Cropping the image

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    As I have noticed another post on the gallery suggesting I should crop - kids – Rome, I thought it worthy of a new post. When framing with a rangefinder, perhaps you see something below the brightline finders you wish to exclude, in preference to excluding part of the image at the top. In this case, if what appears at the top is not helping the content or composition, then perhaps the solution (as suggested) is to crop at the printing stage. However, (I feel) this destroys your moment of realisation within the frame finders. Do some understand what I am trying to say?
     
  2. Zewrak

    Zewrak Member

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    Well if you are not able to move or crop in camera as you want. Then it is a limit if circumstances that you can fix in the copy. Nothing wrong with that, you fix other limits, such as burning/dodging/contrast/tonings etc.

    Cropping in the darkroom is perfectly fine. Don't be hard on yourself.

    Sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
     
  3. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Get real. As I've written about in Cropping a Negative, rangefinders cured me of that mania.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Crop if you want. Be happy.
     
  5. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I beg to differ.
     
  6. John Austin

    John Austin Member

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    On the basis of economics, careful framing instead of cropping gets you to use more of the silver you have paid money for and as there is less enlargement there is greater image quality

    Personally, I loathe cropping my work and it makes me realise I was inattentive when making the picture - This is my personal opinion and applies to my work, so I am not telling you you should be ashamed of cropping, even 'though you should be
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    If you believe that every good, photographicable scene is guaranteed to fit exactly into the aspect ratio of your camera, than you have no excuse for cropping.

    And if you believe that it is always possible to stand in the location that is ideally suited for making a full frame photo of every good, photographicable scene, than you have no excuse for cropping.

    On the other hand, if your real world includes square subjects, narrow vertical subjects, shallow horizontal subjects, round subjects, subjects suited to a 4/3 aspect ratio, subjects suited to a 5/7 ratio, subjects suited to a 4/5 ratio, subjects suited to a 2/3 ratio and subjects on the other, inaccessable side of the river, than cropping is permitted.

    My rule of thumb? Get the most out of what you have in the camera, and then crop (where required) later.
     
  8. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    Photographers have been arguing about cropping for as long as they've been able to do it. The camera, the film, and the paper, obviously, do not care one way or the other. As a practical matter, I try to get it in camera as close as I can because it saves work later. And there are aspects of the photo that can't be changed once it's taken. But to say to myself, once I get in the darkroom, I can't make any further editing to the photo, is just a mental block I have no personal need for. I reserve for myself the option of thinking about the image I want to make when I have the film in the enlarger. We frequently say here that the print is an interpretation of the negative, and there are many ways to do that. Arbitrarily saying one of several possible tools of interpretation is ruled out makes no sense to me. If you want to live with that stricture, and it works for you, fine, but I'm not going to.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  10. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    Ahh but you are missing the point, Matt. One should ALWAYS carry a 6 x 4.5 camera for those 4:3 aspect ratio compositions, an 8 x 6 for those pesky 7:5 compositions; a 4 x 5 (of course); and a 35mm (preferably a rangefinder) for images that do not bend to any visualisation other then 3:2.
     
  11. canuhead

    canuhead Member

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    ^^^^ this

    Why framing in camera is sacrosanct is beyond me. My eyes do not see 2:3 or 4:5 or what have you. If you can compose perfectly in camera, great, but if a slight or major crop is necessary, have at it.

    and yes, I shoot rf as well and accurate framing is a joke but it gets me close :wink:
     
  12. Robert Ridyard

    Robert Ridyard Member

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    Photographs are made twice -- once in the camera, then in the darkroom (or lightroom). If you push the non-cropping philosophy, the only acceptable image is a contact print.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i sometimes crop contact prints ...

    i think it is the photographer's prerogative to do whatever he or she wants
    cropping in-camera, under the enlarger, with the mat, thumb, or computer et al.

    a lot of people shoot "full frame" because they like to ... i see nothing wrong with that ..
     
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  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think Sinsabaugh's prints were cropped contact prints.

    Meaning--they were certainly contact prints, but I don't know if he printed and then cut the print or if he cut the negative.
     
  16. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    One thing to keep in mind, if you have parallax-correcting brightlines.

    The subject at infinity does not move with parallax.

    To critically analyze composition that includes a mix of near and far with a rangefinder... For the far subject matter you have to consider where the brightlines were when you are focused at infinity.

    I think you thought you had it out of the frame when you shot.
     
  17. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    The sancrosanct rule against cropping is the instrumentalization of a particular theoretical positioning: if making a photograph involves framing and selecting in a manner representative or expressive of one's vision, then the value of a photograph should be proportional to the value of the visualization effort done at the moment of exposure.

