the long and short of it

This is the 1959 movie Ben Hur, shot in the classic aspect ratio of the time

Wow. Well, as I promised, the topic of today is “aspect ratio.” Perhaps the headline for this blog post would be more accurate if it read: “the width and the height of it.”

The aspect ratio of an image is the ratio of its width to its height. It is commonly expressed as two numbers separated by a colon, as in 16:9.


Yikes. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. So what does this have to do with art, and quilt art / fabric art specifically?

I read a bunch about this and I encourage you to google it too, no matter what kind of artist you are. You probably already know about aspect ratio if you work with video or photography. Fine art has its own language of aspect ratio, and canvasses come in various pre-determined sizes.

You know how you are sometimes given a choice as to how you want to watch a movie? In the old fashioned aspect ratio, the image is wide and narrow, so that a band is left at the top and bottom of the screen. When an old movie is converted to modern screens, there is a band on each side of the screen.

An example in digital photography that I come across all the time is when I am printing photos… my desktop printer prompts me to choose an aspect ratio when I print a photo. Do I want it in a long, horizontal format? A tall, skinny format? A square format? and on and on….

Because pictures are worth thousands of words, I will spare us any more words for now and show you instead.

As you can see, changing the aspect ratio can alter the image significantly.

Sharon Casey has challenged herself to write 100 blog posts in 100 days. She invites you to follow along.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s