!

happy hunting!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

That was a really educational set of shots. Thanks for sharing, David.

Bengbeng said...

i didnt realize the optical illusion until u pointed it out. great shots

Akelamalu said...

You're not only a master with words you're a master with a camera as well! :)

JC said...

Very creative. Wonderful post :-)

Barbara H. said...

The few times I have gotten things professionally framed, it's always been hard to make a decision from the multitudes of great choices.

BarnGoddess said...

very good.

I hope to venture out with my camera today....if the ice melts a bit.

You've inspired me!

..wish I had a decent framer nearby..you outta give this one a plug, I agree

Middle Ditch said...

Nice shots and good explanations as to how you did it. Learned something again today ...

:-)

aCey said...

those frame samples and wood are beautiful!!! :)

Autumn said...

Great idea David. I love all of the different shapes that you got.

Shrinky said...

Frame and fortune (shaking my head). Some things never change!

(ps. I'm back, new site n'all.)

Nicole P said...

Very interesting post David!

Fletch said...

Descriptions of photographs and the technical insight was absorbing.

Take a trip here to see a screen capture that supports your observation about an 'optical illusion'.

aims said...

Sorry David - but the pics made me feel dizzy and nauseous...how strange!

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

These are brilliant - just the sort of shots I love, you see something, you play around with it and all sorts of wonders begin to happen.

Incog & Nito said...

Very nice colours. Enjoy your weekend.

katydidnot said...

i have always, always loved frame shops, the angular organization, the color gradients. lovely.

Dragonstar said...

I knew you'd have something interesting, but I didn't expect anything like this. Wonderful shots. You really enjoyed yourself in there!

andrée said...

Herringbone patterns! Your photos are so neat to study. The geometry is hypnotizing (for me anyhow).