Reading Jay Maisel's book titled "Light Gesture & Color" I ran into a section called "The Background is Also Yours" and it hit me like a brick! I love this style of shooting and have been using it for a long time. I like mixing the subject in the foreground with that of the background without telling the viewer what is the central theme of the shot.
This picture above is of the lamp post on Tower Bridge in London, or is it the London Eye in the background? It was shot on a Leica M6 with HP5 at ISO 400. Obviously I focused on the lamp post and threw out the London eye in the shot. I wanted an iconic artifact of London to be thrown in the background of a great detail that is often overlooked by tourist and local alike!
Here is a more classic shot of my wife standing over Salzburg Austria. This was taken with a Leica ME and a Zeiss 50mm lens. The Exif data tells me it was shot at f/8 but the ME does not measure the aperture of a Zeiss lens...it guess it. This was actually shot closer to an f/4. I did not want a in focus background as I could have tried for (with 1/125th of a second shutter speed I could have dropped it to 1/30th of a second getting me to the f/8 and a more focused background). I wanted a hint of where she was without distracting from her. I thought her eyes looked wonderful in this light.
The image above is a scene I keep going back to. I am a fan of Churchill and believe his iconic frame with the Elizabeth Tower in the background is great. I shot this one with the Hasselblad 500cm and Fomapan 400 film. Here I opted for the background to be crisp and in focus and used a slightly out of focus Churchill to help frame the shot.
This last image, is my favorite street photography image I have taken. The iconic building in the background, the millennium bridge all serving as a backdrop to the bubbles and their maker. I will do a deep dive into this picture soon but again I am playing with the background and foreground.