One of my favorite sculptures in Central Park (anywhere really) is Alice in Wonderland. And I particularly like the Mad Hatter. Years ago, I was reading an article on black and white photography that used this subject to illustrate a point. I no longer remember the point, but the photo made me realize the time that I wanted to make pictures. There is something about finding a subject, finding a point of view, and then capturing it. Very appealing!
A couple of people (two, actually) have commented on the fact that a lot of my pictures are shot (or cropped) to a 1:1 aspect ratio. Where did this come from? On the one hand, the square format fits this blog style very well. Good presentation on the page and it fills the available space. But there is also an historical reason. I first encountered the square format studying the history of photography and the history of the Hasselblad camera in particular. Hasselblad popularized the square format with their 6 x 6 cm medium format camera (V System) that used 120 film. It was very popular for portraits and product work, which was Hassy’s bread and butter. It’s also excellent for album covers and many were shout using this camera. Ernst Wildi of Hasselblad argues for the square format in his book The Medium Format Advantage. The argument goes that the lens makes a circular image and using a rectangular film wastes much of the film. The square image maximizes use of the good circle of definition formed by a lens. It avoids having to turn the camera for landscape and portrait shots. There is also a certain formality to the square. I think a lot of people shoot this format for the Hasselblad look.
Most of this no longer applies to digital cameras, which have a rectangular sensor and forces you to “throw away” a lot of the available pixels. Personally, I just like the way it frames a lot of what I’m shooting now days, particularly abstracts and found objects. Enough history… here is the complete picture of the Alice sculpture. I had to sit on the toadstool to get the Hatter portrait.