THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT

thenormaleye

This original frame was just, um, all right, but I kept wanting to go back and find something more effective within it. This original frame was just, um, all right, and I kept wanting to go back and find something more effective within it.

By MICHAEL PERKINS

THE INTRODUCTION OF THE FIRST PANORAMIC CAMERAS in the 1840’s can be seen as a freeing-up of the camera frame, a way to more accurately depict the entire field of view open to the human eye. And, of course that’s true. However, the first panos were also an early attempt by photographers to deliberately direct and orchestrate not only what you see, but how they want you to see it. Let’s concede that the western mind tends to absorb information in linear fashion. We read from left to right, we scan the horizon, and so forth. So making a photograph that instructs you to interpret horizontally is fairly natural.

So the first panos seem like a fairly modest extension of our visual bias. But…

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