Chopping off heads

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by Gary Holliday, Nov 22, 2007.

  1. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    If life were perfect, all my portrait clients would be artists, unfortunately Kodak told every layman that chopping off heads is not allowed.

    So cropping heads is it art, poor technique, or should it be avoided if your client is the general ignorant public?
     

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  2. wfe

    wfe Member

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    I don't worry about the general public's consensus or what any rules are, I simply make the picture that I like. Sometimes a chopped head works and sometimes it doesn't. If it works I'll go with it if not then so be it. If I'm shooting for a paying client I'll shoot both just so I have them. After all the client may not like what you or I like and they have to be happy at the end of the day. If it is personal work then it's what I like.

    Cheers,
    Bill
     
  3. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I think people have been reasonably exposed to a number of "chopped head tops" photos by advertisement, magazines, and so on.

    Musicians often use notes that don't chime together; there's no reason why photographs should not do the same.
     
  4. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  5. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I chop heads all the time. I have examples all over my website, so my clients aren't surprised by it.
     
  6. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    If it was good enough for Marie Antoinette, it's more than good enough for the "general ignorant public"...

    Sorry, I couldn't resist!!! lol lol lol
     
  7. Kino

    Kino Member

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    It is much easier to place a chopped off head in the frame than tote that limp body all over and make it sit upright...

    Oh...

    Never mind...
     
  8. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    You MUST be a Joel-Peter Witkin protege then!

    :D :D :D
     
  9. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    wasn't Ansel Adams who said all the rules about composition were irrelevant and useless?
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Yes and if done quickly enough, the eyes will follow you around the room for a few moments.

    Any advance on this level of black humour?

    pentaxuser
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Well, back to the reference to Marie Antoinette, during the French Revolution they sang to the tune of "Catch a falling star"

    "Catch a falling head and put it in a casket,
    Never let it roll away ... "

    Steve
     
  12. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    I've always thought this a fine example of creative head-chopping. I called this one "Getting A Head For the Holidays".
     

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  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Now that is a real classic!

    Steve
     
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  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Lettuce not get ahead of ourselves here... then again, a good joke is always disarming. Keep that up and we'll be all running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. Funny how we've got gallows humor, but not guillotine humor. Better not let that idea come to a head.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    What and not have a popping good time?

    Steve
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Ack- too corny for words... verbal assault and buttery... don't mince words now... decapitation is after all a dicey situation.
     
  18. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I once had an editor lecture me on a shot I took in which I cropped in tight and clipped off the top of the subject's head. She had gone to an Associated Press workshop and one of the teachers said cropping off the top of someone's head in a newspaper photograph would confuse the viewer. Since I was only a photographer who had made more photographs that week than she had taken in her whole life and she was an assistant managing editor who had gone to a workshop, I was obviously wrong.
     
  19. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Chopped off heads (arms, legs, ears, noses, etc) are what critics talk about when they don't have anything else negative to say.
     
  20. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the best thing to do with rules is break them...
     
  21. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    With most everything a photographer can think or dream of having already been done, it makes it tough to be original and creative. I believe in an effort to be creative, different or simply noticed picture makers will do most anything to grab, capture, shock or what ever it takes to catch the viewers eye. I come from a time not so long ago that to chop off a persons head in a picture was considered to be very amateurish and indicated lack of training and was to be avoided at any cost. Like so many things in photography the "head chopping" has now gained a great deal of acceptance by many that never knew in the first place that it was in poor taste.

    Today anyone can do anything from allowing tree's or telephone poles to grow out of peoples heads to cutting off the head or other anatomy in the name of creativity. Perhaps they are correct and others of us are incorrect. I do not believe that rules are made to be broken! I believe that if one knows the rules first that he/she is in a position to better interpret the results of what they are trying to achieve. Generally when I see an image with top of the head cut off I either turn the page or go somewhere else.

    If you think or believe other wise it is finewith me, I do not wish to change anyones mind however I personally dislike the cutting tops of heads off in portraits or even family photos.
    Jus my opinion,
    Charlie................................................
     
  22. DarkroomExperimente

    DarkroomExperimente Member

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    I think it was Duke Ellington who said..."if it sounds good, it IS good"

    for us: if it looks good it IS good
     
  23. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    At the moment I'm trying to put forward my favourite image in a portrait sitting. It's of a boy looking down to the side...some replies...

    He's not looking at the camera!
    He's got his head chopped off.
    His head almost looks as if it's floating!
    I can hardly see it, it's too pale.

    I'm clearly not very good at this. :smile:

    Interesting comments, I will try a print with the top included.
     
  24. Cheryl Jacobs

    Cheryl Jacobs Member

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    Gary, more than likely you just haven't reached your target market. Do what you love the way you want to do it, and you'll draw the people who appreciate it.

    - CJ
     
  25. Gary Holliday

    Gary Holliday Member

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    Yes, I'm planning to exhibit the prints and do some very direct marketing to certain areas to attract my kind of people.
     
  26. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

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    In all seriousness, cropping/chopping off parts of the anatomy can be used to emphasize the image or the emotion. A lot of film makers use it to great effect.

    S