Take it – or make it?

Thanks to the incessant rain, I am in a ponderous mood today.

I believe it was Ansel Adams that said:

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

And it’s true. Whenever you ‘make’ a photograph, you put something of yourself in there whether it’s made on an iphone, or on a high-end techno-monster of a camera – and whether it’s a snapshot or a well-thought-out and long-waited-for shot. See, the long-waited-for landscape shot has taken months or even years of planning, a trip at the right time of year, an excursion at the right time of day and a wait for the light to fall just right. But at the same time, the snapshot-with-an-iphone type of shot also contains something of yourself. You made a conscious decision to raise the camera when you did and press the shutter (or tap the screen) just when you did. Your friend may have taken a shot at the same time but may have waited a few seconds longer, or tilted her phone slightly, or added a filter afterwards. Whatever the shot is, you put something of yourself in there: it is informed by your own life-experience which made you who you are and nudged you towards certain choices. You made that shot.

I do find that the longer I dabble with photography, the more I want to make it my own. Whether that’s with an old, 35mm film camera lens, adding post processing effects, making overlays and textures to add to the shot, or using multiple exposures etc etc – it all adds to the feeling of having made an image rather than using the camera as a tool to document exactly what was there. That said, there are plenty of photojournalists around if we need a reminder that in some cases, documenting exactly what you see is crucial to the end product. However, for the creative soul, there are more than enough choices out there to help you to make a photo rather than just taking it.

So how about you, do you make, or take?

Dancing Chrysanthemum

Dancing Chrysanthemum – made with a Meyer-Optik Gorlitz Domiplan 50mm lens, a posed flower, some home-made textures and something of a romantic soul 😉


Author: Sue Woollard – Capers With a Camera

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