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Author Topic: Take or create a photograph.  (Read 9643 times)

Otto Phocus

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2015, 08:58:18 AM »

My  photography tends to be a combination of both taking and creating.

I don't think it is possible to do one without the other.

But like most questions like these, it depends on how one chooses to define the terms.
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NancyP

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #21 on: October 30, 2015, 11:01:56 AM »

I suppose I take, not make, most of the time. Many of my photos are "light's not great today, spot has potential, come back later" scouting documentation, or "species x, not perfect, but make the best of it, and get a straight identification shot too". I do work a scene to decide on perspective and composition. I guess that if I have planned out a photograph and gotten the elements I want in the photograph, I feel that I have "made" it. If it isn't quite my ideal, I "took" the photo.
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BobDavid

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #22 on: November 02, 2015, 08:26:14 AM »

It floors me to think there are people who agonize over questions like this one.

Agreed
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Ray

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2015, 01:35:38 AM »

One shouldn't need to agonise over it, but it could be helpful to be clear in one's own mind about the differences between 'taking a photo' and 'creating a photo'.

For example, one cannot create a photo without first taking a photo. The process of taking a photo I would describe as the recording on the camera's sensor or film, of whatever scene is in front of the lens and within the angle-of-view of the lens.

The choice of the scene to direct the camera toward, the point in the scene selected for maximum focus, the amount of DoF chosen in accordance with selection of F/stop, the choice of a precise moment to press the shutter, and the choice of many other variable camera settings, especially when shooting in jpeg mode to take advantage of the camera's built-in processing capability, are all acts of creativity at some level, however basic.

Those who wish to apply greater levels of creativity, will tend to shoot in RAW mode and selectively process the 'captured image' or 'taken shot', sometimes removing distracting and unwanted objects in the scene, raising shadows, darkening highlights, increasing vibrancy and so on.

A painter begins with a blank canvas and adds to it. That might be considered as the purest form of pictorial creativity. A photographer begins with a recorded image, and if he wishes, he can spend as much time creatively modifying that initial recording as a painter spends in adding to a blank canvas.
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Stanmore

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2015, 05:33:30 PM »

One shouldn't need to agonise over it, but it could be helpful to be clear in one's own mind about the differences between 'taking a photo' and 'creating a photo'.

For example, one cannot create a photo without first taking a photo. The process of taking a photo I would describe as the recording on the camera's sensor or film, of whatever scene is in front of the lens and within the angle-of-view of the lens.

The choice of the scene to direct the camera toward, the point in the scene selected for maximum focus, the amount of DoF chosen in accordance with selection of F/stop, the choice of a precise moment to press the shutter, and the choice of many other variable camera settings, especially when shooting in jpeg mode to take advantage of the camera's built-in processing capability, are all acts of creativity at some level, however basic.

Those who wish to apply greater levels of creativity, will tend to shoot in RAW mode and selectively process the 'captured image' or 'taken shot', sometimes removing distracting and unwanted objects in the scene, raising shadows, darkening highlights, increasing vibrancy and so on.

A painter begins with a blank canvas and adds to it. That might be considered as the purest form of pictorial creativity. A photographer begins with a recorded image, and if he wishes, he can spend as much time creatively modifying that initial recording as a painter spends in adding to a blank canvas.

It goes beyond (& before) the point of capture, and the subsequent post production. There are photographers whose work cannot exist without an effort to assemble all that is placed in front of the camera to realise their wholly imagined scene and concept. Fine art photographers such as Gregory Crewdson, and commercial artists like Erik Almas work this way for all or much of the imagery they create. In some cases the post-work is very slight due to the extensive pre-production efforts.
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Ray

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2015, 10:31:14 PM »

It goes beyond (& before) the point of capture, and the subsequent post production.

Of course it does. That why I wrote: "The choice of the scene to direct the camera toward, the point in the scene selected for maximum focus, the amount of DoF chosen in accordance with selection of F/stop".... and so on. All this takes place before the shutter is pressed and is all part of the creative process.

