What You Put in the Frame...

By Ron Rosenberg


We received a wonderful holiday gift last year: a Nikon D3300 DSLR camera.

This has proven to be a great asset for our company since it lets us produce amazing videos to share our business-growth strategies and promote our products and services.

But even though it shoots video, it's primarily a "still" camera and takes high-quality pictures. This has been fun for me because as a child, I dabbled in photography using my father's Pentax Spotmatic-F 35mm camera, and a darkroom a neighbor had set up  in our apartment building in the Bronx.

While watching some YouTube videos on camera technique, I came across one featuring the renowned photographer Joel Meyerowitz. His work in "street photography" is incredible, and his photographs were featured on the covers of early albums from the jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.

Framing the Photo

While I had seen a lot of material on the importance of "composition" in photography, this one had implications that reached deeply into other areas.

Take a look at the video and then come back so we can review some of these areas together.

His basic premise is that what you see in the viewfinder - and what you  ultimately capture in the image - is just a small subset of everything that's happening around you. There are interactions taking place that may be affecting the subjects in the lens, even if these interactions aren't actually recorded in the image.

Moreover, there can be other completely random and disjoint activities around the subject  that have absolutely nothing to do with each other - except that they're taking place at the same time in the same general location.

Think of it as "chaos theory meets art." He summarizes this idea by saying that what you put in the frame determines the photograph.

What's in Your Frame?

Which brings us to an important point, and a slight restatement of this observation: what you focus on determines your direction.

In the course of a single day and over the course of our entire lives, we are constantly choosing the activities, relationships, and thoughts that will "fill our frames." And these choices have implications and impact that extend and radiate beyond our limited frame of reference, impacting others around us in ways we're often not even aware of.

Just as Joel Meyerowitz's images are a limited and finite rendering of a broader reality, our own patterns of focus determine our own reach and the extent of the influence we can have on other people's lives.

Think about what you keep in your field of view, and try to compose the best possible image of yourself.

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