A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

That Unkind Cut - II
Friday, March 25, 2016




I have stressed in these blogs that whenever I am faced with a lovely landscape I control myself and buy a postcard. My days of street photography (so popular right now) were over in the beginning of the 70s.

My interest has always been with the portrait. In fact my most popular course that I taught at the now closed Focal Point School was something I called the Contemporary Portrait Nude. No matter what I do I must in some way incorporate or suggest the human face.

One big problem (for me) is that there are certain parts of that human body that are anathema. I would include neck folds (ugh!), the little creases when an arm is held tightly to the body (near the shoulder) and for many years the foot. Since then I found ways of including the foot. With hands I always want to show them in grace and this usually means to show the front of the hand in some sort of curled position. Ballet dancers know about this.

Lastly when I crop a photograph I never crop at the knee. I crop a bit over the knee making sure both sides of the thigh taper. If they don’t they will suggest thick Steinway legs unseen. Cropping arms can only be done if you crop not quite at the elbow and never (never!) at the wrist. Hands have to be show or you crop above the elbow. And of course you don’t crop at the ankles. You show the foot (or shoe) or you crop above the knee.



These are my personal rules and anybody who might disagree can disagree to their heart’s content.

When I was taking photographs of Andrea some weeks ago (I suspect she may be a spy as she disappears for prolonged lengths of time with no explanation given) I knew I was making a mistake with that left arm raised. It would have worked just fine with a black long sleeved top. Note how in the first photograph you see a bit of the elbow. That is a definite mark against my photo. If I cut that elbow dimple then Andrea’s head is much too close to the top edge of frame. That is another portrait no-no and particularly since in my past as a magazine photographer, art directors liked lots of space above should the photograph appear on a cover.

In the second variation of my photograph I have attempted to minimize that guillotined limb by using a photographic technique called vignetting.

But I must add that it is very difficult to take a bad photograph of Andrea. And this one, in my books, is an example of a good one in spite of...


That unkind cut 

Learning to crop wikth Lorian



     

Previous Posts
Los Zapatos de Charol

Evgeni Onegin & That Bond Girl

The Wonders Of Restrictive Limitation

Murray Newman - Smart Fish - R.I.P.

My New Muse?

Bass For Bach & A Manly Apollo

The Perplexing Redness Of Its Red

Cherry Pink & Hosta Blue

A Light Exists In Spring

The Lady Dare Not Lift Her Veil



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