Back in October I made an image that I didn’t take. It was a photograph I had in my mind. A vision of a feeling and an emotional moment brought to fruition. I picked the location, I picked the lighting and time of day, I picked the aperture and the shutter speed, I picked the models (although I did have to settle for one style element that was not as I had wanted it. I had just emerged from the Pacific Ocean after a wonderful swim and felt it was the opportunity I was looking for to make this image so I had to forgo drying my hair), I picked the wardrobe, I handed my husband the camera and said start shooting. Then I did the processing and selected the final image.
But, I did not take the image. I did not click the shutter.
It was an image made the way many commercial images are made. Many advertising images are produced by the photographer (by telling assistants, stylists and producers what they want in the shot, where to put the lights etc) in collaboration with an Art Director, the shutter is released by an assistant and the final image selected by the photographer. I spent most of my formative years as a commercial photographer finally deciding that I didn’t want to just technically manifest the images of other people’s visions. It took me many more years to finally decide that I needed to be making my own images in my own way and not just be a mentor to other photographers.
So, the discussion has been: who made this image? Did my husband make the image or did I make the image. My husband took the photograph and I made the photograph I guess you could say. Does merely clicking the shutter make you the photographer?
I feel that photographs, just as paintings and illustrations, are made not taken. Images come from a vision, an idea, a conscious choice. If a photograph is merely taken, this is simply taking a snapshot. If you make a CONSCIOUS choice for the type of film, the camera, the lens, the shutter speed, the aperture, the ISO, the compositional elements, the subject, the background, the props, the light, you are making an image.
So the question I ponder from there is what if you aren’t making those conscious choices? What if you are using auto on your camera? What if you aren’t using the lens you wish you owned? What if you are not making a choice for compositional elements of line, rhythm, balance, depth of field then are you actually making an image or are you taking a snapshot? I learned early on in my studies that a snapshot is a photograph with no regard for exposure, composition and subject.
What do you think?
Leave me a comment here on my blog then go to Facebook and *Like* my Loupe Photography Workshop page and I will send you the LR/ACR preset I personally developed for all my North Shore photographs (including this one). My entire set of presets will be one of the goodies given to all attendees of the Loupe Photography Workshop!