I compose full frame and print full frame most of the time. On occasion I'll change.
Ninety-nine percent of my printing is by contact printing the camera negative -- usually carbon prints or platinum prints. I prefer to show the rebate of the film when matting the platinum prints, so full-frame it is for me. Plus sometimes cropping the negative is not an option, as in the image below.
And I understand what eddym is driving at with all the crop-crop-cropping. But I don't feel it that way. Instead I fill the frame with as much of the place as I can. It is actually all the same thing, just different ways of seeing and approaching the subject, I suppose.
I have expanded my options. I primarily use an 8x10 camera. I have a modified dark slide that allows me to expose two 4x10's on an 8x10 piece of film. The 4x10 becomes a full frame image -- not a cropped 8x10. I have an extra darkslide lying around here somewhere that I will modify to give me an 8x8 negative on an 8x10 sheet of film. (I began photographing with a Rolleiflex, and do like the square!) Three different formats and the film rebate is maintained around the images.
It can easily argued that all I am doing is cropping the negative before I expose it. But I tend to see it as carrying three different format cameras wrapped up into one.
My Three Boys
Diana Camera, Expired TechPan
Scanned carbon print
Last edited by Vaughn; 10-17-2010 at 01:56 AM. Click to view previous post history.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can be a good day of exercise.
I try to shoot full frame where I can, but have no problems cropping if I feel the final print needs it. As a woman I reserve the right to change my mind at any given time. That's what makes art and life interesting.
photograpy *is* cropping
Photography differs from painting in some fundamental ways. The biggest IMHO is the way the image is created. In painting the artist starts with a blank canvas and adds things to it. In photography the artists starts with a full and chaotic "canvas" and subtracts those things which distract from the image he/she wants to show. This is, fundamentally, cropping.
There's no reason I can think of to stop cropping at a particular point, such as the camera's framing. We pick lenses to show what we want. We pick points of view to show what we want. So why not pick aspect ratios to show what we want?
I used to compose to the frame. But the longer I worked in photography, the more I began to see compositions that had aspect ratios different from the camera's built in ratio. So... I went with the image.
Turns out I tend to see a log of images in the golden ratio. I don't know why. But there are very few cameras made that work with the golden ratio full frame. In large format there's the fairly rare 8x5 which is very close.
I also tend to see panoramas, but in 1:sqrt(5), not the "normal" pano ratios of 1:2.5 and longer. Again, I don't know why. All I know is that I shot and framed a lot, and when I measured the final prints and ran the numbers, that's what I was coming up with.
I'm just sayin' there's nothing wrong with following your artistic instincts. There's no reason at all to force your art into some camera manufacturer's arbitrary aspect ratio. You can if you want to. But you don't *have* to.
I can very much think of a great reason: the moment behind the enlarger is NOT the same as the moment behind the camera. It's not a simple "since I crop in my viewfinder, I should be able to crop after the fact too." Now perhaps if you're a rocks and trees guy, it doesn't really matter. But anything involving other lifeforms or changing situations as subjects I feel the composition at the time shows both the subject's AND the photographer's involvement/intent.
A reasonably fair and accurate representation of the scene and how the subjects fit into it.
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
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Maybe I'm just dense, but I can't really say that I get your point. How do you determine "the scene and how the subjects fit into it"? The "scene" is the whole world, all 360 degrees of it, plus where you happen to be standing in relation to the rest of the world. Unless you are shooting with a 7mm fisheye, you are cropping something out of the world around you. What is the difference between cropping by using a rectilinear lens and cropping on an enlarger easel?
Originally Posted by clayne
Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac
Everyone who uses an enlarger crops, but I agree.
To me, the thought of mixing formats in a series, for example, would never occur because the rhythm of the forms playing against the framelines is such an important element of the established rhythm of the experience (whether in a book or in a room).
Last edited by Samuel West Hiser; 10-18-2010 at 11:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
If using commercial print finishers I leave a lot of surplus space around the image when composing. Not only do C41 labs take up a lot of negative real estate, no two are alike.
I'm another of the slackers who don't get religious about cropping or not cropping.
But part of that is just the reality of the materials I use. I shoot 35mm and print in standard sizes. So I have a negative that is 2:3 (24x36mm). If I print in 8x10, that is 8:10 vs 8:12, so it gets cropped. If I print 5x7, that's 5:7 vs 5:7.5, so it is getting cropped.
Asymmetric margins would take care of that, but not with the print easels I have on hand. Maybe later.
But really, I like overshooting a bit and having the luxury of making minor adjustments to the edges without losing much resolution.
Maybe the software engineer in me just demands a safety margin.
I contact print. Cropping isn't really part of the game. What I saw is what you get. When I shoot roll film there is then some cropping, because there usually has to be. When that is the case I take best advantage of it, although sometimes it feels like a nuisance because I have to give up something. Sometimes I'll print the whole neg inside the paper aspect ratio with a border. I don't worry about it to much. I shoot so I can use everything. Crop or not is something to communicate what you see, just a tool. Use when appropriate.