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Do you "Take" or "Make" a Picture?

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by PhotoEcosse, Nov 21, 2015.

  1. Cuthbert

    Cuthbert Well-Known Member

    A counter to that may be a photograph taken at a 'decisive moment'. It may be that the photographer has pre-set the camera (or even have it on auto), and that the picture might be powerful printed 'as-is' straight from the camera without any post-processing, unusual exposure, etc.

    As you mentioned in a previous post, the photographer may 'see something, raise the camera and click', but in such a situation, a snapshot with no thought or input from the photographer? Surely there is thought in anticipating the event, and input in choosing the exact moment to click.

    By your logic, is that photograph taken or made?
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Mick,

    But quite apart from the highlight, what of (say) someone who goes somewhere at some expense, effort or possibly even personal risk and then "sees something, raises the camera and clicks"? Is this picture somehow less "made" than one deriving from a snapshot that has been cropped, converted to B+W and then selectively burned and dodged? This is what I was trying to get to in an early post to Eric. Wouldn't a skilled photographer "make" much more of the picture at the time of taking it, instead of trying to rescue it afterwards?

    Consider for example Ansel Adams's famous Moonrise, Hernandez. On his own admission, he "just saw" that and struggled to set up his camera quickly enough to shoot it. Is that picture any less "made" than Eric's railway girl? How about Selgado's miners? Or Brandt's coal-gatherer?

    My argument, most forcefully, is that the "made"/"taken" distinction means nothing, because there are too many variables. A great picture can be "made" as soon as the shutter is fired; in other words, at exactly the same time it is "taken". Or it can be "made" by good printing, or by hand colouring, or by composite printing. It can also be "made" by being part of a series, instead of a single competition entry.

    There are only good pictures or bad pictures: any attempt at a distinction between "made" and "taken" is ultimately insupportable.

    As for "apart from the direction that the thread took, we might have had an interesting discussion", well, whose fault is that? If you want an interesting discussion (in your terms) you have to join in. You can't just wring your hands from the sidelines because things aren't going in the direction you want.


  3. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Lynn,

    Logically, though, the highlight means "as soon as you take a picture and thereby reduce a 3-dimensional scene to a 2-dimensional representation". It's ALL manipulated: the only question is how much. What do you mean by "impossible"? Or for that matter, by "corresponding to the end result"?


  4. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    I go out and take a photograph, come home and start post-production. This or that in the image irritates me so I delete it, then I decide that perhaps the subject needs to be moved in order to improve the composition. Job done. However, what is now impossible is to go back to the wherever the original was snapped and replicate the final, post-production version. All I can do is take a repeat of the original snap including everything that in PP has since been deleted or moved.

    If PP is limited to merely tweaking contrast and colour intensity, or dodging and burning, and perhaps cropping, the end result is still substantially the picture that was originally taken and, despite the cropping, the shot can be repeated- with the proviso that nothing else connected with the picture, but outside the photographer's control, has changed.

  5. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    No. It stays in the location into which I imported it. Only the really rubbish trash gets deleted in camera. Everything else is saved. You never know when you want a bad example, and storage is cheap.
  6. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    That may well be so but the point is that whatever is deleted during post-production is no longer visible in the picture being worked on or in the final version of said picture.

  7. twists n turns

    twists n turns Well-Known Member

    Can we meet in the middle and say we 'create' pictures?
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    How is this in any way a meeting in the middle? It's just another pointless re-phrasing of the word the vast majority of people use, know and understand: we "take" pictures. See post 16.


  9. DaveS

    DaveS Well-Known Member

    While I can say that my conventional photos are "taken", my astrophotos are very definitely "made", ie constructed in the computer from individual files.

    In fact, astrophotographers talk about "acquiring data", not taking photos, and making an image.
  10. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member

    Are we still on this. If there's one thing for sure it's this thread is "taking" the ***s:rolleyes:
  11. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Is there a difference between that and "making" the ***s?
  12. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Well, according to Google, there are quite a few companies that produce synthetic ***s, or 'urine' as they prefer to call it, to help people pass drug tests (sounds a bit iffy), so...
  13. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Hi Rog! Anthony Armstrong! Not St Ansel of Carmel. Lord Snowdon has referred to his pics as snaps for years. Decades even. Humblebrag? Self deprecation? Don't know. Don't care about that, either. He's welcome to do it. As I said, it adds a certain charm. Cheers, Oly
  14. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Hi Dave,

    There was a brief trend about 12 years ago to refer to film images as photographs and digital images as captures.

    It didn't last.

    Cheers, Oly
  15. 0lybacker

    0lybacker In the Stop Bath

    Nope. While I'm happy not to be dogmatic about take & make and use both as outlined previously, I do also like the concept of 'stealing' photographs as per Henri Cartier-Bresson.

    He often used the (Bhuddistic) analogy of having the heart, the head and the eye on the same axis when (making, taking or) stealing a photograph. While not a Bhuddist, I can appreciate that and do not think you have to be one to adopt that as a good principle. I note that one or two posts above hint at that and couple more are really stating it but in other words.
  16. frank1

    frank1 Well-Known Member

    Is it Bresson that is labeled with the concept of capturing the decisive moment. Never heard of him stealing it.
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    That's because you don't speak French. The original French edition of The Decisive Moment was called Images a la Sauvette (cover picture in link). The phrase "à la sauvette" appears most often in "vol à la sauvette", stealing and running away. It almost always has disreputable connotations: furtively, on the fly, on the sly, hasty, careless... The most polite translation of the title is probably "Images on the Run". But it's better than the French for giclée.


  18. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I read a thriller about a French photojournalist and they referred to photographs as documents. Is that how the French do it? I think it was written by a Frenchman.
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    Dear Andrew,

    It is not a common usage. Of course a photo can be a document, but it would normally be referred to as one only in specific circumstances, in a somewhat legalistic sense. Otherwise it's called -- gosh! -- une photo. The older word, une photographie, is much less used. Confusingly, la photographie also refers to photography in general, and un/une photographe is a (male/female) photographer, not a photograph. Cliché or cliché photographique normally means a negative, but is sometimes use generally to mean "picture".


  20. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    Rather than start a new thread, allow me to add a slightly different perspective to this one. It arises from a conversation, to which I was a party, involving a number of very eminent photographers who have a much deeper understanding of the photography/art dichotomy than I do.

    The thesis, with which I had little difficulty identifying, was that there are basically three "categories of photograph" (almost irrespective of genre):

    1. Photographs which were not intended to be artistic productions but were taken to provide a record of people, places, situations, things.

    2. Photographs which, because of the way that they were taken and presented, have intrinsic artistic qualities.

    3. Photographs that are taken to provide the raw materials or ingredients for the production of an artistic image.

    It is not suggested that there cannot be a degree of accidental overlap between the three categories - for example, a photograph intended to fit Category 1 which is later adjudged to belong in Category 2 (perhaps by the original photographer; perhaps by a third party) or a photograph from Categories 1 or 2 that is then used to produce a Category 3.

    Nor is it suggested that there is any difference in merit between photographs on the basis of the category into which they fall - only by the degree to which they fulfil the purpose for which they were taken or subsequently used.

    I should add that this conversation took place after we had viewed a number of galleries of prints that, quite intentionally, fell into each of the three categories and the thesis was proposed as a means of resolving (or perhaps avoiding) the perpetual conundrum of what is, and what is not, art.

    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015

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