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|| News Item: Posted 2011-08-07

To Tilt Or Not To Tilt …That Is The Question
By Brad Shirakawa

Photo by Brad Shirakawa

Photo by Brad Shirakawa
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Love it. Hate it. Some ridicule. Others admire. Every photographer and picture editor has an opinion on tilting photographs. The Sports Shooter Newsletter asked several photographers for their personal thoughts on this topic.)

I was the interim photojournalism advisor to the San Jose State Spartan Daily a decade ago and I recall telling the staff shooters that “I don’t mind tilted photos.”

What a mistake!

I got a rash of tilted frames that didn’t need it. I swore I would never say that to a student photographer again.

I find that if you tell a student something, they will often take it to heart and sometimes go off the deep end with it. Nowadays, I would say something like, “Tilted photos are ok if they help you turn a poor composition into a better one, but I only want to see them every blue moon.”

Me? I tilt only occasionally. But last week I did it, while I was laying flat on the ground, shooting upward, one week after having right shoulder surgery, my right rotator cuff telling me maybe I shouldn’t be doing this. In that position, I had a hard time keeping the horizon line straight

I’d like to have blamed the tilted image on beer, but they weren’t serving any at this event (dammit!).

What’s your excuse?

Brad Shirakawa is a photographer and educator based in the Bay Area. He is also life-long friend of Robert Hanashiro and introduced him to much of his favorite music in the early 70’s.

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