Is it a sin to crop a contact print?..

Discussion in 'Contact Printing' started by Sean, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,296
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    :smile:

    Well, Here I am at the beach this weekend before sunset. I find a great spot and get setup to capture the sun just as it decends and hits the water with rays of light. Sure enough a guy in a boat comes into the scene and anchors. I couldn't recompose for various reasons and he was only just on the left edge. I dev'd the sheet and find the shot will be great cropping 3/4inch from the left side to remove the fisherman. I don't feel like it's a big deal but in the world of contact printing will I be arrested!? :surprised:
     
  2. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

    Messages:
    809
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Location:
    Cary, North
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Mount it in a window mat and no one will be the wiser. :D
     
  3. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,571
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Tonopah Neva
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Sean, With the various and sundry assortment of cameras I use of great age I happily crop out light leaks and other troubles I haven't had time to attend to yet. 7X17 is especially troublesome as I had to modify 3 of Sandy's holders to fit the F&S and haven't yet got all the gremlins swept out. Darned if I'll discount and otherwise keeper shot becouse of some small corner imperfection. The most important thing I've learned in this hobby is to NOT be a perfectionist.
     
  4. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

    Messages:
    2,016
    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, M
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Sean,
    Was there something on the right side outside the picture area that you didn't want? I ask this because perhaps you could have shifted the front (or rear) standard (I don't know whether Deardorffs do this).
     
  5. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Crop!
    It is a sin to waste an otherwise good image. you could do it in window mat which would be rather cool, knowing what is underneath.
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't have a problem with cropping for a more pleasing shot, with no distractions, you are the photographer, and your image vision is what matters! I look forward to seeing the shot Sean.

    Dave
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,264
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    Crop it! If some one wants to council other wise we can take up a collection for a bulk order of drinkable fiber in order to loosen the rod and clear their brains. JMO though.

    I never understood the no crop idea anyway. Hell when we take the shot we are cropping a heck of a lot out anyway.
     
  8. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

    Messages:
    474
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    I also think thats a great idea to use a window mat. The idea of someone, decades down the road, reframing the print and finding a hidden figure under the mat seems kind of neat.
     
  9. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It's your photograph. If you want to keep what you regard as a flaw just to honor the imperative of some other photographer you've abandoned your role as an artist. Make the photograph work to suit your vision, not someone else's.
     
  10. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

    Messages:
    9,296
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One of the main subjects of the shot was a pohutakawa tree on the beach, so movement would have reduced the tree more than I liked. Good idea about the window mat, it should look fine. If anyone complains I'll tell them the micro-crop was authorised by APUG :smile:
     
  11. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

    Messages:
    1,399
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    13 Critchley
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    YES - you will be arrested and you will spend your jail time reformatting digital camera images for........oh I give up :smile: !!

    I use (as already suggested) the overmat to perform the cropping action. It works quite well, as is evidenced by the lack of an Orange Lodge Hall in the left side of the latest photo in my gallery :smile: !

    cheers eh?
     
  12. Alex Hawley

    Alex Hawley Member

    Messages:
    2,894
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    If its a sin, then I'm going to Hell. Might as well join me Sean.

    My image of Hell is constantly having to do product evaluations on D****l cameras and being constantly berated on photo.net for not removing distractors with Photoshop.
     
  13. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

    Messages:
    728
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    Location:
    Wilmette,Ill
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Crop away! I really don't think there are any sins in photography-whatever works, works. Why does the floor feel like it's getting warm?????

    Richard
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I can't get what I want on the GG or if I find a better photograph while printing I do not hesitate to crop. I thoroughly enjoy all the different formats I can get from an 8x10 negative.
     
  16. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,066
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    crop?

    Sean-Yes and..you could even mount it upside down if it works....heck this is photography....have fun with it and let the imagination run wild!
    Peter
     
  17. Mongo

    Mongo Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2004
    Location:
    Pittsburgh,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Crop, I say! Crop an image to make the final presentation match your visualization of the scene. If the boat wasn't in your mind when you were composing, then lose the boat.

    Overmatting to allow future generations to find the boat is an interesting idea...I wonder how many of us think of future owners of our prints when we're finishing them. I always try to keep that in the back of my mind...what do I want someone to find if they decide to re-frame an image in the future? I've been known to pencil in small notes on the backing board that are totally hidden by the overmat - things about the image that I think someone might enjoy knowing someday. An act of hubris, yes, but it adds a little joy to the finishing process for me.

    That's my two cents, and probably not worth half that much...

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  18. colivet

    colivet Member

    Messages:
    236
    Joined:
    May 28, 2004
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I think this is very personal. In my case I never crop. If I had to I would throw the print and negative in the trash and reshoot it.
    I don't think it is a sin, just a pity that you have to cover something up to save the print.

    Just my feelings and don't mean to offend anyone, it ultimately is a personal decision.
     
