Where do you put your efforts when making photographs? Some people decide on simple subjects, and use their printing skills to achieve their vision; other people keep a simple printing procedure, but spend their energies on getting the subjects they want. There are lots of different ways to tailor one's work, but I was interested to know especially where you draw the line in your own practice between the efforts that you consider important in the making of a photo. Sometime taking a coffee break has no bearings on the making, sometimes it does and the whole photo reflects that coffee break (I'm just supposing here). Where I'd like to drive the question is towards the medium-specificity issue in photomaking. Some people would argue that only the medium manipulations (exposing, developing, printing) are what determines the value of one's work(wo)manship as a photographer, other might disagree. Sounds weird? Well what do we say about skilled painters? Often that they manipulate their medium in a masterful way: Turner, Leonardo, Caravaggio, all these people are called great painters in large part because their painterly skills are amazing. Likewise, the Photo-Secession school has argued over and over again that a successful photo is one that shows medium-specific attributes, and tries not to borrow from other arts. Even here on APUG, our basic premise is that there is a medium which we choose to work in, and that has an important bearing on the quality of the final result. An example that I ponder about a lot for example is the work of Spencer Tunick. As a printer, his pictures are often on par with a drugstore photo. To keep the parallel with painting, his manipulations of the medium are so-so. But his efforts are not into the medium manipulations, they are rather in the research of subjects and in the tactics developed for quick deployement of his scenes. The result is still something that still functions under a traditional "aesthetic" interpretation (a striking visual scene), and does not need much awareness of more conceptual forms of art to be understood, which are usually those that challenge aesthetic perspectives. A difference I would see between Tunick and a painter that would also create such "striking scenes" is that the painter needs years of practice to get the shapes and the colors straight (i.e. it takes him a lot of effort to manipulate his medium), whereas for Tunick the medium effort is minimal, and his energies go elsewhere. So do you call these skills outside medium manipulations "photographic skills" ? In your own work, what are the types of efforts that you make you consider essential to your picture practice?