Even if one makes no settings other than switching the camera on, one still has to choose the scene to photograph, which involves pointing the camera in a specific direction, from a specific position, and pressing the shutter at a specific moment in time, which is apparently the point where Henri Cartier-Bresson's creativity stopped. He never processed his own images.
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Stanmore

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #26 on: November 05, 2015, 02:14:09 AM »

Of course it does. That why I wrote: "The choice of the scene to direct the camera toward, the point in the scene selected for maximum focus, the amount of DoF chosen in accordance with selection of F/stop".... and so on. All this takes place before the shutter is pressed and is all part of the creative process.

Even if one makes no settings other than switching the camera on, one still has to choose the scene to photograph, which involves pointing the camera in a specific direction, from a specific position, and pressing the shutter at a specific moment in time, which is apparently the point where Henri Cartier-Bresson's creativity stopped. He never processed his own images.

What I was alluding to is that the scene doesn't actually exist other than in some photographers minds (such as Almas, especially Crewdson). Their scenes are complete fabrications, built by the photographers either physically and/or digitally. Crewdson's interiors are usually assembled on sound stages. Almas' landscape'y concepts almost invariably involve several (sometimes dozens of) unique frames composited and retouched to realise the 'ideal' in his minds eye. And then the people placed into these scenes, either physically or digitally, have been explicitly directed in terms of their body language, expression, etc. and specifically styled for the image's concept. I work this way sometimes too ... Every frame in the set has been mentally pre-envisaged, and then drawn (scamped / story boarded), then every set, person, piece of wardrobe, and prop is brought in to realise those drawings photographically.
So it goes beyond choices on composition, exposure, DOF, etc. ... It can be about creating pictures using cameras that exist only in a photographers mind, and nowhere else prior to a total production (pre-shoot) effort.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2015, 04:02:27 AM by Stanmore »
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Ray

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2015, 08:54:40 AM »

What I was alluding to is that the scene doesn't actually exist other than in some photographers minds (such as Almas, especially Crewdson). Their scenes are complete fabrications, built by the photographers either physically and/or digitally.

I don't think a composite photographic image is a complete fabrication. Parts of the composite image are often realistic representations of parts of, or the whole of, the original scenes captured.

I would say there is a spectrum of 'degrees of deviation' from what most people would consider to be a realistic representation of any particular scene. At a fundamental level, all images exist only in the  mind of the viewer, and every image requires an interpretation in the brain, for the composite elements and colors to be recognised. The interpretation usually happens automatically, but it is nevertheless an interpretation.

Whether one is painting or manipulating photographs, one can create imaginary scenes which would not relate, in whole, to any identifiable physical location or event. We've got used to that with painting, but some people still object to photographic images being manipulated in that way because they think it's a deception.
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Rob C

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2015, 09:45:36 AM »

Thing is, the moment you pick up a camera you are restricted to/empowered by its type and setup.

What you thought about before is or is not important to the degree that your preconception - if you had one - has been fulfilled. If you come up with something unexpected, but good, you can claim it to your experience; if you come up with nothing, you can blame it on lunch, a wife partner who doesn't understand you, or simply the brand of tool and the depth of your pockets.

Photography can be a win win situation, which is why so many indulge. It's the next best thing to playing the lottery for kindling hope, mostly vain.

Rob C

Ray

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #29 on: November 05, 2015, 10:01:45 AM »

Thing is, the moment you pick up a camera you are restricted to/empowered by its type and setup.
Rob C

That's why I prefer zoom lenses, Rob. Less restriction.  ;)
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Rob C

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2015, 02:14:10 PM »

That's why I prefer zoom lenses, Rob. Less restriction.  ;)

There you are: the luck pf the draw. My single zoom turned out to be a dog, even on a cropped format D200.  It was a Nikkor 24-70 G. It was a dog, as I said, but it must also have been a lemon-coloured dog: Russ posted a beautifully crisp shot from such an objective a short while ago. I own no more dogs.

;-(

Rob

Ray

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2015, 08:59:24 PM »

There you are: the luck pf the draw. My single zoom turned out to be a dog, even on a cropped format D200.  It was a Nikkor 24-70 G. It was a dog, as I said, but it must also have been a lemon-coloured dog: Russ posted a beautifully crisp shot from such an objective a short while ago. I own no more dogs.

