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  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poco
    To say that "Cropping is an admission of failure to see creatively" is to isolate the creative moment and both anchor and limit it to the instant of exposure. That restriction would make photography unique amongst the arts as the only one that denies the artist the freedom of revision. For isn't cropping just that -- a tool for revision that lets the photographer fine-tune, re-think, or just plain change his/her mind?

    Sorry, I don't get it. Michael, my question is a serious one: why must photography be unique amongst the arts and artificially restrictive to the artist in the way you propose?
    Poco,

    I'm not Michael, but I do agree with what he is saying. And yes, for me it is an "admission of guilt." When I was printing in Platinum, cropping during printing was also not an option. I didn't and won't make enlarged negatives or digitally output negatives for contact printing. This was because of my personal beliefs that they are inferior to in-camera negatives. Again, "MY" belief even though I know others feel different.

    Does this limit what I can do to edit an image, yes.
    Has this forced me to SEE better, YES.

    Limiting the options to save an image is not always a bad thing, if it also makes you grow as an artist. I'm not speaking from the view point of a commercial shooter. When I did that work, I cropped the hell out of anything to get the job out the door. I am speaking from the view point of making "MY" art. Notice the "MY" there, this is not meant to be a rule for anybody else to follow or be judged by, it is what I hold "MY" work to and how I push my work and myself to get better.

    Also let's remember we are on the APUG site here. It's not that hard to make the same argument for editing an image digitally. How many times do you here from the digital folks "oh I'll just edit it out in photoshop." If you do it right at the moment when you are experiencing the scene in front of you, your image might be closer to the feeling that scene gave you. For some people this is not as important.

    Also I believe Don hit on a good point. There seems to be a difference in the way you look at this topic (to crop or not) based on the format and type of work you are doing. I do landscape and figure work, and I shoot LF negatives. I can see the whole image on the ground glass clear as day. There is no reason for me not to see something that needs to be fixed before the moment of exposure. If I were doing photojournalism, candid portraits in a fluid environment or something else, I would not be as hard on myself.
    George Losse
    www.georgelosse.com

  2. #82

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    Thanks, George.

    No doubt those shooting (U)LF and contact printing approach the question from a different angle. I think, though, there's a danger in elevating a limitation of one's individually chosen medium into a virtue that all others must accept.

    That said, you've very clearly stated what's right for YOU and why, and that's appreciated.

  3. #83
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    If I was using Large Format - and contact printing, I would be *very* sensitive to the frame. With 120 and the little 35mm I do now and my enlarger ... how does the song go ...

    "It's my party and I'll crop if I want to...
    Crop if I want to ...
    You'd crop too - If it happened to you."
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  4. #84

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    I had even forgotten I had written this. Yes, I'm causing trouble again.

    The Weston book will be available from us directly at a pre-pub price of $95 until April 30. After that it is $125 plus $10 shipping. (It is a big 252 page book). It will NOT be on Amazon or on any other of the discount places.

    Cropping: Jeez, you guys miss the point entirely. I said I didn't care how you made your photographs. When I see a finished photograph on the wall I never ask if it is cropped. (In a teaching situation I might, but not in any other, ever.)
    Now, I'm not the only one who feels cropping is not a good thing for a photographer to do IN TERMS OF THEIR OWN EXPERIENCE AND GROWTH.

    If some don' t care about that; fine with me.

    I assume at least some care is taken when exposing a negative-any format. That at the moment it was taken you thought it was "right." And then you get into the darkroom and second guess yourselves. Sure the pictures might be better that way, but as I said I don' t think that is the point. But let's assume that is the point. I believe that disciplining yourself to be more careful at the moment of exposure will result in many more winners than if you rely on cropping.

    Interestingly, 95% of the time in our workshops when we look at a print that someone has cropped and he or she has the full frame one withthem, the full frame one is better. What is hapening is that in the field gains are being made in vision. But THINKING about it later screws it up and the pictures get cropped to the boring tried and true.

    More later. Press check.

  5. #85

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    Continuing:

    Back around 1970 I had a student working in 35MM doing very spontaneous street photography. He cropped everything. I told him his photographs were better uncropped. He went and made new ones. He did not crop. He sent this new photographs to Creative Camera in England. Three months later they appeared in the magazine.

    More to follow.

  6. #86

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    Cartier-Bresson, in his Intro to Decisive Moment, also expressed an anit-cropping view ( don't have it with me so can't quote). His argument relates to the importance of the creative moment when capturing the image. If someone can offer the quote from this work, it might be of benefit to this thread.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  7. #87

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    I believe that those who make "straight" photographs and who rely on cropping are doing themsemves a disservice. I don't care if anyone crops or not. But I do suggest that if you want to grow as a photographer that you will try to be disciplined and try to get it right the first time. And if you do not, figure out why and get it right the second time. I hope it goes without saying, but thought I better say it anyhow, that if you see the picture you want but you don't have the right focallength lens and know ahead of time that you will be cropping--to me that's not cropping.

    Good luck everyone. The mosy important thing, as I have said before, is the pleasure in the process. If you have that, the hell with everything else.

  8. #88

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    A Cartier-Bresson quote:
    For photographers, there are two kinds of selection to be made, and either of them can lead to eventual regrets. There is the selection we make when we look through the view-finder at the subject and there is the one we make after the films have been devloped and printed....When its too late, then you know with a terrrible clarity where you failed; and at this point you often recall the telltale feeling you had while you were actaually making the pictures. Was it a feeling of hesitation due to uncertainty?... Or was it ( and this is more frequent) that your glance became vague, your eye wandered off? ...
    Our task is to perceive reality, almost simultaneously recording it in the sketchbook which is our camera. We must neither try to manipulate reality while we are shooting, nor must we manipulate the results in a darkroom. These tricks are patently discernible to those who have eyes to see.
    I. personally, am an Adams fan; but can a reliance on darkroom manipulation to salvage a negative lead one to using digital manipulation? Then we do lose some of the essence of photography.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  9. #89

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    IMHO there are few photographs which can't be improved by some judicious cropping. Whether one does it in the camera or in the darkroom is a matter of little or no importance. To claim that in-the-camera is the only way to do it, or even the best way is basically one-upsmanship and pure snobbery. It is the result that counts, not how one gets there.

  10. #90
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    This is a quote from the [ Ansel Adams at 100 ] site at the San Fransisco Museum Of Modern Art:

    "Edward Weston was the eldest and most established figure in Group f.64. In his journal he noted, "Some have expressed astonishment that I would join a group, having gone my own way for years." Indeed, Weston openly worried in 1932 about how aesthetic theories too often "crystallize into academic dullness" and "bind one in a straight jacket of logic."

    I love that last line. Makes one wonder if we are, in fact, TRYING to "bind ourselves into straight jackets of logic".

    A wonderful insight into the "being" of a genius.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

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