As I begin looking through and processing my images from Japan, I'm looking at them wondering how they would look squarified. Why? Because sometimes turning an image into a square changes the entire feel of a scene.
In these first two examples, you see my original photo and then the cropped, square version. In the first, I get a feeling of how immense and dense the foliage is in the Imperial Palace Gardens, making the group of tourists look rather small and insignificant.
By turning the photo into a square, I've now played down the immensity of the gardens and have made the tourists and their umbrellas a more important element in the frame.
#1 = big gardens, little people. #2 = people in a park.
Which one is better? Neither, really. It all depends on the feeling we wish to convey.
In the second pair of photos, you can see my original scene, the way I saw the trees in the park. I focused on the leaves and let everything else fall away softly. Because the tree trunks are so bold, they stand out nicely even though they're out of focus. The overall feeling, though, is trees in a park.
In the second, cropped version, the feeling is different, isn't it? Now it's more about the leaves, with the tree trunks a bit more secondary.
#1 = trees in a park. #2 = colorful leaves on trees in a park. The emphasis decidedly changes.
Am I recommending we all begin squarifying our photos? Of course not. I'm just suggesting we begin looking at our photos in a slightly different manner, noticing how the impact of a photograph, the meaning in a photograph, changes with the format.
So the next time you look at your pictures, just for the heck of it, try cropping them into square versions and see how the emphasis, the entire feeling of a photograph, can change in the blink of an eye.
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