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57andrew

To crop or not to crop.....

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Last night I was reading an interview with Henri Cartier Bresson. It appeared in Leica Fotografie Number 4 /1964. He said:

 

"I never crop a photograph. If it needs to be cropped I know it's bad and that nothing could possibly improve it. The only improvement would have been to take another picture, at the right place, at the right time".

 

There was also an article entitled "Has Black-and-White a Future?" But I digress.

 

The ease of cropping in Photoshop makes it so tempting I confess I do crop, especially my (non-Leica) wildlife shots. What do other photographers do? Do you share Cartier-Bresson's purist approach or have we simply moved on?

 

Andrew

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It was his opinion and he was entitled to it. If you want to do something different that's ok too. Don't get hung up with the idea that "because X did something one way so should I", there are very few rules in photography and you should do what you feel is best.

 

Not sure what any of this has to do with M9.

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Last night I was reading an interview with Henri Cartier Bresson. It appeared in Leica Fotografie Number 4 /1964. He said:

 

"I never crop a photograph. If it needs to be cropped I know it's bad and that nothing could possibly improve it. The only improvement would have been to take another picture, at the right place, at the right time".

 

If someone else had said it, I would have assumed that he getting someone else to do his processing and using this an excuse to be lazy!

 

I'm quite happy to crop - but like any post processing - I'm happier it if I've thought of it when I take the picture.

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It was his opinion and he was entitled to it. If you want to do something different that's ok too. Don't get hung up with the idea that "because X did something one way so should I", there are very few rules in photography and you should do what you feel is best.

 

Not sure what any of this has to do with M9.

Sorry - fair comment - just acquired my M9 and still caught up in the magic.

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Many - probably the large majority - of published photographs (including newspapers, magazines and catalogues) are and always have been cropped - usually by someone other than the photographer. Many, many other photos over the years have been routinely cropped because standard paper sizes weren't aren't the same shape as the standard negatives. In fact the only times cropping really matters are (I think)

  1. some kinds of technical or forensic photography when it is necessary to show the entire original photograph
  2. situations where a photograph is defamatory because it has been cropped to remove extenuating context
  3. photography for art or pleasure - where it only really matters to the photographer.

Speaking for myself, I prefer not to crop but don't feel guilty when I do. When I crop, it's usually to the same 3:2 ratio as the sensor - but I don't feel guilty about making compositions that need a different aspect ratio.

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To me cropping is one of many tools to use. If it improves the final outcome and can help me achieve certain effects I want, why not?

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I do not crop.

 

Waste of time

 

I too made a stamp : Please do not crop this picture.

 

Which from time to time did annoyed mad picture editors

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I LOVE HCB but he actually did crop if needed. For example, his famous photo "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare" was cropped. I saw the actual negative of this photo on the internet and the finished photo is a crop of that negative. Not much of a crop, but still cropped.

However I agree that the goal should be for the shot to stand as it is originally shot, if possible. Just my personal preference, YMMV.

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Ideally, it's best to compose perfectly and without the need of cropping. ..

However, that is not always easily accomplished.

 

Crop only when and if necessary !

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I crop - but I would prefer not to need it.

 

Same for me. I crop when it will improve the composition but where possible I'd rather crop with my feet.

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I LOVE HCB but he actually did crop if needed. For example, his famous photo "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare" was cropped. I saw the actual negative of this photo on the internet and the finished photo is a crop of that negative. Not much of a crop, but still cropped...

Not that small the crop.

http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/151499-post11.html

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Last night I was reading an interview with Henri Cartier Bresson. It appeared in Leica Fotografie Number 4 /1964. He said:

 

"I never crop a photograph. If it needs to be cropped I know it's bad and that nothing could possibly improve it. The only improvement would have been to take another picture, at the right place, at the right time".

...

 

 

Where is the problem to crop?

It is not a law of nature not to crop, only because a famous photographer gives a statement like that. It is his own opinion, ok - accepted - others famous may have other opinions. All that is really mo problem I think.

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I'm more likely to crop my rangefinder photos as I shoot 'loose' compared to using an SLR where I seldom crop unless to fit a photo to paper size or a particular frame.

 

Then there are the photos where you later see a stronger image within the original whole.

 

The downside with cropping is possible loss of quality to acheive the same size final image as if you weren't cropping.

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I'm more likely to crop my rangefinder photos as I shoot 'loose' compared to using an SLR where I seldom crop unless to fit a photo to paper size or a particular frame.

 

Then there are the photos where you later see a stronger image within the original whole.

 

The downside with cropping is possible loss of quality to acheive the same size final image as if you weren't cropping.

 

Indeed. The precision of the M9 frames just isn´t enough to guarantee a perfect selection from the world I have in front of my camera.

 

Still, I have (should have...) a definitive idea of what belongs in the final image. So, it´s my job to get the framing right, using the most suitable tool I have. And, with a RF, that tool isn´t the finder frame; that´s just the "raw" material. The computer screen is the fine-tuning tool.

 

There´s nothing to be ashamed of; a cabinet maker isn´t ashamed of polishing the surfaces of his creations instead of leaving it with the raw surfaces from the saw.

 

But, of course he does make his saw cuts as close as possible to the final shape he´s after. And so should we, when using the frame lines.

 

As an aside, no cropping would mean every image would have a 2:3 aspect ratio. Who said that´s the only legitimate way to perceive the world?

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I grew up in photography during the sixties and did mostly 35mm. There was a movement to shoot full-frame, no cropping. I did not understand exactly why, but vanity was a factor, and another was to use as much of the miniature format as possible. Of course, being an editorial photographer almost anything I did was cropped by the editor. When I became an editor I cropped less largely because I did not want to hear the whines of the photographers. It worked out well.

 

One day a fellow said, "There is no divine design behind the 35mm format." and then I read an argument for square formats that went, "Crop the square anywhere". And I'm cropping again, but not much.

 

I find the extremes of super-tight cropping and no cropping at all to be interesting. It must be old-age.

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With a 100% viewfinder on a DSLR what you see is what you get, so its easy to compose an image that doesn't necessarily need cropping. But the M viewfinder framelines are approximate at best and its impossible to accurately compose an image exactly. So I don't crop often, but I don't impose a daft rule about it either. In fact I often like little accidents of enigmatic detail showing up at the edge of the frame, but if its not interesting and I didn't intend it to be there, it gets cropped.

 

Steve

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I LOVE HCB but he actually did crop if needed. For example, his famous photo "Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare" was cropped. I saw the actual negative of this photo on the internet and the finished photo is a crop of that negative. Not much of a crop, but still cropped.
Actually, quite a bit of a crop. But HCB is right, he never cropped. Pierre Gassman, his printer, is the naughty boy who cropped. Neg below.

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