In a separate thread in this Image Sharing & Discussion forum, I ask the question, "Which Karsh B&W portrait is your favorite?" (See http://www.largeformatphotography.in...d.php?t=67408).
Contributors have given some interesting insights and thought provoking observations, which lead me to post this new thread with the question, "Karsh: Flawed Compositions?"
One of the observations surrounds Karsh's portrait of composer Jean Sibelius (see http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...4.55643364534). In this portrait, two of Sibelius' fingers appear to be cropped out of the photograph. It's not clear whether Karsh cropped the fingers out intentionally, or whether they are missing because of the limits of the original negative. One observer believes that the missing fingers represent a flaw in Karsh's composition, whereas another observer opines that the missing fingers make for a stronger portrait of Sibelius.
If a portrait of someone is made with hands and arms fully in view, is it an appropriate artistic composition to crop out all or part of the subject's hands and arms in the finished portrait? In print composition, I was trained never to crop out any portion of a subject's hands or arms if they are otherwise part of the original composition on the negative. But now I wonder if this instruction is merely another artist's subjective expression or an established convention of the art.
Looking at various Karsh portraits, it is obvious that many of his subjects' arms, elbows, hands, and fingers are either absent from the original composition on the negative, or otherwise intentionally cropped out of the finished portrait. Examples of missing fingers, hands, and cropped elbows are shown in the portraits of Lord Beaverbrook, Bernard Baruch, General John Pershing, Stephen Leacock, and Cordell Hull, among others. (See http://www.facebook.com/album.php?ai...d=55643364534).
Are these flawed compositions? Or does the partial presentation or absence of hands, fingers, arms, etc. make for a stronger expression of the subject?
What's your view?