Are you a taker or a maker?
I know that this forum covers a wide spectrum of photographic thought and practice. That is, perhaps, its best feature. Leave me define my terminology here. A taker is one responding intuitively and grabs a photo as inspired by circumstances. A maker is a person that is given to a more thoughtful approach.
I do not consider one approach to be better than the other. I think that every photographer on this forum does some of both. Primarily, though, we are one or the other. I am guessing that your decision is based on who you are, how you approach life and what are your areas of interest.
I am guessing also that the takers are more inclined to use a general method of exposure and development and the makers are more likely to use a more systematic approach. The takers I am conjecturing are more likely to use film in rolls and the makers more likely to use film in sheets.
I will start off. I consider myself to be a maker. I use a 35mm camera in a manner that may well offend Oscar Barnack's ghost. My primary interest is in scenic, nature and still life. I am inclined to think that all tripods are too damned light.
Now it is your turn.
Well I am a thoughtful taker, I guess. I do not believe I make photographs. I find them. SOmthing catches my eye and I wander around it until I find what cought me. So, I take photographs because I use that moment that caught my eye as the place to start thinking. Calling myself a taker maker would just sound silly I do use a general way of exposing that works for me in my neck of the woods, but nothng special. I rarely shoot anything without a tripod. Unless it is my very quick son. I use roll and sheet and am comfortable in each environment. In fact I noticed that I work in the same mind set with both. I can't see the purpose of shooting a whole roll of film on one thing, except my son of course.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
I make an effort to be both, actually, depending on the image, circumstance, etc. Sometimes I like to "interpret" a scene, "making" it into the fantasy I might see in my mind. At other times, I like to "document" the scene, object, or whatever - trying to tell its story. Studio work, however, is almost exclusively "make" in nature, and usually well-planned and orchestrated in advance.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
That would depend upon the subject matter me thinks.
If I'm out street shooting or reportage, then when I see a capture developing (excuse the pun) before my eyes, then I wait until I think the moment has arrived and take the shot.
If I'm working with a model, my cat or my dog in action (realised I didn't have any pictures until she was last ill and she's 91 in dog years) I either set up the shot or set up the situation and let it evolve into a shot.
I don't think any of my pictures are taken without thought, even if the thought window is only 2 or 3 seconds.
I've always felt that 'taking' and 'shooting' were unfortunate words for photography. I shoot 35mm and medium format rangefinder and rarely use a tripod. That said, I am still deliberately looking for photographs. The image itself may take 1/60th of a second or less to be recorded on the film, but I'm always observing the world around me for photographs to be made. Even when I don't have the camera with me. Whether you choose to shoot "from the hip" or set up a view camera with a tripod, you should always consider yourself engaged in a creative process.
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Thanks for starting this thread, as this is something I have been giving a lot of though to lately. Many of my favorite pictures have been "taken" on the fly. Something catches my eye and I shoot it. My large format work is much more in the mode of making, and I don't have as many favorites in that format. But, my favorite image I have was "made" in 4x5. Many others I think are good as well, it just seems like I have a bunch that I thought would be good that aren't that were shot on 4x5. I also have a bunch of weak images I have "taken", but I am not generally bothered by those since I didn't expect much from them.
The one thing I have noticed is I need to be in the right mood to make either method work for me. This is why I use different formats - I just need to choose the right one for my mood.
Last edited by L Gebhardt; 04-07-2005 at 08:01 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I consider myself a maker rather than taker.
When I walk around with a camera trying to find images I am never happy with the results.
When I plan a shoot, from location , camera , film choice bla bla bla, I am generally happier with the results.
A lot of my work revolves around printing processes that I use, and my projects are thought about endlessley in the darkroom while fliping prints.
I am looking for an image alreadly planted in my thick head and I know it as soon as I see it . the photographing side of my life is very quick compared to the final print execution.
I guess my definition is a little different from yours. I would consider "taking" as capturing something as it is, without modifying it at the source. Thus, my 4x5 landscape shots on the tripod are generally images that I take.
If I modify the image at the source, either with lighting, creative filtering, or active construction of a scene, then I consider that I am making an image. For example, if I spray a flower with a mister and reflect some light into shadow areas before I shoot a macro shot, I consider that I "made" the image. Similarly, if I use a green filter on a landscape to unusually adjust image tones, I consider that I "made" the image.
If I merely use a correcting filter (for example, to improve contrast or darken the sky) I still consider that "taking" an image - adjusting the capture to better reflect what I perceive as accuracy of the source image.
For me, any posed portrait, lit naturally or artificially, and any arranged still life, would be a "made" scene. Candid street shots for me are all "taken".
Thus in my definition, I do both, but I think I "take" more than "make".
I agree with this.
Originally Posted by chuck94022
That being said, what is you're avatar. Some may say that is taken but I think it was made, if you believe the witnesses.
In making exposures on film, by the definition started with in this thread, I do both... However, almost always I finish the image by some sort of darkroom manipulation rather than a straight exposure and development process... I don't approach a print with the idea of rendering the scene as it was... Considering this, almost all of my work is made, regardless of film exposure approach...
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