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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Robert Frank Faith

Roy H. Williams wrote in Magical Worlds of the Wizard of Ads:
(p. 116)
The edge of a picture is called the frameline. When an image extends beyond the frameline, the viewer's imagination reacts by filling in what was left outside the frame. This phenomenon is called frameline magnetism, and it's a powerful tool that has long been used by the world's great photographers, videographers, filmmakers, and illustrators to engage the imagination of a viewer.

(p. 117)
Robert Frank is generally regarded as one of the greatest photographers the world has ever seen. In his legendary photo book, The Americans, Frank captures the unposed reality of 1955-56 America with such ruthless clarity that collectors now bid tens of thousands of dollars to own just one of his vintage prints...

Robert Frank was (1) unusual in his selection of an angle, (2) economical in his inclusion of detail, and (3) a master of frameline magnetism.
Robert Frank's photography and Christianity hold a lot in common.

First, Christianity provides us with a number of unusual angles. The most unusual angle is the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection...God becoming man, taking on humanity's sin, and resurrected from the dead. The idea of a suffering God is utterly contrary to the ancients view of gods, yet it is the God we serve.

Second, Scripture is economical in its inclusion of detail. We are left with tensions with which to wrestle. We are free to choose, yet God foreknows. There is one God, yet three in one. Christ will return, but when?

Third, scripture uses frameline magnetism. An inclusio represents frameline magnetism.
In literature, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle, also known as bracketing or an envelope structure, which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section, although whether this material should consist of a word or a phrase, or whether greater amounts of text also qualify, and of what length the frames section should be, are matters of some debate. Inclusio is found in various sources, both antique and new.
We see this device used in Scripture as a way of framing the narrative. An event will be bookended by two similar themes, sometimes providing insight into the deeper meaning of the story. A very simple one to identify is in Genesis chapter 17, where the it begins and ends referencing Abraham's age.

Thus, we have some similarities in Scripture and faith and the photography of Robert Frank.

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