While I agree with those that "take" with a camera, and " make" in the darkroom, I'm not bothered with either term. "Capture", however, really ticks me off for some reason...
When I'm working right, there is no "I" at all, just a flow. The issue of "taking" vs. "making" disappears, since there is no "taker" or "maker". This may seem pretty weird, but if this doesn't happen, I just stand there wondering what to do. The only way out is to start, and if it's going with me, the process takes over and uses me as its vehicle.
As for "making" in printing, I've been in the darkroom all my life, and the printing process has become so ingrained in my being that the decisions also proceed along a process trail. That is, unless I'm working in a new medium which requires learning something unfamiliar. I just attended a carbon workshop with Vaughn. Printing with carbon, I suspect, will be "making" for some time, until (I hope) it can become natural for me, as silver printing is for me now.
The "taking" vs. "making" thing brings up memories from 45 years ago. I was studying with Jack Welpott, who expressed a strong preference for seeing his work as "making" rather than "taking". The idea seemed to be founded upon the notion that "taking" implied OF SOMETHING. That is, "pictures of things" which puts it in the realm of the catalog. Minor White spoke of beginners "collecting images" and, after developing their skills and vision, being more able to allow images to FIND THEM. "Taking" is the essence of collecting. If the image finds the photographer, who is the "maker"?
Another viewpoint, since I've been thinking about this a lot recently, is the analogy of drawing. When one draws, does one "take" something, or "make" something? It could be said that one "makes" a drawing, but that begs the question of how one does that. One way to see it is that one makes individual marks that together add up to a whole in their completion of a sensible context which may or may not be previsualized. I guess I tend to see it this way. At every point in the process, individual decisions occur which do the same thing.
Maybe my problem with the question comes down to the term that, so far, no one seems to have questioned: pictures. Pictures are products. My work is process. Products come from it, but are not the point of it. Pictures are incidental to the act. Call me an abstract expressionist if you want. It might sort of fit.
Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler
But definitely more the produced picture.
But even made pictures rely on things that can be snapped. That's the nature of photography.
Last weekend I would say I make pictures. But then last Tuesday I was in Santa Cruz and I wanted to take some shots of the Droids in the Amgen Tour. Those boys are fast. You shoot quick or forget it.
When I was shooting all the time for Sunset Mag doing travel stories, the rule for me and I know for some of the others, too, was "every time something moves". Even that was process, or at best a kind of dance. When it was going as I believed was right, there was no distinction between myself and what I was shooting. They move, you move. The process is teamwork. When it gets out of sync, there's trouble. I'd know it instantly, because I'd feel extremely uncomfortable. There were a few times it REALLY didn't work, and I was lucky not to get beat up. If you move, and he doesn't, it might not be ok.
This is a US west coast thing so if you were shooting in Santa Cruz, you might be eligible for understanding it, but farther away, may not be. At the time, Sunset was different than it is now. Now it is another vapid rag, but at the time, while it wasn't LIFE, it was still one of the last bw photo mags, and it was good. We shot real life, very rarely set shots. The key was rhythm. Match yours with the event. If you surprise anyone, you got a problem. I don't know if all my colleagues worked that way, but I did, and I know some others did. When it went right, it was beautiful, but you had to get up on the right side of the bed, and you had to know how to deal with stage fright.
I don't shoot that way anymore. I don't even know if I could. I think you have to do it all the time. It's different, now, not so much people, but it is still a dance. So "taking" or "making"? Never occurred to me, even once.
Last edited by bowzart; 05-21-2010 at 02:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: one letter left out. 2 added last sentance.
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Just recently I discussed this with a friend who wanted to make the distinction between "making" and "taking" photos on his web site in Croatia (and in Croatian language).
Haven't really thought about it (imagine, me being a translator!), but my language (Croatian) and culture does not make such distinction.
In Croatian we say "to photograph" or in jargon/vernacular "to picture". A "photograph" is often called just "picture" in vernacular, so you usually say: "Let me see that picture" while meaning "that photograph". Or someone in the street says "Why are you picturing me?" - meaning "Why are you taking my photo?". The actual verbs "to take" or "to make" are never used.
So, "taking" or "making" was never even a thought over here. The distinction was known only to those who studied the philosophical side of photography, reading e.g. Sontag, etc. - definitely a very small minority.
Perhaps it also reflects in the local photographic practice? Hmmm, might be a nice idea for a photo-philosophical-solciolinguistical essay
I make my photos before printing, before pressing the shutter button, I create the image beforehand, especially true, where I'm in a controlled lighting situation posing a subject, etc.
Exposing, developing, printing etc, everything that comes after is the realisation and materialisation of my creation.
Or put more simply, the photograph is the physical manifestation of the image I have created.
Last edited by Athiril; 05-21-2010 at 03:22 AM. Click to view previous post history.
When I photograph an event (birthday party, etc.) for the memory (my son blowing out his candles), I’m ‘taking’ a photograph. Center the subject and fire away.
When I consciously place my son in relation to the cake and compose the shot, then I would be ‘making’ a photograph.
I think that if we make any decision effecting the final photograph prior to tripping the shutter, we would be ‘making’.
A lot of the decisions we now make are so in-grained in our thinking that it is second nature. Anytime we pick up a camera (even a dig***l) we frame the shot and ‘check the corners’ before we expose the film. Although minor, they are still decisions made about that photo.
I don't think it is a strict either-or issue though.
When we 'snap' or 'grab' a picture, we do make decisions ourselves that affect the outcome.
Beginning with the one that we should grab that picture, what that picture we are about to grab is (i.e. what stirs our minds into deciding that we should capture it), and how to frame that grab shot. All of those are our input, not something we stumble across.
So even grab shots are made to a degree.
Take light for exposure. Make a print.
Originally Posted by 2F/2F
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti