As I walked into the office last week, fellow photographer Paul Hellstern said, “Hey Bryan, my wife’s friend is upset with you for chopping her granddaughter’s head off.”
“I’m sorry, I hope she recovered,” I replied.
I understand that parents want to see the faces of their children in the newspaper, but sometimes concentrating on a detail in a photo can add to the story, as well. In an effort to make up for this I thought I would post a different picture of her and explain why this happens.
I explained to Paul that I had already taken similar photos of children with their Easter egg baskets and I was looking for a photo that emphasized other details of the day. This is often the case when a person’s head or torso is left out of a picture. Generally when a face and eyes are visible the viewer almost always looks there first. By leaving them out a viewer is drawn toward a different spot in the picture.
After talking with Paul about this I decided to look through the archives and see how often I chop heads and torsos off in my photos. I was a little surprised at how many I found. Here are a few from the last couple months.
I already had a few photos of children standing at the microphone, thinking and reacting as they were asked to spell various words. I noticed that a few of the children were not tall enough to speak into the microphone and were standing on their toes to be heard.
Although the rider’s head was not chopped off, it was obstructed. The hat hovering in the air really was what made the photo for me.
There is still a face in this photo but the defender’s head was cropped out to emphasize the girl floating inches from the ground as she dives for the the ball.
Here are few more examples that are more common. Usually the photo involves a child or an animal that is not at the same eye level as the other person in the photo.
To all those who I’ve beheaded, I apologize.