We see by scanning, not by taking in a scene in a single, frozen instant. The eye’s focus of attention roams around the view, usually very quickly, and the brain builds up the information. All of the standard photographic formats—and most painting formats, for that matter—are areas that can be absorbed on one rapid scanning sequence. The normal process of looking at the picture is to take in as much as possible in one prolonged glance, and then to return to details that seem interesting. A panorama, however, allows the eye to consider only a part of the image at a time, but this is by no means a disadvantage, because it replicates the way we look at any real scene.

— Michael Freeman, The Photographer’s Eye