Originally Posted by Grumpy Old Man
Do this, and every composition you see will be a square.
Originally Posted by andrew.roos
I'll crop whenever I feel it will improve the print, and I won't feel bad, lazy, or sloppy when I do.
I have always try to go full frame when possible, but sometimes my subjects are literally on cliff edges and the angles difficult, meaning that I can get close to what I want framed with my camera, but oftentimes a crop helps create what I envisioned.
I also like to print full frame, hang it on the wall, and play with different matting options to see possible crops. Sometimes you see an image when you take it and you think that's it, but the image is almost infinite in how you present it, so eliminate the possible crop? I have an image that I loved forever, then one day, decided to crop just to see how it looked/felt. Viola! It hit the spot better than the full frame....
Is that so blasphemous?
It is interesting to note how Kertesz tightly cropped the photo of his wife. There are at least two versions, one with little or no crop, and one tightly cropped, which he produced later in life:
I'd say go with what you feel... and let your opinion change.
In the end it's an individual decision. I don't look at a photograph by Dorothea Lange and wonder whether it was cropped or not. My only concern is whether the photograph works or not.
Either it works. Or it doesn't.
I mainly work with two aspect ratios. Square, and 3:4. But sometimes I feel a panoramic image works better, so that's what the print ends up being.
Sometimes I crop rectangular frames square, and vice versa. But those are aspect ratios that I find appealing for most pictures, and it's how it ends up being printed for the most part.
I also have a problem with my eyes that I can't see a perfectly aligned vertical or horizontal. This means that I almost always get a horizon crooked for example, which means I HAVE to crop basically ever single frame. In the darkroom I need to move the rulers of my easel around so that I can insure a well aligned print. In a way I admire those that are able to compose a perfect full frame in camera, because it's something I will never be able to do, especially while hand holding the camera, which is what I do 90% of the time.
In the end, it's all just an exercise of carrying forward the picture. That's all it is to me, and I do whatever it takes to do that so that my aesthetics are satisfied. HOW I do it, is strictly method, and photography would be insanely boring if we all did everything the same way. Crop if you want to, or shoot full frame. Just do it well.
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
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I just realized why I joined the "don't crop" camp. And I haven't seen where we talked about it in this sense...
Shooting primarily 35mm and printing primarily on 11x14 (or projecting slides) in the early days...
I often had negatives and slides that were edge-to-edge amazing. And I didn't want to lose any of it.
For these shots the full frame print has additional impact. So I cut away the negative carrier to show it all.
Then I worked towards an attractive wide border on the sides to balance out the necessary wide border on top and bottom.
And that just became my standard.
Edward Weston didn't crop. However, I'm not embarassed to say that I don't think I'll ever be even close to as good as he was. I've found that limiting myself to the same proportions as the sheet of film doesn't always produce the look and feel that I'm trying to portray. I initially print my images to the size of the print paper, but the first thing I do when they are dry is to get two 90 degree sections of matt board to see what the proportions of final image work best for me. If it means cropping, so be it. For what it's worth, I've had several images, that have problems as full prints, but when cropped, turned out to be extremely good (at least I think so).
On a side note, as I'm writing this, I'm looking at the Ansel Adams calendar on my wall which has images in it of all different proportions. I wonder if the proportions in the calendar were those cropped/envisioned by Adams, or if they were done that way by the publishing company. Never the less, the images in it still look magnificent.
As I am almost completely in the “don’t crop” camp, but only use a standard lens with a 35mm camera. Does not cropping, perhaps have more validity with a standard lens on any format than say a telephoto or wide angle?
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”
On the other hand, Stieglitz usually did, choosing deliberately to get more on the film than he needed, so he could compose in the darkroom. Of course, what worked for those guys is irrelevant to the way I choose to work.
Originally Posted by Dan Dozer
Since everything is a tool that you can use I will use them if I deem then necessary. I do try sometimes to restrict myself using only a standard lens or to not crop or whatever. Bu I also indulge in the versatility of a zoom lens or to use tele lens (which basically is cropping before you take the photo). It all comes down to the finished product. Not the way how to get there for the viewer. How you want to get to the finished product is your choice and for you the best choice.
That's my 2 cents.
Last edited by Peter de Groot; 03-12-2012 at 03:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.