While some like to present their photographs unedited or straight-out-of-camera, it turns out that a little snipping here and there can transform good images into great ones. Did you know that some of the most iconic photographs of the century are actually cropped versions of their originals? Check out the gallery below and tell us what you think!
Properly framing your shots to include vital imagery and information can result in some magnificent photographs. Sometimes, less really is more, as these powerful images have shown us. We’ve compiled some of the most recognizable pictures and put the original and cropped versions side by side for comparison.
“The most used photograph of the event was taken by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press, from a sixth floor balcony of the Beijing Hotel, about half a mile (800 meters) away from the scene. Widener was injured and suffering from flu. The image was taken using a Nikon FE2 camera through a Nikkor 400mm 5.6 ED IF lens and TC-301 teleconverter. Low on film, a friend hastily obtained a roll of Fuji 100 ASA color negative film, allowing him to make the shot. Though he was concerned that his shots were not good, his image was syndicated to a large number of newspapers around the world, and was said to have appeared on the front page of all European papers.”
The Beatles cover artwork for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
“The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, his wife and artistic partner, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours.”
“Dali Atomicus (1948) by Philippe Halsman in an unretouched version, showing the devices which held up the various props and missing the painting in the frame on the easel.”
“Phan Thị Kim Phúc is a Vietnamese-Canadian best known as the child depicted in the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken during the Vietnam War on June 8, 1972. The iconic photo taken in Trang Bang by AP photographer Nick Ut shows her at about nine years of age running naked on a road after being severely burned on her back by a South Vietnamese napalm attack.”
Igor Stravinsky (1946) by Arnold Newman
“The final image, composed of a few strong, simple shapes, resulted from a severe cropping of this original negative.”
Aretha Franklin by Art Kane for Esquire Magazine (1967)
“Wanting to highlight her strong Gospel roots, Art Kane tried waving the camera in a circular motion to try to make halo shapes from the light in Aretha’s eyes. This photo is also a rare Art Kane crop as virtually all his images are composed in full frame.”
“Guerrillero Heroico (English: ‘Heroic Guerrilla Fighter’) is an iconic photo of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara wearing his black beret taken by Alberto Korda. It was taken on March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba, at a memorial service for victims of the La Coubre explosion and by the end of the 1960s turned the charismatic and controversial leader into a cultural icon. Korda has said that at the moment he shot the picture, he was drawn to Guevara’s facial expression, which showed ‘absolute implacability’ as well as anger and pain. Years later, Korda would say that the photo showed Che’s firm and stoic character. Emphasizing the image’s ubiquitous nature and wide appeal, the Maryland Institute College of Art called the picture a symbol of the 20th century and the world’s most famous photo. Versions of it have been painted, printed, digitized, embroidered, tattooed, silk-screened, sculpted or sketched on nearly every surface imaginable, leading the Victoria and Albert Museum to say that the photo has been reproduced more than any other image in photography.”
The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson
The Million Dollar Quartet
Surgeon’s Photograph (1934)
Purists might prefer untouched photos, but perfectionists may choose otherwise. It’s definitely a matter of choice and taste so let us know in the comments below if you you usually crop your shots or not!
From PetaPixel’s The Uncropped Versions of Iconic Photos.