A frame separates the image from the rest of the universe and allows us to experience the picture as a universe in itself and to enter into it. Of course, we began the process of photography with a frame -- called a viewfinder. From then on the photograph is a living record of what we framed and allows us to return or allows someone else to enter for the first time.

A frame is a portal. So is a window or a door or a gate. Why use just a viewfinder when nature so often provides other options? A frame encloses and simultaneously liberates. This is why I allow myself to frame a frame which reveals a scene and hang it on the wall. I stand in front of it like Sister Wendy and I find myself on the other side. A portal can be entered and passed through. But the repositioning can also be ineffable: I've found myself on the other side without having passed through. I was just there, on the other side, and had never been anywhere else.

The door is cracked just enough to let a beam of light through. Then the crack is moved another gigafraction of width. And again. And again. The process takes manifold lives. Or alternatively something hits us and we find ourselves on the other side of the door. What hits us? Call it grace. Not graceful, not necessarily. Just...grace.

Coming upon a portal in the wild I first look at the scene that's been framed. Perhaps also, if it's of special interest, the frame itself. Then I remember I have a camera with me and I test the many angles I could use to preserve the scene as well as the frame. But when I see the results I realize again and again that what I've really preserved is my presence on the other side, in the scene itself.