Square format photography has been one of the most popular forms of the craft since the early 1900’s and has become truly quintessential. When the twin lens Rolleiflex camera was first introduced in 1929, square composition exploded – both in the commercial and amateur worlds. Photographers such as Richard Avedon and Diane Arbus were made famous not just by their unbelievable eyes for the world around them, but were also captivating just by taking off a little space on the edges of an image. Cameras went from advanced medium formats, such as the original Hasselblad 1600F (used by many top professional photographers) to the introduction of ‘toy cameras’ such as the Holga and Diana. When metal-framed 35mms were still expensive, cheap square format cameras were accessible to anyone with $20 to spare.
Who knew something so simple could improve a photograph and its artistry? When looking at an image that’s square, the viewer’s eye goes around the whole image in a circle, honing in on its focus. This can help get rid of superfluous elements, changing the way you shoot and process.
For the month of November, take a moment to readjust how you look through that viewfinder. Take out an antique medium format and shoot a roll of 120 black and white film. Visit your local camera store, buy or borrow a square format plastic camera and experiment for some zany results. Use your digital camera and mentally slice up your photo before you start the editing process – just because you’re taking photos in rectangles, think about how you would crop your image before you take it. Or pull out that smart phone and install Instagram – with the introduction of this free app (for iPhones and Androids alike), square format is making a beautiful comeback. Test not only the format of your image, but also the film-inspired filters that you can apply to your photos as well!
To participate in the November Photo Challenge, simply upload your image to either the PET Subscriber Gallery or the Elements Village Gallery between November 1st and December 1st. Remember that photos should be taken within the challenge month.
Please be sure to place the phrase “Photo-Challenge” exactly as shown (without the quotes) in the Keywords field if uploading to the Elements Village Gallery, or in the Caption field if uploading to the PET Gallery. This is how we identify images intended for the challenge. If you’re having trouble figuring out the process, check out our Contests page, which offers more detailed instructions, as well as screenshots.
The possibilities are truly endless, so get out there and shoot!