Into the Weeds

I have been obsessing indecisively for at least a year now over aspect ratios.  We all do, of course.  Specifically 4:3 vs 3:2 in my ‘uncommissioned’ works.

But first some background.  Aspect ratio, or sometimes format is the width of an image in relation to it’s height.  The 4:3 ratio is what typically comes out of a  modern digital medium format camera:  44 mm x 33 mm.  The 3:2 is what’s native to a ‘full-frame’ digital camera which is inherited from 35 mm film cameras, both of which make a 36 mm x 24 mm image.

My current cameras are of the ‘full-frame’ variety.  So it would make perfect sense to just use the images it makes, as-is and be done.  But I was tempted by the 4:3 shape because maybe it’s a bit more square-ish like the traditional shape of paintings — if there is such a tradition.   And it’s just different.  But when I produce such an image in my own camera, I have to discard some of what I capture — trim away some of what I saw while composing a photo.  I reasoned to myself: “And why not?  who says I have to buy off the rack, take what Leica chose for me and the world 100 years ago?  

But after living with dozens of photos hacked into to an arbitrary shape on nothing much more than a whim, I think I have come to my senses and am recovering those lost expanses of width, and I am happy with my decision.  Every one of the Incidental and Grain photos I stretched back to full captured width causes me to gasp in recognition of the initial discovery-through-the-looking glass I had recklessly discarded.