A quick, yet unscientific, look at a recent cropping discussion
I was on a plane returning from the recent Worldesigns Photo Costa Rica tour working on my vast drive full of images. In the seat next to me was the principle of Worldesigns, LLC, Laurie Hernandez (know affectionately here on Holy Crop! as Queen of the Crop). I was working up a butterfly photo taken at one of our many stops along the way. Laurie, as it happened, was quite taken with the color palate of the image but not necessarily with my crop. She decided to intervene. Well, perhaps intervene is to strong a word. Let’s say she offered an alternative…
This is the uncropped capture of the image straight out of my camera. As long-time readers of Holy Crop! know, we first find the story and then carve away all portions of the image that do not support and strengthen said story. There are obvious distractions in the out-of-focus green leaves lower left and the green stem upper left. The clash with the color palette presented and have to go. Cropping seems like the logical tool to remove them from the scene. Then it becomes a balancing act of placing the folded-winged butterfly powerfully in whatever remaining space the Cropist deems necessary.
I saw the initial crop as a more square (actually quite close to 4×5) in crop. The above approximation shows what I was thinking. Granted, there is a little more work to do – especially burning down the lower left corner and augmenting he face of the butterfly slightly, etc. I wasn’t terribly attached to my crop at this point but I wasn’t unhappy with it either. Enter the Queen of the Crop’s voice into my ear. What she said precisely, I am uncertain, but she felt the need to deftly step in, assume the controls and offer her alternative.
Laurie’s crop was drastically different from my first attempt. She saw the value I’d missed, or dismissed perhaps, in the framing aspect of the entire leaf in which the butterfly was posed and sought to include it all. Whether for distraction’s removal sake or because it just worked, she went vertical and the resultant crop made for a strong alternate iteration of this image. Two different photographers cropped this image and two different visions resulted. He cropped, she cropped
At Holy Crop! we’ve long advocated that images can contain many compelling crops. The temptation to simplify this into a male/female perspective is powerful but, as they say, one example is a poor statistical sample. For now, I will leave it to the readers of Holy Crop! to mull.
Rikk Flohr © 2014