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Photo Cropping

October 29, 2009
Here are the results of the photo cropping workshop: 10 different types of crop, plus a detail crop from an piece of my own work. I have given each example PMI comments, and in each case the original image is shown first, followed by the crop.

01. Close up of detail
p: The crop presents a more overtly sexual image by focussing upon the crotch and naked torso of the model.
m: The two most powerful aspects of the original image – the mask and gun – have been excluded.
i: The model wears a wedding ring.
02. Wide angle horizontal:
p: With the static foreground elements of the image removed, and the tight crop, the image is more dynamic.
m: There is a loss of context of the image as a family photograph.
i: In concentrating upon the goal and ignoring the other figures, the crop focusses upon the boy’s perspective.
03. Narrow angle vertical:
p: The crop follows the shape of the figure’s body.
m: The crop is an awkward shape, and may be difficult to use in a page layout.
i: The use of angle in the crop mimics the angle used by the figure to balance the ball.
04. Depersonalised:
p: The central action depicted by the original image – carrying suitcases up a flight of stairs – remains clear.
m: The implied context of arrival at university is lost.
i: The crop suggests that the viewer is complicit in a secret, which the figures are unaware of: that the contents of the cases may be significant.
05. Crop to abstract:
p: The most colourful aspect of the original image has been isolated.
m: The crop is misleading as it is in no way representative of the context of the original image.
i: The cropped image is both an abstraction and a clearer representation of the pattern of the fabric.
06. Crop to define:
p: From an image with no central focus, the crop defines the actions of a single figure.
m: The crop is of a very small area, so reproduction quality is poor when the image is enlarged.
i: The image suggests a relationship between two figures, one visible, the other out-of-shot.
07. Distant:
p: An interesting and highly suggestive composition.
m: The dramatic focus of the image remain out of focus and poorly defined.
i: The view from another table implies a voyeuristic perspective.
08. Enhanced emotional impact:
p: Focus upon the child as a single figure, looking straight at the viewer, enhances the emotive impact of the image.
m: The poverty of the child’s situation is expressed more subtly without the background.
i: The focus upon the child and doll as the sole subjects of the image, leads to comparison between the two – what the doll might tell us about the child, and visa versa.

09. Narrow vertical:

p: The crop exaggerates the slender form of the subject.
m: The image focusses upon the figure to the detriment of the depiction of the model’s outfit.
i: The extremely narrow format of the image would make it an interesting feature to structure a page around.

10. Bold, exciting:
p: The repositioning and circular crop enhance the impact of image.
m: The original image’s composition resembles a Russian doll, with a row of babies, getting smaller at one end. In focussing upon just one figure, this feature is lost.
i: The baby’s expression is ambiguous – it could be a cry of rage or pain, or even a battle cry..!

11. Discreet:
p: With a reduced inclusion of the more clearly defined and brightly coloured foreground figures, the focus is clearly upon the cooling towers.
m: The composition is a little uncomfortable – it looks as if the bottom of the image has been cropped accidentally.
i: The figures and the viewer share the same perspective.

A close-up detail crop from a piece of my own work:

p: The design of the tattoo, is shown more clearly in the crop.
m: The point of the image, which was to show four people covered head-to-foot in tattoos, has been lost.
i: The image, which looks neat and almost mechanical in its original form, appears roughly rendered and clearly hand-drawn in the crop.

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