  19. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not a Sin, but you will be ridiculed, have your manhood questioned and be unable to show your face at any LF/ULF gathering in the world. Nor will your offspring, yea, even unto the seventh generation...

    Well, possibly not quite that bad...

    If it works better, crop the thing. If you want, do as others suggested and hide it under the window matt. OTOH, why is having the boat in the frame such a crime? Might be said to add interest rather than detract - but that's a call only you can make.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  20. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

    Messages:
    1,723
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    Colorfull, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    CROP!
     
  21. Shawn Dougherty

    Shawn Dougherty Member

    Messages:
    4,184
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Sean,

    If you think the print needs to be cropped then crop it. All that matters is the beauty of the final print, not the size. I recommend reading Mark Citret's essay "Where to stand and where to put the edges."(www.mcitret.com) He offers some invaluable insight into the issue of cropping. If you believe, as I do, where to stand(the source of visual relationships you create) comes before where to put the edges then often times you have no choice but to crop or abandon the image for some silly rule.

    As for using the window mat to crop it, I wouldn't. Firstly, I like to leave space between my image and the window mat. Secondly, someone could remove the mat and 'uncrop' it to their liking. Last and worst, someone could come upon it without the mat and, not having seen it with the mat, never realize your true vision. Hope this helped and I suggest reading all of Citret's essays. They are worth the time. All the best. Shawn
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Crop. Not everything in the world fits a 2:3 or 4:5 or 5:7 or other standard aspect ratio.
     
  23. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    660
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    If your intention was to exclude the boat, then by all means crop the photograph--if the proportions of the remaining space and the relationship of every space to every other space is as necessary as it would have been had you not cropped. Think of the "subject" as everything in the picture and the relationship of each object or space to each other, and not just the things--beach, clouds, tree.

    Trim the print to eliminate the boat. Otherwise, as someone has already pointed out, someday someone will remove your overmat, discover the boat, and, assuming the photograph is not as good with the boat, attribute a failed effort to you. Trim the print and leave space between it and the overmat. In my experience, when folks use overmats right up to the edges of the print they invariably cover part of the photograph, even if it is as little as 1/16 of an inch. And almost just as invariably, the complete image they saw on the ground glass is better than the slightly cropped one.

    Below is something I wrote earlier about cropping. Those who have not seen it before may find it useful.

    There is no right or wrong regarding cropping, But at the risk of being labeled a fanatic, I will quote myself: "Cropping is an admission of failure to see creatively." That being said, when the finished photograph is viewed no one (and I include myself here) ever asks or cares whether or not it was cropped. And certainly if the subject you are photographing does not fit the film format, then by all means one must crop. Although when cropping is done in this way I do not consider it cropping because essentially the photograph was seen before the negative was exposed--it just did not fit the film format. What I think of as cropping occurs when in the darkroom one realizes that, for example, the left side is irrelevant and needs to be eliminated to make the photograph better.

    For me the highest thrill in photography is the intense way I engage with the world when I am making the photograph. When the image feels "right" on the ground glass, exactly right, there is a great feeling of intense pleasure. There is also some measure of personal growth, but a discussion of that is for another time. Then later, after having made and studied rough proofs of everything, when I am in the darkroom the decision is simply: to print or not to print.

    Falling back on cropping as one's normal way of working deprives the worker of the intensity of the engagement with the world. For one who works like this, if the image does not look quite right on the ground glass, they needn't worry about it; it will be fixed later. Not only is intensity, and consequently growth of vision, minimized or eliminated, but longer hours must be spent in the darkroom making decisions on exactly how to crop. For myself, I prefer to make those decisions in the field.

    Over 20 years ago I dry mounted labels to the back of photographs for a portfolio of 8x20-inch contact prints I was making. To position them I used what was essentially a small (3" x 6"opening) overmat. One day I found this small overmat on top of one of my photographs; inside the opening was a beautiful small picture. I then moved the overmat around the photograph and found about a half-dozen other beautiful small pictures that, when cropped out and mounted would be quite lovely. Why not crop them out and mount these small gems? The only reason I could come up with was that I did not have enough time. But recently I have been thinking that someday I may make an entire series of photographs out of that one 8x20.
     
  24. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In a perfect world, no one would need to crop. All images would be properly exposed and developed. Printing would become a mundane chore.

    Fortunately for most of us, it isn't a perfect world. If you don't have the correct lens length for a composition, crop. If the film's development isn't up to snuff, use a water bath. If mat sizes were written in stone, they would be made out of stone (hey, another business idea, don't tell Moses), trim and mount.

    While I do agree with Michael's post in its intent, substance and theory, I find that being a mere mortal limits my seeing at times, so I do crop. tim

    P.S. Isn't it nice to have a place to discuss these thoughts with other people who care and love the medium?
     
  25. brYan

    brYan Subscriber

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Crop it to match your vision.
     
  26. argus

    argus Member

    Messages:
    2,146
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Crop? Nonono!

    Just a little application of the clone stamp :tongue:

    G