When one thinks of memorable photos, interesting subjects or foregrounds usually spring to mind. A striking facial expression or human interaction, a lion bringing down its prey, a dramatic feat of engineering, or maybe just an aesthetically-pleasing object. But what of the background in the photographs? Many photographers relegate consideration of their backgrounds to, well, the background.
And what a pity! The linked article argues that careful choice of background is something that distinguishes good photographers from great ones. I for one have been struck by the remarkable backgrounds - often beautiful, or striking; sometimes subtle, sometimes layered and complex - in the photos of Magnum greats such as Alex Webb and David Alan Harvey.
And looking at the useful, straightforward illustrations the author provides of what a difference a slight change of background can make, I have to agree that a bit of careful thought about one's background can make all the difference. It can turn a good photo into a great one.
A tutorial that's definitely worth reading! I guess it's time I start foregrounding the background in my photos.
Learning to see past an exotic or exciting subject, to catch the details in the background, is what will distinguish you from a beginning, hobbyist photographer to an experienced professional. The background in your image immediately stands out to a trained eye. Learning just this skill can very quickly elevate and improve your photography.