There was a problem sending you an sms. Check your phone number or try again later.
We've sent a link to the Scribd app. If you didn't receive it, try again.
should be shooting with a long lens, or just doing close-ups. Not so. What is meant is that
any photograph is of necessity about "something", and it is the photographer's task to
hone the image so that it contains, to the greatest degree possible, only that which the
photograph is intended to be about.
There is an apocryphal story that one day the Pope came to visit Michelangelo in his
studio while he as sculpting his "David". The Pope marveled at the partially completed
work, and asked, "How do you know what to cut away?" Michelangelo's response was,
"It's simple. I just remove everything that doesn't look like David."
Cropping this frame to a very wide aspect ratio removes those parts of the image that
contribute to the story – 12 woman waiting in front of a medical clinic.
In 1924 the Ernst Leitz Company introduced the first 35mm camera, which had been invented a few years earlier by Oscar Barnack. In developing the camera Barnack had taken a roll of 35mm motion picture film and turned the image area sideways, doubling the format width. Thus was born the 24X36mm format which we have become all too familiar with over nearly a century.
Medium format film has always offered numerous formats, from 6X6cm square, to
6X4.5, to 6X7, to 6X9, to 6X12, to 6X17. Large format sheet film similarly has different
aspect ratios, with 5X7" being much more rectangular than is 4X5".
Go to the movies and you'll see a wide variety of formats on screen, as you also will on
your new wide-screen TV. Visit an art gallery, and you'll see painting, etchings,
lithographs and silk screens in formats from squares to circles to extreme panoramas. In
China and Japan traditional scroll paintings are done in the form of extreme wide aspect
ratio horizontals as well as verticals. And yet, there are photographers who insist on only
printing their image "full frame". In other words, maintaining the supposed sanctity of the
manufacturer's aspect ratio. Then there are those who insist on printing exclusively to
match standard paper sizes. What are they thinking?
This was in fact the impetus for this article, since it was all too clear that there are some
people involved in photography who don't have a clear idea about the nature of cropping
– why one does it, and how it can lead to stronger more communicative and more
There is no magic bullet when it comes to cropping. It is an esthetic decision and
therefore will be based solely on the photographer's creative judgment. Nevertheless,
there are usually factors which can be considered and discussed somewhat objectively.
On reviewing the frame my first thought was that I wished I'd had the time and
forethought to include the complete archway. But, as I explored the image I saw that this
wasn't necessary. The real story here was the cart and driver, and the uncluttered
simplicity of the wall and street. No cars, no street signs. no parking meters. This shot
could have as easily be taken in 1207 as in 2007. (The rubber tires give it away, but you
Now bringing you back...
Does that email address look wrong? Try again with a different email.