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An apology for chopping off heads.

by Bryan Terry Modified: April 19, 2013 at 5:45 pm •  Published: April 12, 2013

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.

 

Victoria Saldivar, 17 months old, from Oklahoma City stands by her basket of eggs during the Myriad Gardens Annual Easter Egg Hunt in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 30, 2013.
Victoria Saldivar, 17 months old, from Oklahoma City stands by her basket of eggs during the Myriad Gardens Annual Easter Egg Hunt in downtown Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 30, 2013.

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.

A contestant stands on his toes to reach the microphone during a Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan., 23, 2013.
A contestant stands on his toes to reach the microphone during a Scripps Regional Spelling Bee at John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan., 23, 2013.

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.

Caleb Bennett holds on during the bareback competition in National Circuit Finals Rodeo at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Caleb Bennett holds on during the bareback competition in National Circuit Finals Rodeo at the State Fair Arena, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

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.

Harrah's Darian Hill leaps for the ball beside Deer Creek's Shae Scheffler during their girls high school basketball game in the Bethany Classic tournament at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Harrah's Darian Hill leaps for the ball beside Deer Creek's Shae Scheffler during their girls high school basketball game in the Bethany Classic tournament at the Sawyer Center in Bethany, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

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.

Heist, a bi-color Persian is groomed by Jack Nichols during the Oklahoma City Cat Club cat show in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Heist, a bi-color Persian is groomed by Jack Nichols during the Oklahoma City Cat Club cat show in Oklahoma City, Saturday, April 6, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

Michael Elden, 5, of Blanchard, looks up at his father Mark Elden as they get their picture taken during the Science Museum Oklahoma for the Bright Night of Star Wars sleepover on Friday, March 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Michael Elden, 5, of Blanchard, looks up at his father Mark Elden as they get their picture taken during the Science Museum Oklahoma for the Bright Night of Star Wars sleepover on Friday, March 15, 2013. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

 

To all those who I’ve beheaded, I apologize.

 

-Bryan Terry

by Bryan Terry
Photographer
Bryan Terry is a native of Oklahoma and is a graduate of Yukon High School. He first picked up a camera while attending the University of Central Oklahoma. After working for the school newspaper, The Vista, he interned at The Oklahoman. He...
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