Cropping the image
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?
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.
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Get real. As I've written about in Cropping a Negative, rangefinders cured me of that mania.
Crop if you want. Be happy.
I beg to differ.
Originally Posted by ROL
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
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.
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.
Art Sinsabaugh shlepping a 12x20" camera:
Art Sinsabaugh's images, cropped from 12x20" negatives:
If you don't happen to have a 1 7/8 x 19 1/2" format camera so you can shoot full frame, ya do what ya gotta do....
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.
Originally Posted by MattKing