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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > Touring Turn-of-the-Century America

[Detail] U.S.S. Alert. Photographer - W H Jackson, 1901 or 1902

Drawing Outside the Frame

A photographer is usually very deliberate in setting up an image. The borders of a picture can isolate a subject from its surroundings or emphasize its relationship to other items within the camera’s view. No matter how an image appears in a photograph, however, there is a complete world that exists just beyond the frame.

Select a detailed photograph from the collection and print it onto a sheet of paper. Cut and paste this image onto a large sheet of paper and draw what you imagine would surround this scene by drawing around the edges of the photograph. Keep the following questions in mind:

  • What was the photographer trying to emphasize in the photograph?
  • Are there any items within the photograph that need to be extended onto the rest of the page?
  • How does your drawing alter the style and meaning of the image?