08 December, 2015

Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis - Cropping

Sony 70-200mm - Mt Coot-tha [Click image to enlarge]

Henri Cartier-Bresson (HCB) is famous for rarely cropping his images. This reticence wasn't sloth; but was a matter of principle. And his wasn't a voice in the wilderness. Jay Maisel, for example, also takes a dim view of post-production cropping.

I really love HCB's and Jay Maisel's work; but in regard to their attitudes to cropping, I don't get it. Cropping in-camera, it seems to me, limits the photographer to the aspect ratio of the camera.

But, dwelling on the negative isn't helpful, particularly when talking about the work of HCB and Maisel. So, let me go another way.

In looking at the greats, I'm more impressed by the cropping choices of Willy Ronis, the French Humanist photographer. When I look at his images, I can't imagine them benefiting from an honouring of the aspect ratios of his cameras.

I'm no Willy Ronis, but I rarely fail to crop my own images. I see no benefit in not trying to balance the elements, emphasise the essential and minimise the irrelevant. Sure, I try to get it right in the camera, but if it still needs work, it still needs work.

A 6:48 slideshow of Ronis photos:

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