;-(

Rob

Crikey! Rob, you should know as a professional that sometimes equipment can be faulty, or not up to standard, in which case one should return the equipment immediately for either a refund or replacement. I've done that myself on a few occasions in the past, and I'm just an amateur.  ;)
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Alan Klein

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2015, 12:11:40 AM »

Well, if I was trying to sell it, I would certainly tell people I created it rather than took it. 
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Rob C

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #33 on: November 06, 2015, 04:16:39 AM »

Crikey! Rob, you should know as a professional that sometimes equipment can be faulty, or not up to standard, in which case one should return the equipment immediately for either a refund or replacement. I've done that myself on a few occasions in the past, and I'm just an amateur.  ;)

I bought wholesale. Faulty Nikon stuff is a new departure for me. Never happened with anything of theirs I bought for film.

The best I could get was an exchange for a 2.8/180 af Nikkor that's seldom been used since. Oddly, that meant adding more money to the deal because the 180mm was more expensive in Spain...

The wholesaler eventually found itself forced to close down on Mallorca due to the total loss of its former big business selling chemicals and papers to all the wedding and 'social' snappers. Thanks, digi!  Only the head office in Barcelona seems to exist today, and when I contacted them trying to buy something, the distinct impression was that they coudn't care less about anything outwith Barcelona. Hence my relationship with London.

I have never met any of those shopkeepers who accept 'try 'n' then buy when one works' deals. But that's because I seldom buy these days, and when I do it's by post from Greys of Westminster, a Nikon specialist in London; very good service and nice people with whom to deal. They do offfer a two week return policy, but that's not a lot of help when from abroad. To make it even worse, my local GPO won't do insurance on posted items: they tell me I have to drive the 60 klicks to Palma for that service. Hey ho.

Rob
« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 02:05:51 PM by Rob C »
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wmchauncey

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #34 on: November 08, 2015, 11:24:13 AM »

Quote
It floors me to think there are people who agonize over questions like this one
Aah...why would you assume that the question was the result of angst.
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RSL

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #35 on: November 09, 2015, 10:34:33 AM »

Because you made that quite clear in your original post. You're worried sick about crossing that "blurred line between photography and art. . ." You emphasize your angst with the statement, "whatever that even means."

You evidently think there's some kind of difference between photography and "art." Please explain what you think that difference is. What, exactly, do you think the difference is between taking and creating a photograph?

Evidently you're hung up on landscape photography because you're talking about going out in the evening and shooting that sunset. There are a lot more photographic genres than landscape. In some genres you and your camera can do a better job of creating art than can a painter and his brushes, but landscape isn't one of those genres.

In photography, "shooting" is synonymous with "creating." The patience comes in learning the strengths and weaknesses of the genre, not in the amount of time you agonize over a sunset before you trip the shutter. A good street photographer may frame and shoot in a fraction of a second, and what he produces may or may not be art -- just like the poor guy who agonizes for hours over his landscape.

It all comes down to what HCB said: "Photographing is nothing. Looking is everything." Learning to look is how you graduate from snapshots to results that reasonably could be called art.

wmchauncey

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #36 on: November 09, 2015, 02:48:30 PM »

Basic photography, IMHO, represents more of a documentary genre, whether it be BIF/sports/street work/whatnot.
Creating an image involves more work at the outset...working the scene/subject, waiting for the light, perhaps lots of work in post.
You have that vision before squeezing the shutter.
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A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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Stanmore

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #37 on: November 09, 2015, 05:58:38 PM »

Basic photography, IMHO, represents more of a documentary genre, whether it be BIF/sports/street work/whatnot.
Creating an image involves more work at the outset...working the scene/subject, waiting for the light, perhaps lots of work in post.
You have that vision before squeezing the shutter.

I disagree...
Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson, Yousef Karsh, Erwin Elliot, took (exceptional) photographs. In relatively modern times Steve McCurry, James Natchwey, Frans Lanting, Charlie Waite took/take (exceptional) photographs.

Gregory Crewdson, Erwin Olaf, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Carl Warner, David la'Chapelle, Erik Almas, the matured Leibovitz & Meisel *make* (exceptional) photographs.

...can you spot the difference?
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AreBee

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #38 on: November 09, 2015, 06:31:36 PM »

Stanmore,

Quote
...Ansel Adams...took (exceptional) photographs.

You don't take a photograph, you make it.

Credit: Ansel Adams
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RSL

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Re: Take or create a photograph.
« Reply #39 on: November 10, 2015, 08:57:16 AM »

He made them all right. In the darkroom.
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