To piggy back on an excellent post by Oklahoman photographer Bryan Terry, I too would like to add my two cents why we (photojournalists) sometimes chop off heads, intentionally in photos, whether it be through photoshop or when capturing an image. Terry is spot on, sometimes concentrating on a detail in a photo can add to the story, as well. Generally when a face and eyes are visible the viewer almost always looks there first. By leaving them out a viewer is drawn toward a different spot in the picture. As was the case with this photo of student Natalie Luther at the W.T. White Zombie Walk.
I too I decided to look through the archives and see how often I chop heads and torsos off in my photos. It wasn’t many, and generally there was a reason for it, to me anyway. As for these two photos they did not run in the paper.
Usually the photo involves a child or an animal that is not at the same eye level as the other person in the photo. Like this one of Rachel Thienprayoon getting her head shaved during St. Baldrick’s Day. Her eyes peering over to friends and family is something that was natural, not posed. I too understand, especially at a community newspaper like ours, that parents want to see the faces of their children and themselves in the newspaper, but sometimes the creative juices get flowing, or sometimes I want to approach an assignment a little differently, so for this I apologize.