2013 Review – Part 2: Portrait Format

Portrait format images get rather a raw deal in this age of looking at images on screens, even though most on the web are used at sizes that fit perfectly adequately upright. When I upload a set of pictures to Demotix, the lead image is always supposed to be in landscape format, and as on many other sites, portrait format images are displayed at a smaller size, to fit in the same vertical measurement. And the design of the monthly index pages of my own ‘My London Diary’ only really works for horizontal images.

The same happens of course in projections and other digital ‘slideshows’ though here on >Re:PHOTO¬† they get treated rather better, as on this site it is the width that is restricted – to around 450 pixels. So landscape images appear in the posts as 450x300px, while portrait format displays at 400x600px. In fact the landscape images are present at 600x400px, and can be seen at that size by right clicking and selecting ‘View Image’.

When I first came into photography in the 1970s, the books still gave the advice to ‘miniature camera users’ (a not too subtle put-down to those working with 35mm) to take both landscape and portrait versions of your pictures to submit to magazine publishers. Those working with medium format 6×6 cameras were told to photograph so that the square images could be cropped to either landscape or portrait. Of course I took no notice of such nonsense, always working to the frame. If it was good enough for Cartier-Bresson it was fine with me too! Though I was rather less successful than him both in taking pictures and in persuading editors they shouldn’t crop.

One of the ‘signs’ of a professional photographer apparently used by those security guards who are out to harass professional photography is that they take some pictures with the camera on its side! There are some subjects that fit the frame one way and others that work the other way (it’s seldom a good idea if you are taking video.) . Just occasionally I can see how to work with the same subject both ways, but they are often very different pictures.

Often ones that fit the vertical frame are ‘portraits’ of single individuals but there are other things too. It’s perhaps not a good idea to typecast it as portrait format, though that’s how I still think of it. Though I think most portraits I see in the annual shows at the National Portrait Gallery are landscape format, whether in the photography or painting shows. Not that I’m a great fan of either of these. Looking at some of the paintings I often find myself thinking a half-decent photograph would have done the job better. Then I go and look at the photography show and think exactly the same.

Anyway, here are some of my favourites from my pictures from 2013, and no, they are not all great portraits! The captions below link to the stories they come from on My London Diary.

Reclaim Love Valentines Party

Million Women Rise

PCS Strikers Boo Budget

St Patrick’s Parade Brent

Bring SOAS Cleaners In-house

Independent Midwives Need Insurance

March of the Beekeepers

Lawyers Funeral for Legal Aid

Anti-Fascists Stop BNP Wreath Laying

Save Legal Aid & British Justice

Shaker Aamer Daily Vigil Continues

Turks continue fight

TUC Support for Turkish Protests

Brixton Protests Gentrification & Evictions

Save Legal Aid

Abolish Bedroom Tax

Abolish Bedroom Tax

London University Cleaners Protest

Love Russia, Hate Homophobia

Malta Day Procession

Save Whipps Cross Hospital

Sudanese Call for Regime Change

Don’t Gag Free Speech

Letting Agencies Illegal Colour Bar

End Drone Attacks in Pakistan

Tibetans Walk Backwards for Human Rights

Tomorrow I’ll start posting some of my favourite landscape format images.


My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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