Simple versus elaborate: The “Picture Frame” sessions

So my original plan was thus.

A few years ago, my modeling friend Lauren helped me create an illusion called Her Stolen Heart, in which she would hold a frame and I would photograph in such a way that the frame appeared to show what was behind her.

Her Stolen Heart
Her Stolen Heart. Nikon D700 camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

I entered it as one of my submissions for the New York State Fair photography competition in 2012, and although Her Stolen Heart did not make the cut, I didn’t want to give up on the concept.

Last weekend, I asked my modeling friend Angela if she was interested in taking some modeling pictures in the Adirondacks.  She agreed.  I’ve worked with Angela before, and she – like Lauren – is a great person and is more than willing to pose for photos in exchange for picture that she can use for her modeling portfolio or for her Facebook wall.

So it was off to the Adirondacks – myself, Angela, my Nikon Df camera and a spare picture frame.  Not that orange heart frame, mind you – one of the judges told me the reason that Her Stolen Heart didn’t make the walls of the art center was because I didn’t color-correct for what eventually appeared as an orange heart.  Oops.

We found a snowy spot in the Adirondacks (yes, at this time of year every spot is snowy in the Adirondacks), and we set up for the photo shoot.  I asked her to hold the frame in various locations.

Angela Photo 004See, this is simple.  She’s standing in the snow, holding an old picture frame.   This will work.

Then all I have to do from this point is to let her “model” the frame, holding it in various locations.  Plain and simp-simps, as the old saying goes.

And of course, I’m thinking, “This is going to be better than Her Stolen Heart.  This is going to make it to the walls of the Harriet May Mills Art Center.  My photography skills have improved since 2012.  I can do this.”

We tried a few different locations with the frame.  Then, with the magic of computer technology… I was able to create the following images below.

Angela Photo 003 Angela Photo 002
Angela Photo 001

Not bad, not bad, not bad at all.  There’s some possibilities here.  I can work with this.  I think.

On the way back to the car from the photo shoot, we walked through a covered bridge.  And it was at that moment that I realized … hey wait a second, Chuck, here’s an opportunity.  You may not get this again.  If you snooze, you lose.

“Angela,” I said, “look out that window for a second.”

She did.

And I got this photo, lit only by the ambient light through the window of a covered bridge.

Angela Photo 008
Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Bang.

And now I have, shall we say, “options.”

Because I could enter any of those “magic picture frames” into competition this summer, I certainly could.

But what if I wanted to enter that simple photo of Angela looking out a window?  That’s a good shot in and of itself, without any digital gimmicks or illusion.

Let’s put it this way.  I’m keeping these images in the short piles for competition, for sure.

Man, I’m getting excited about Competition Season 2015.

Especially if I can get photos like these.

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3 thoughts on “Simple versus elaborate: The “Picture Frame” sessions”

  1. Nice pictures, all. But I do agree that the disembodied hand is spooky. How would it look if you could still see Angela’s arms outside the boundaries of the frame?

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    1. It would be a tough crop, in that in the photo her arm doesn’t go all the way behind the frame, and I’d have to crop it at a weird angle so as to not get her coat in the picture.

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