Hawaii. Am I a cheater?

Some images from Hawaii...hard it believe our trip was almost a year ago! We've done so much in the last 12 months.  I've barely scratched the surface of my Hawaii pics, so you can look forward to more of these down the road.

Last night I had a conversation with my (wonderful) neighbor that got me thinking. She's a film teacher, and we touched on the subject of purity in art making - making a commitment to the craft and not relying on technology to fix your mistakes.  It made me remember a William Eggleston interview I read at the International Magazine Store in Antwerp (stop there if you like magazines and you're in the city!). Here's the part that stuck with me:

Drew Barrymore How do you feel about cropping?
I don’t.
DB Thank you! Cheers. God bless you. There’s a part of me that feels like it’s not fair.
You’re right, it’s not. It’s messing with things. There’s something sinister about it. When it’s cropped that’s not you anymore. So that’s one reason I don’t do it. Another reason is just one of those personal disciplines. I might have picked it up originally from [Henri-]Cartier [Bresson], who was a fanatic of never cropping. 

When I started out as a photographer, I was VERY anti-cropping. You crop in the camera.  Full frame, baby!  You want less in the frame? Move yourself closer.

I agree with this still, and practice it when I shoot with my film cameras.  However, I opted to spend my film money traveling and so have been shooting digital since October.  Confession: I've cropped all the pictures from my Canon 5D to a square, because I like squares. They make sense to my eye.  I think in terms of squares when I'm shooting, and when I try to make sense out of that long rectangle...it just doesn't work for me.

So am I cheating? Am I the lesser photographer that quote from the interview made me feel like?  

As much as it crushes me to disagree with my photographic hero, I don't think that's true that "what it's cropped that's not you anymore". How is that possible if you are the cropper?  Aren't we allowed to change our minds as artists and still maintain our own sensibility in our work? What about the old adage about breaking the rules once you know them?  I think that's what made me feel it was OK to do this in the first place.

And what if we like to shoot squares but we just can't afford the film at the moment?

What are your thoughts on the topic? I would love to hear any and all opinions on this.  Feel free to gently berate me for cropping...or console me and tell me I'm still worthy of camera use :)


Candace P said…
Ah, cropping....I too was SO against cropping, I always thought you crop in camera, adjust yourself or your lense/zoom etc. but not after.

A few years ago I attended a workshop put on by two photographers whose work I really admired. During the workshop I found out that both of them have no problem cropping or straigtening after the fact, and I was a bit disconcerted by learning this.

It definitely challenged my thinking. I put myself there, mentally, and decided I was OK with having to crop after the fact.

After a few months though, I felt like it had made me lazier in the field, knowing I could "fix it" in post.

I can see where it could be of benefit, but I think it should be a last resort, not something to rely on to keep from pushing yourself in the field.

Just my op! Thanks for making my brain move a bit faster this afternoon!

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