When you crop the photo, you tell a lie.
- Doug Coupland

Join the conversation! 33 Comments

  1. That’s Stupid!! That would mean then that when you “Take” a photo you are “telling a Lie” because your camera is already cropping what you will see in the photo that is taken.

    Reply
  2. In taking any picture, any at all at any time, you decide what the subject, composition and limitations of your view are. This goes to film. This is cropping at it’s inception. To crop further is to draw attention to a detail or details.

    Reply
  3. Hmmm…. have to disagree with this, especially if you keep the original aspect ratio while cropping. Cropping is not that much different than zooming in with a lens.

    Reply
  4. I’m not sure if that’s profound or if it’s silly. If I comb my hair is that telling a lie?

    Reply
  5. Just for the record, I completely disagree. But this is what happens when you allow many voices on the site. Not all of us will agree on the things said here. Unless you are a working photojournalist, my advice is 100% opposite. Crop the $&@^* out of your photos. The final product is all that matters.

    Reply
  6. I see it as a simplistic way of saying you change meaning or hide something. Which technically is a lie. That doesn’t mean it’s morally wrong to do this… just a conscience choice of what you show and don’t show. Which is fine by me.

    Reply
  7. I love cropping!!!!! xo makes it perfect!!

    Reply
  8. So.. all photographers must now delete all cropped, color adjusted, lighting adjusted, and etc. if you follow this statement by Doug. Otherwise anything outside of the original capture is a lie.
    Can you imagine what billions of photographs would look like over the past 100 plus years without making adjustments to the original capture.
    I for one am a photographic liar in so many enjoyable ways and I’m sorry Doug for not being a perfect photographer. Amen

    Reply
  9. Cropping is not a lie, it is, like any photo, it is a point of view.

    Reply
  10. Here’s a fuller quote…. I still think it’s an interesting thought to consider.

    from Douglas Coupland’s “Hey Nostradamus” pg. 67.

    “Well, I’ve seen all the photos a million times like everyone else, but they don’t capture the way it felt to be there – the sunlight and the redness of the blood: that’s always cropped out of magazines, and this bugs me because when you crop the photo, you tell a lie.”

    He’s talking about media manipulation of photos… often NOT by the photographer.

    Reply
  11. I try to get my composition right when I make a photo, but sometimes a little crop will make a big difference.

    Reply
  12. I think that Doug meant was something like: You can use a crop to tell a lie. For instance cropping a part of a sky with a plane to get that perfect nature photo.
    Nonetheless, for me cropping is one natural step when photo editing.

    Reply
  13. Who wants to hear the truth anyway?

    Reply
  14. “He’s talking about media manipulation of photos” Phew! That was close, I was about to throw out my collection of Ansel Adams prints.

    Reply
  15. Oversimplification. Dramatic. A mentor once told me if the shot is extraordinary then we’re happy to forgive the technical shortcomings. If you crop to make your shot extraordinary, then it’s justified.

    Reply
  16. Richard Harrington….. Well that makes more sense now that we know the full quote from Douglas Coupland. There probably wouldn’t be any comments (including this one and my previous comment) about the full quote.

    Reply
    • Well, quotes by their very nature are excerpts. But I think the process did prove something to many folks (myself included).

      Reply
      • The cropping of the quote shows how much context can affect perception. :)

        As for being a purist, what does that really mean anyway? When I shot with film, I used to love Agfa50 for fall shots – the saturated colours were gorgeous. Was that a lie? What about format, lens choice, lens filters, DOF, leaving things out of our shots, shutter speed – and that doesn’t even touch darkroom techniques, either chemical,or digital.

        Reply
  17. This logic makes no sense because photography itself involves cropping the real world. So if I straighten a slightly crooked horizon in a landscape photo and have to crop in order to maintain the same aspect ratio it is a lie? Having the crooked horizon is less faithful to what I photographed than leaving it as is.

    Reply
  18. I think giving us the full quote may have just proved the point. The “cropped” quote has a totally different meaning than the full quote with additional context. HA!

    Reply
  19. Every photographer crops, whether with your feet, zoom lens or in the darkroom (digital or film). A case in point. I attended a kite making workshop. I took pictures of several of the participants. Nothing special. When importing the photos to Lightroom, there was a photo of a young girl threading the sewing machine for her father. I cropped down to just the sewing machine and the the girl intently looking at the needle to pass the thread through. “Young Eyes”. The original picture was nothing. The overall room atmosphere was not interesting. The crop made that picture.

    Reply
  20. I see nothing wrong with lying.

    Reply
  21. Cropping is part of photography, and most of us as we get better crop more and more in camera and less and less after. If cropping is lying, then all photography is lying. You are not showing that person/trash/car/etc. just outside the frame. Thus you are representing the scene in a subjective manner (which is how most of us think of it, not lying). It’s a different scene than the viewer of your picture would see if (s)he were standing beside you.

    Reply
  22. You know I thought that same thing but after using the crop tool and being able to edit out some things that I could not get out of the image due to some constraints like not being able to wade into the pond to get the perfect picture of the water lily and not having the right lens with me. I use the crop tool now and it does make the pictures better. But then I think Doug is referring to someone else editing our pictures which does happen at times. Just my two cents for what it is worth nowadays.

    Reply
  23. The very nature of photography is that you choose a pespective and tell the story from that angle. By doing so the photographer already violates Truth (with a capital T).

    Reply
  24. When you crop a photo you simply alter your original vision when looking through the viewfinder of your camera.

    Reply

Let us know your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Category

Shooting