I’ve always found the limitation of image format to be fairly arbitrary, and have enjoyed using “alternative” crops (where possible) in my work. I enjoy using the Hasselblad XPan for its panoramic field of view and almost comic-book double-spread feeling, and I like the work of Fan Ho, especially the ones where he cropped down to a sliver from a much larger, usually medium format, frame.
Although I respect the power of the un-cropped, in-camera frame, especially for journalistic applications, I find the actual shape of that frame itself to be meaningless. As long as an artist is honest, and makes their un-cropped version available on request when presenting it as documentary/reportage I think that the potential for the shape of the frame to change is underrated.
Presented throughout this article are a few frames from my recent trip to India which were close, but not quite right. They were shot on various film stocks, all 35mm films. Some, like the shot below, were shot with the square format in mind, as the train windows really lend themselves to that final result.
Others use the square format to salvage an otherwise failed attempted at a larger, balanced shot.
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