Most of my landscape photos capture images in a 3:2 aspect ratio, which reflects my interest in maintaining the historic perception present in those classic 35 mm film cameras I first used decades ago. Yet, my adherence to this proportion extends beyond a fidelity to traditional standards or original practice. Additionally, the selection of this format frequently mirrors my desire to include a greater horizontal element when depicting settings in nature, similar to the wider framing of scenes in favorite Romantic landscape paintings; thus, of course, the obvious “landscape” orientation label. Nevertheless, rarely do I expand to a panorama 16:9 choice or stitch exposures together to attain that dimension.
Moreover, I appreciate a sense of symmetry in the gallery of offerings on my web page or when mounted for display on a wall in an art exhibition with a uniform look. Even on the occasion when I shoot a vertical “portrait” orientation, I normally retain the 3:2 ratio. However, I know various vintage cameras—including the original Kodak Brownie box camera with which Ansel Adams began as a boy or the 6×6 medium format Hasselblad he preferred in his later life—are identified by a 1:1 square aspect ratio. Although tempted to replicate their appearance in my photographs, with few exceptions I have tended to resist up until now for reasons of composition, as well as a reluctance to appear to be capitulating to a configuration associated with Instagram and other social media.
Still, I have developed a renewed curiosity and appreciation for the square form. My attention to an altered balance of items within the borders of the viewfinder or contemplation of leading lines through the exposed field has created an increased consideration of the differing vision—slight and subtle as it may be—such a shape with four equal sides presents.
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