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The Edges of A Frame: Learning from 2 of Robert Watcher's Pictures

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Tree on a Wall



Let me refer to two of your pictures from this current thread. I like the completeness of this photograph as a design. It has no extraneous distractions and seems formally just right.

(I think that in printing, it might lend itself to a variety of adjustments perhaps in a triptych.)


Now I'm surprised at the paradoxical success of this photograph. The central portion with the sculptural branched cactus and its shadow on the wall are so simple and basic that one could just walk by, saying, "That's nice!" and not stop to look further. However, the inclusion of the peripheral unrelated elements is a masterful stroke. These provide so many reasons to linger and examine this contrast between over-simplified main subject and apparently extraneous matter in a peripherally interfering cloud.

To me, at least, this work is based on a sophisticated underlying meme: a need to challenge naive view of things. Our childish fantasies are just that. Set them in the real world and there are much more difficulties in having such imaginary harmony.

I am not saying this is some major work of art. However, it is an important lesson to us in how one might use the periphery of an image to talk to us in an important way. We normally trivialize the edges, for example, use vignetting or blur to draw the eyes away from the corners and edges. So this departure is unique and we can learn by examining any examples of this.


Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Look at the second picture. Is there anyone who would have second thoughts about including a periphery of "clutter".