"I never, ever crop...except when I want to."
—Frank DiPerna, about 1983
Sorry I didn't pull "featured comments" for Kirk yesterday. I was feeling unaccountably out of sorts, and probably would have mucked up the conversation.
I've never shot square, myself, and have always liked longer rectangles. Of course I've had to shoot with various square cameras over the years—my first camera-reviewing assignment, for the old Camera & Darkroom (R.I.P.), was surveying medium-format cameras, and when you review cameras you have to shoot with all kinds of things. My first review was of the then-new Mamiya 6, which shot square. I did mention in the comments that with the one square format camera I owned and shot with for any length of time, an Exakta 66 Model 2 with a waist-level finder, I cropped everything to a vertical. I didn't start out meaning to do it; it's just the way I saw everything. And then once I started, naturally I couldn't stop.
It was probably the only time in my life I consistently visualized a crop with every shot. Of course it all had to be the same crop; the work was exhibited around D.C. back in the day (it got nice reviews in the newspapers) which is why I still have some framed pieces floating around the house.
And this will make Kirk smile. The one summer that I did a lot of work with a 4x5 camera, I attached a section of a small, thin ruler to the inside of the camera back so that the camera created a more oblong rectangle—the same aspect ratio as 5x7. I didn't want to deal with the too-squareness of the 4x5 shape.
I've been shooting mostly with the GF1 lately, and am getting used to 4:3.
Of course, what Kirk is saying is, there was an aspect ratio that was right for him...so, by extension, there might be one for you, too; and, these days, some cameras let you choose. So you don't need to let yourself be bullied by the camera.
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.