    In other words, if you believe that the original act of seeing is of paramount importance in the final result, then you will maximize the means to demonstrate your talent, i.e. by not cropping.

    This kind of aesthetic principle aims at being a generalizable one, and therein lies the problem for me. While I agree that a good eye needs training, and that trying to match the camera's point of view with one's eye (by shooting full-frame) is a great exercise in compositional rigour, I don't think that's the royal way to photographic quality. Far from it. By doing so, you are cultivating only one kind of seeing.

    My habit is to try to see as best as I can when I shoot, but whatever needs adjusting in the darkroom gets done. I have a tendency to prefer accomplishing a full-frame picture when I shoot 6x6 square rather than 24x36 rectangle. I'm a lazy rectangular: most of the time images from my 24x36 negs will end up being whatever fits nicely into a 8x10 or a 11x14 paper. Obviously, there are also pictures that I always print full-frame, since that's how I like them best anyway. In other words, my rationale for cropping or not cropping is often one of convenience and process.

    But I urge anyone to disregard the teaching of "Masters" (tm) who want to tell you what "Good" (tm) photography is all about. HCB is not God, and will never be. But those people running workshop sometimes behave as if they are...
     
  18. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Yes, indeed. Cropping is just another of the many tools, like developing and printing, that many photographers use. Decades ago, when most of my photography was 35mm Kodachrome intended for projection, those tools were unavailable. Now, free from such constrictions, photography is more satisfying. Uncropped photos are fine for the casual snapshooter and for a few good photographers more concerned with taking a photograph than with producing the best possible image.
     
  19. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Don't get me wrong guys, as I am not saying that I think not to crop is sacrosanct and indeed my gallery post “Finders, keepers” is obviously cropped from the original 3:2 aspect ratio. However, I sometimes think that leaving in the odd dross at the edges, reminds us of the real way we see, with peripheral vision.
     
  20. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Clive,

    Do you allude to a theory that if you crop out what you felt you needed to crop out when exposing the film, we leave out the idea of why we thought it should be cropped?

    Are you interested in showing what made the frame work, or are you interested in showing how your mind came up with the idea of what works?
    I think it should be about showing a finished work, which isn't about an idea, but the result of the idea ( or lightbulb moment, or emotional inclination, or just a reaction).
     
  21. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I'm not sure I quite follow you Thomas, but I don't think I'm trying to show an idea, or the result of an idea, but the image within that frame.
     
  22. ROL

    ROL Member

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    Well, keep begging! The print is the thing.

    Maybe you ought to seriously crop the absurd amount of academic questions you pose on these forums. :tongue:
     
  23. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I do not crop. It is part of the way I see and work in the landscape. It is a personal choice, but I do not hold it as a religious belief that all should follow. And I do not think less of someone's cropped image than I would of someone's full-frame image. I do some cropping in-camera by means of a modified darkslide that gives me two 4x10 images on an 8x10 piece of film. And "one of these days" I will modify a darkslide to make 8x8 images on 8x10 film. I do love the square.

    I do not dodge or burn either, again from personal choice. It has nothing to do with "purity"...it is just the way I see and work with the light.

    Jim J. -- I am deeply concerned about getting the best possible print, which includes the image. In fact that is my photographic goal -- to be able to see intensely enough to find the best possible image that does not require cropping, burning or dodging. I contact print using either carbon printing or platinum/palladium printing. And for the record, when I was silver gelatin printing (the first 15 years of my 35 years of photography), I would sometimes crop and did a lot of burning and a little bit of dodging, so I am quite familiar with the techniques. In fact, I can remember doing 25 sec base exposures, and then spend the next 10 to 15 minutes burning in the image. I saw the paper as a piece of marble and I would use the light to chisle down into it to revel the darker insides.

    For beginner photographers, shooting and printing full-frame is a good exercise for training one's eye...for quickly learning to see as the camera/lens sees. For the same reason, using only one prime lens is also a good exercise for beginners. Both help them to be aware of what is happening in the corners and sides of the image -- those are important as they define what is happening in the center.

    Vaughn

    PS...below is a heavily burned in image on the left (Truman Cove, South Island, NZ). And a "straight" pt/pd print on the right (El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite Valley). Both are full-frame.
     

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  24. Dinesh

    Dinesh Subscriber

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    That's going to leave a mark!
     
  25. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    I agree with this. Eventually one should acquire and use all available tools, though.
     
  26. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I would modify this to: "One should be familiar with the available tools and use those which contribute to one's way of seeing." Cropping is a tool that one may or may not wish to use for a specific image.