vision

Is a Photograph Made or Taken?

Ansel Adams You Dont Take a Photograph You Make it.jpg

In the words of the amazing Ansel Adams... “You don’t take a photograph, you make it”.  I truly do not believe that just anyone can make a photograph.

Just the language used in that phrase right there seems to be a big topic of discussion among photographers. There are some from each school of thought. Some would say that “anybody” can take a photograph and others seem to be of the mind that a photograph is “made”.

Perhaps, depending on the moment or instance, some are made and some are taken. When I think of a photograph being taken, it makes me think of a snapshot or a cell phone shot. That’s just me though. I think as professional photographers, we “make” photographs.

When talking about making a photograph, there are so many factors that go into the “making” a photograph.  It’s more in depth, things like: thought, time of day, subject, camera settings, composition, post production (and perhaps one of THE MOST important things) LIGHT and LIGHTING.  All of these things go into making a photograph. It is all about the photographer’s vision and that’s where it all starts, with the vision!

Regardless of how you view it or think of it, I guess it is up to the individual to interpret their idea/thought on the subject of taking or making a photograph. I was just curious as to people’s thoughts and take on it so I thought I would write it down to perhaps spark a conversation.

The Film Days - Moments Coming To Life

Never in a million years did I think this one class I was going to take would change my life.  Wait, not only my life but change the way I saw things and open my eyes up to a totally different world!

It was grade 10 photography class at Victoria Park High School and I remember it like it was yesterday.    I was bitten by the photography bug and have been addicted ever since. My uncle gave me my first film camera, a Konica Minolta and I loved that thing. Photography for me has always been such an incredibly fun, creative way to communicate MY visions.  Allowing people into my world, to view things through my lens, my eyes.

Walking into that darkroom for the first time, the darkness, the red light and of course that unforgettable smell of developer, stop bath and fixer all mixed in together. Overwhelming at first but you get used to it and learn to like the distinctive smell that fills the darkroom.  One of the toughest parts was fumbling around in the dark, no pun intended.  Then getting the film out of the camera and onto the spool and into the developing tank. Once I got the hang of that, it was smooth sailing and good times all around.

It was a bit of a steep learning curve both with the camera and in the darkroom but I enjoyed every minute of it and I think I am a better photographer for it. Having learned the craft before the digital revolution exploded on the scene has made me a better photographer.  I see things differently, I shoot differently and I actually think about the shot before I take it.

Making test strips to get the right exposure for your image, dodging and burning the real way, not in a digital computer program. Then, the piece de resistance, seeing what you shot in camera literally come to life on that piece of photography paper right before your very eyes.  That my friends is magic! The whole darkroom process is just an incredible experience from start to finish. I am so glad I was able to experience that for a few years in high school.  Sometimes I really do miss and long for those days.