Doesn't that sound sexy? Crop as Art. Crop. Art. Cropart. Hmm.. is this going somewhere? Probably not.
But anyway... I used to think of cropping as a weak way to fix a photo, and in so many cases it still is just that. But lately, I've been craving crop. Tight crop. Unusual crop. Square crop... yum.. aren't you excited yet?
What makes YOU look at a photograph? Obviously, it starts with an interesting subject and good technique. But sometimes you see a photo and you can't really figure out exactly what it is you like about it. Next time, ask yourself if it's the way the photo is cropped.
These three images (2x above and 1 below), to me, are the epitome of why I want to make sticky sweet love to a good crop. Use crop to trip your mind into thinking "wha, who, WTF?" Use crop to create an image the viewers mind struggles with how it's "supposed" to look. Faces have two halves! Bodies have shoulders and heads!! I think that's why I like these two images, because they cause the little gerbil in my mind to have a brain fart!
The photo above is of a series of benches outside the Buitenhof, in The Hague. What I think works for this image is the angle and the tight low crop which helped create the lines both on the bench and the lights and simply put your point of view in a place you'd never otherwise be. Really, who gives a crud about benches??... lots of bad photos of these benches out there (here and here sorry dude, just one man's opinion!)
But my comment above skirts the thin line between crop and composition.. even crop will suck with crap composition.. so don't crop only to end up with sloppy composition kids!
Get close and personal! Crop out (ir)relevant body parts entirely, it will help you pull the viewer into the image. Helps that the monkey was trying to eat my lens hood! :) I left in just enough of the kid below to maintain that classic baby on his belly feel to the image with his truncated legs/booty in the background.
Below, I wanted to crop out enough of the mom to really focus on the baby's eyes, but leave enough to show the context of her being held by mommy (context = story = connection)... I could have cropped in more and lost that connection, or pulled back further and lost some impact of the eyes. Man, I sure am arrogant about my own images aren't I?
The below images are just further awesome.. yep, I said awesome!, examples of cropping for emphasis! Get in close, change the frame of what your mind normally puts the subject! Remember what it is about the subject that attracted you into photographing the subject and crop out the rest of the worthless dead space!!