With some regularity, I get private email messages from photographers commenting about the vertical images I’ve posted on Instagram (@bradleyhansonphotography) or on my website. I’ve redesigned my wedding portfolio to feature my vertical images, something of an anomaly in this industry that appears to be 99% horizontal. I get it. Walk into a wedding reception and you see the tables spread out wide. Go to the ocean and you see width. Our eyes are side by side, not on top of each other. For these reasons and more, vertical images can be compelling as they are outside of our day to day perspective.
In 1987, I bought Ralph Gibson’s book “Tropism,” from the bookstore at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. I had seen vertical images before, of course. They are not new, and many of the images in the gallery below are from the 50s and 60s, most likely a Leica M3 camera with a 50mm lens. Still, there was something about Ralph Gibson’s high contrast vertical images that made them even more abstract and surreal. While paging appreciatively through the book, I discovered that one of my favorites, the glowing hand at the opening door, was an image I’d seen before on the inner sleeve of Joy Division’s classic 1979 record, “Unknown Pleasures.”
The simple act of buying this book changed my perspective on photography forever. I didn’t suddenly starting shooting only vertical photographs, but I often found myself seeking out compositions in that format and trying to change the way I saw the world to be open to this exciting format. The 3:2 ratio of 35mm film (aka “full frame” in digital format) also lends itself better to vertical compositions because it closely approximates the “golden ratio.” (Click here to read the Wikipedia page about the concept).
To address my feelings about vertical image, to share some of my favorite vertical images from history, and to discuss why I regularly shoot vertical photographs with my wedding work, I’ve decided to create this blog post to provide additional insight. You can view my wedding images via the two galleries under “portfolio,” or you can view my favorite vertical wedding images through this link here:
To see more Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN portraits, wedding photography and weddings all over the world, visit my main portfolio on bradleyhanson.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 206-393-8292 and we can discuss your wedding plans in detail.