This kind of applies to the photography of people maybe as well as landscapes etc.This is at the crux of what Garry Winogrand spoke of when he said he wanted to find out what things looked like when they were photographed.
"the photograph isn't what was photographed. It's something else. It's a new fact."
Funny how those comments stymie so many critics and photographers alike[.
You really don't know what you have until you photograph it. In real life it looks a certain way but when photographed it can take on a life of it's own. Take "Moonrise over..." it certainly didn't look the way in real life as it did on the final print.
Playboy photographers always do numerous "test shots" of their subjects to see how they come across on film. How they look in real life can be very different to how they photograph. The saying " the camera loves them" has a direct bearing on how the shots are used.
Hollywood screen tests, were always used to see if the person "had it" or not.
A person who is extremely beautiful in real life may come across so-so on film while a average sort may just light up in film. It is an intangible that is never known until they show up on film.
Is this what is being said here?