Here are some uncropped versions of iconic photographs that show more context than their famous cropped counterparts. It’s interesting to see what photographers and photo editors chose to keep and what they chose to throw away.
Guerrillero Heroico by Alberto Korda showing Che Guevara:
The Million Dollar Quartet (the woman is cropped out of the famous image):
“Million Dollar Quartet” is the name given to recordings made on Tuesday December 4, 1956 in the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.
The recordings were of an impromptu jam session among Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. Marilyn Knowles-Riehl is the mystery woman seated on the piano in the Million Dollar Quartet photo from 1956. She was Elvis’ girlfriend at the time and was there in Sun Studios at the legendary 1956 jam session. In fact, her voice is heard on the historic recording.
Ty Cobb Steals Third by Charles Conlon Hilltop Park July 23, 1910
Charles Martin Conlon (November, 1868 – 1945) was an American photographer. He worked for New York City newspapers in the early 1900s, as a proof-reader with a photographic hobby before editor John B. Foster invited him to shoot photographs for The Telegram daily newspaper sporting pages and for the Spalding’s Base Ball Guide annual.
Charley Conlon took thousands of portraits of major league baseball players. His most famous photo is a fortunate action shot of Ty Cobb sliding into third base at Hilltop Park on July 23, 1910, upending the fielder, Jimmy Austin. Conlon was actually on the field, a common practice of the day, behind third base, under the hood of a large, tripod-supported Graflex camera. He was positioned to the outfield side of the third base coach’s box, in foul territory.
Loch Ness Monster – “The Surgeon’s Photograph” April 21, 1934
The “Surgeon’s Photograph” purported to be the first photo of a “head and neck” of the Loch Ness Monther. Dr. Wilson claimed he was looking at the loch when he saw the monster, so grabbed his camera and snapped five photos. After the film was developed, only two exposures were clear. The first photo (the more publicised one) shows what was claimed to be a small head and back. The second one, a blurry image, attracted little publicity because it was difficult to interpret what was depicted.
The image was revealed as a fake in The Sunday Telegraph dated 7 December 1975. Supposedly taken by Robert Kenneth Wilson, a London gynaecologist, it was published in the Daily Mail on 21 April 1934. Wilson’s refusal to have his name associated with the photograph led to it being called “Surgeon’s Photograph”.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
This is a rare photograph that’s more of a behind-the-scenes than uncropped picture. It’s a studio shot from the making of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. Often shortened to Sgt. Pepper, it was The Beatles eigth studio album.
The Grammy Award-winning album packaging was art-directed by Robert Fraser, designed by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth, his wife and artistic partner, and photographed by Michael Cooper. It featured a colourful collage of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover and lyrics printed on the back cover, the first time this had been done on a British pop LP. The Beatles themselves, in the guise of the Sgt. Pepper band, were dressed in custom-made military-style outfits made of satin dyed in day-glo colours.
The collage depicted more than 70 famous people, including writers, musicians, film stars, and (at Harrison’s request) a number of Indian gurus. The final grouping included Marlene Dietrich, Carl Gustav Jung, W.C. Fields, Diana Dors, James Dean, Bob Dylan, Issy Bonn, Marilyn Monroe, Aldous Huxley, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sigmund Freud, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Allan Poe, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, William S. Burroughs, Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and controversial comedian Lenny Bruce. Also included was the image of the original Beatles’ bassist, the late Stuart Sutcliffe. Adolf Hitler and Jesus Christ were requested by Lennon, but ultimately they were left out.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima by Joe Rosenthal
Mount Suribachi February 23, 1945
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is an historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
It became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and came to be regarded in the United States as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and one of the most reproduced photograph of all time. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank) were killed during the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, and Ira Hayes) became celebrities upon their identification in the photo. The picture was later used by Felix de Weldon to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.