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Outside the square – literally.

It’s called ‘thinking outside the square’ yet let’s look at this literally – particularly in relation to photography. How many famous photos that we see are actually cropped images of a much larger scene – sometimes a scene with quite a different meaning?

Here is the interesting story behind Weegee’s famous photo The Fashionable People. Turns out that Weegee was very cunning. The scene was completely manipulated to create the famous contrast – the drunken woman deliberately being placed near to the lobby so that Weegee could capture the shot. At the same time the image has been cropped in order to intensify its meaning. It is not so powerful in the wider version.

I think about what happens outside the frame, instances where the meaning is quite different. In this fun Sony advert there is an imagined story of what happens outside Einstein’s famous poking tongue photo. Makes me wonder – it would be a fun exercise to get training participants to look at photos and imagine (draw) wider pictures. A good team building and mental exercise.

I like the comment ‘stories are better panoramic’.

And who would have thought that Henri Cartier- Bresson’s famous photograph Behind the Gare St. Lazare was in fact not only originally cropped by a fence post, but was manipulated to make the shot more aesthetically pleasing.

Just goes to show you – there’s often another story beyond what we see.



About inclued

I am a teacher/trainer, writer and photographer, with teaching experience in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Special Needs and Staff Development.


2 thoughts on “Outside the square – literally.

  1. Oh yeh, great idea cropping the picture and asking participants to figure what may be taking place outside the shot. I also like to collect those free post cards and use them as props to get people talking e.g; ‘What does this image remind you of”, or ‘how does this photo remind you of management (or whatever the topic)’. It’s so true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Cheers, Pete

    Posted by Peter Smith | June 9, 2011, 7:22 pm
  2. Yes Pete, there’s something powerful about using photos – I like the idea of those free postcards. The more abstract the photo – or the more de-contextualised e.g. via cropping – the more info participants are likely to give. Nowadays with the image facility on google, plus lots of featured websites – you can also look at heaps of specific photos too e.g. funny photos or one’s showing bizarre OH&S practices – the benefits of easy web access and people who uploads pictures from phones.
    Cheers, Darron

    Posted by inclued | June 9, 2011, 8:29 pm

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