What Makes A Photo Work?

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Where Do You Crop?

The corrected image as presented for feedback.

Our Anonymous Photographer has done a great job editing the scan of a family photograph (shown below). In addition to changing it from a colour file to black and white (I think very sensibly), the photographer has also cropped the image, placing the subject on the left and providing some space on the right for the composition to breathe.

Above is the full frame photograph before editing, with the subject barely visible. For those who understand 'exposing to the right' (using the histogram), bringing any detail out of those dark shadows was going to be a challenge, so while the resulting edit is a little grainy, it is certainly a great improvement.

My edit of the file (before cropping) is very similar, but perhaps I have pushed the curves a little harder, lightening up the subject a bit more, whereas the submitted edit (top image) is a little 'flat' or lacking in contrast for my tastes. However, what I wanted to discuss with readers was where would you have cropped the image? 

Cropping is often a challenge and there isn't a single correct answer. However, if you were cropping this image, would you crop it so the white sky in the background reaches the top left and top right corners of the frame (as shown below)...

Or would you crop it so the bars of the fence create a dark edge, thus containing the composition better? Or doesn't it matter given the eye can escape out the top of the image anyway (no horizontal bars to help with cropping?

I don't think there is a single correct answer, but I raise it as a point to consider when cropping your own files. Okay, I know your photos probably don't have a steel fence in the background! But I'm talking about the principle - something to think about!

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