I always crop or not crop on the basis of the subject regardless of the actual negative shape.
For centuries artists have used the golden ratio to determine the most pleasant shape for a picture. I have seen very few pictures/paintings that work for me as a square. Even the ancient Greeks knew this when they designed the acropolis.
Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 12-24-2013 at 07:15 PM. Click to view previous post history.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
I'm trying to frame an image for an upcoming juried show. It's a square frame from my Holga, and I was planning to make a 12x12 C print. I've "staged" several options using American Frame's online tool, but nothing looks quite right. I tried a 16x16 square frame, but it looks just too square (if that makes sense). I thought that offsetting it to the top of a rectangular frame (say 16x20) might work better, but now I'm not so sure. Should I center it vertically in a 16x20 frame? I know this is subjective, but maybe hearing what other people prefer for square images would help. The requirements are a black metal or wood frame, and a white, off-white or black mat without ridiculously large borders.
If, as you've indicated, you haven't printed it yet, you might consider cropping it to a less square aspect ratio. In that respect, a more favorable composition might include getting rid of the bottom 20% of the picture, while keeping your "holga vignetting" at the top, for a 4:5. That would solve your problem, allowing it to repose more naturally in a classic landscape orientation for framing.
I do indeed agree with your sentiments about "too square". The show requirement that matting be conservative is telling, in an Eggleston kind of way, and from my perspective that sort of huge frame / small picture style certainly does take the edge off the square. I so rarely come across compositions that absolutely favor equal dimensions, that when I do, I will force them to other aspect ratios as a pragmatic presentation choice (see Cropping a Negative). It's your canvas, your art, your choice.
If you need a jury to tell you if your work is good, then for you all is lost.
Some people want to get their work viewed by the public. To do so, more often than not, they'll need to be juried. They jury not to be told that their work is good, but to have an opportunity to exhibit it.
Jury requirements can vary. It's best to inquire with the specific competition for their jury requirements.