Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/01/14

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: To crop or not to crop ...
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 12:57:11 -0500

That is the question. Whether tis nobler to print full frame, and thus
depend entirely upon thine eye, or to crop, and pull from the captured image
that which almost escaped thee during the shoot...

Or some such bullshit.

I always do my damndest to print full frame, figuring that I was - in
theory - cropping with my lens choice, positioning, and framing. But there
are those times. And those needs...

I think cropping particularly has its place when putting together a book,
photo essay, photo story, what have you, where a piece of a particular image
may have great value as a bridge between images.

And then there are the times when the original shot just doesn't do "it,"
but cropping can produce a really spectacular image - for instance, Eugene
Smith's much reproduced shot of the black boy on the top of the street sign
reading "Pride Street." Take a look in the new "Dream Street" book where you
will find both the full frame, which is okay, and the cropped image, which
is stunning - (although I still wish he had used a damn light meter :-) )

Cropping, like flash ;-), Leicas, Nikons, Canons, Fujis, film, etc., is just
another tool - some people don't like the tool, others find it

B. D.
- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of John Straus
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2002 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: To crop or not to crop

on 1/14/02 3:07 AM, Arne Helme at wrote:

> I shoot a lot of slide film with the intention to project slides.
> The slide is then the end result and cropping is not much of an option.

Very true.

> When
> scanning slides there is the additional advantage of cropping.  However,
in my
> mind set it does not seem right to do so.

I can kind of see this but what if you have a great landscape with a horizon
thatıs off? Would you not straighten it and make a print for yourself or
rather just not use it at all...?

> I am so focused on the entire frame
> that cropping is not really an option.

As a learning process this might be a good idea as you'll always be reminded
of how you really made the shot but it will limit your end results.

> In fact, all photos on my web site are
> full frame uncropped photos.  I like to think of it as publishing the
> potential of a photo, and not a final picture.

When will you make the final pictures for yourself and us :) or will you
ever since you said cropping is not really an option...?

> Arne's PAW #2 2002 with the now famous ashtray that started this thread
> represents my interpretation of the scene at the time I took the photo.
> of you LUG photographers are much more experienced than I am, and would
> interpreted the scene very differently, and probably much better too.  PAW
> simply represents my best shot at it.

I wonder how much someone else shooting it would have made a difference? You
had a 28mm on the camera, saw the expression you liked, & shot it. I'm sure
it happened quickly as I think you said before. It was there then was gone.
Maybe a different lens would have made a 'better shot' but there was no time
for messing with that and you used what you had in hand.

> So, should I crop, or should I have made a different composition when the
> photo was taken?  Well, I am not into time traveling.  Therefore, cropping
> the viable option if I want to improve on the initial composition.
> have been learned here :-)!

And this is the whole point of shooting, posting, and asking for feedback :)

The posting full frame might get you more 'cropping critisizm' BUT you might
learn faster than the rest of us to shoot with 100% of that small 24x36 neg
for a better final image... I HATE cropping for that reason...

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Chicago, IL

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