As a photographer, I can't help feeling that on some level full frame is somehow superior to cropping, but it is so easy to become enslaved to the idea -- a real problem when the corner of a sponge creeps into a picture of an otherwise graceful sink. So I crop away, loyal to the dimensions of the negative, but still feel compromised a little.
Not what we're talking about here, but...
As an editor, once a picture is committed to a larger project it must submit to the greater good. I think of both text and graphics as materials to be used to communicate with an audience. The editor is the arbiter is what communicates most effectively. So the writer is saying don't cut my beautiful sentence and the photographer is saying don't crop my beautiful image. The editor is there to serve as first audience and make decisions not everyone will like.
This is just one of many, many ways that the process of art is far superior to commerce (except for that making money one): The artist is creator, arbiter and audience all in one. No one to interfere.
"To a photographer the world consists of an infinite number of vantage points -- places to stand -- of which very few are altogether satisfactory." (John Szarkowski, Atget
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
It's always my goal to compose and print full frame, but I will not hesitate to crop in printing when it lends an advantage to the composition. I know that primes are always the best in any format and I use them whenever I can, but for 35mm especially, zooms are a very useful tool for composing full frame when the subject and shooting situation are anything but sedentary. I find that in most cases, the advantage in image quality that I get in being able to print full frame by using a high quality zoom outweighs the benefit of using a prime but having to crop later.
A camera is just a means to an end.
The framing it provides can function as a guide, something to compose to. And very often it is possible to compose an image in that given frame perfectly well.
When not, you recompose later, change the frame's aspect so that it conforms to the composition instead of the other way round. I.e. you crop.
The image - not the camera and its format - rules.
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As has been written before (this topic has been covered extensively on other threads), I ascribe no special value to a full frame negative. It it works that way, it gets printed that way; if it doesn't, it gets cropped.
I also like to always keep my P67 in landscape format rather than ever tilt it on the 'pod, and I'm very partial at the moment to square compositions, so I often actually intend to crop when using the camera that way in the first place. The 4x5 is sooo easy to change from landscape to portrait format that I'm less likely to mess with those negatives.
I also tend to compose using the whole of the viewfinder. Often I don't even notice if it's a square or a rectangle.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
It was, "Is it just me"...
Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac
I think it ultimately depends on your tools (format), your particular shooting geometries, and ultimately your personal vision of the finished print. See Cropping A Negative for an article I wrote on this very subject.
Like you I also print without cropping (unless you count cutting your photo paper into squares for 6x6 format printing.) To me the constraints of of the image in terms of composition and aspect ratio ends at the camera. There are times when I'm doing more experimental image work where I crop things but then it's usually done in a very dramatic and exaggerated way blowing up a small part of the negative as large as I can to produce a grainy, blurry blob of a thing. For my regular shooting, however, I don't crop. Perhaps a part of it is that I don't want to have to remember exactly how things were positioned if I want to go back and make additional, identical prints at a later date.
In a world of infinite images, it is usually no problem finding one to completely fill the frame.
I also fill my beer glass to the top.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.