This image was taken with my Hasselblad 903 SWC one winter morning during the opening blast of daylight – a moment when everything ignites into a harmony of striking colors. I was much in the mood for photography especially with the addition of all those footprints and not a single person in sight. On this occasion and on many others, framing the scene in a square made it sing with the sweetest voice.
Squares are uncommon and if you chose to put your landscape into one, you can congratulate yourself on an unconventional choice. In these days of digital capture, the square is becoming downright eccentric.
Having no bias for up or down and not being partial to across, square compositions can also be what you might call pleasantly ambiguous. If you’ve been frustrated by horizontality – try throwing a square around your scene and you might be onto something. The photographer David Plowden did this to the seriously horizontal high plains of the American west back in the 70’s and made extraordinary use of squares.
Many landscapes, to be sure, will never work as squares. But setting landscapes to default horizontals shows little imagination. Squares can create a surprising twist on a feeling. They can bring mystery through the door and take the mundane out to the trash. Squares can say something new rather than old, and can sometimes speak volumes when there’s otherwise nothing to say.
To see other photographs taken with the Hasselbad 903 SWC, go to the Location and Topic menu on the sidebar on the right and click on Square Format-Hasselblad. You’ll find additional commentaries about the camera at several of those posts.