The Uncropped Versions of Iconic Photos

Here are some uncropped (or “unzoomed”) 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. The image above is an alternate view of Tank Man.

Guerrillero Heroico by Alberto Korda showing Che Guevara:

The Million Dollar Quartet (the woman is cropped out of the famous image):

Cover photo for the Beatles’ album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“. Notice the portrait of Hitler sidelined on the right:

The “Surgeon’s Photograph” of the Loch Ness Monster:

Do you know of any other uncropped iconic images? If so, share it with us in the comments and we may append it to this post!

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  • John Milleker

    If you like stuff like this, check out Magnum Contact Sheets at your favorite book retailer. It’s the contact sheets of many of the famous images in history.

  • Nelson García

    This is an awesome post Michael. Hopefully you can get more of these iconic images to be inlcluded. I look forward to enjoying it!

  • Merv

    Sorry but the Tank Man one is a completely different picture, taken from a different place (higher angle) at a different time (before the tanks had stopped).

  • Matt Payne

    Good call, just noticed that.

  • Myla Thomas

    Merv: I think you’re right. 
    There are four versions, you can see all four here: To me it looks like this is the uncropped image of the second one.

  • Arjan de Jongh

    The iconic ‘napalm girl’ photo taken by Nick Ut in Vietnam was cropped by AP, as you can see here (article in Dutch): 

  • Merv

    It’s the 4th one on that page, look at the position of tanks 3 and 4 relative to the yellow roofed bus on the left of the frame ;-)

  • John Wilson

    Halsman’s Dali Atomicus Appears in the Magnum Contact Sheets book (which is otherwise excellent) in a version which has been airbrushed and cropped Cartier-Bresson would not approve the black border

  • Glenn

    In fact, the only two pictures which are actually crops of the original are Che and the Loch Ness Monster photos. The others are clearly completely different photos of the same scene.

  • Md Izwan

    Henri Cartier Bresson – infamous 1932 jumping man with reflections.

  • Nate Whilk
  • Henning Nilsen
  • mtbdudex

     I actually like the uncropped version better.

  • Camilo

    I think it´s shot at the same time as the 4th one but from a higher level by another photographer. You can tell because in the 4th one the lamp posts appear in front of the bus and tanks and divide the frame. 

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  • TrollDaddy


  • Markus
  • Spiring

    The Sgt Pepper photo is also a different one to the one used for the album cover, even if it’s apparently from the same session(s).

  • erin

    Wow, the one with the tanks makes that man’s bravery even more impressive. 

  • Knur

    Original 35 mm filmstrip of behind the gare saint-lazare (Uncropped) :.

  • Burnéd Shoés

    arnold newman shot igor strawinsky, another great example and a photo that, imo, wouldn’t have become that famous if left uncropped:

  • Burnéd Shoés


  • Burnéd Shoés

    arnold newman shot igor strawinsky, another great example and a photo that, imo, wouldn’t have become that famous if left uncropped:

  • Burnéd Shoés

    …and another one by the amazing art kane who shot nina simone:

  • Dean W. Thompson

    I can’t say if this was cropped or not. But it’s a frame from a video.

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  • Pluvius

    When you see the Loch ness photo you realise that it is someone swimming doing the crawl with their arm up in the air.

  • Benjamin Reichman

    Here’s a horrifying example: the Abu Ghraib tortured prisoner in a hood standing on a box with wires coming from his arms. The cropped version that was shown in the media put him in the center with no other details in the background. The uncroppped photos are much more terrifying, because you can see how casual it was. He’s just standing at the end of a hallway, while others walk around:

  • Joseph Roberts

    and honestly too me, this “uncropped” one really shows what that man was standing up against, he’s just a small spec to an entire army.

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