PetaPixel

Taking Versus Making a Photograph

Here’s an uber-inspiring video in which National Geographic photographer Sam Abell discusses the difference between “taking” and “making” photographs through his experience of shooting one particular photograph for a story on painter Charles M. Russell. He explains that taking an image is shooting a photo as a reaction, without any preparation, while making a photograph is a process.

Abell spent one-and-a-half years hunting for and making the perfect photograph of bison skulls, and shot 25,000 frames for the 8 photographs that appeared in the story. Now that’s commitment.

(via The Atlantic via Chase Jarvis)


 
  • Bob Thomas

    Amazed by the lack of depth by many of those commenting here. Your insecurities are all over your writing and I would guess all over your photography. Here a master photographer whose career is exemplary detailing a vision that took him a year to memorialize and you are worried about “making” versus “taking”.  What about the commitment, the drive, the initiative, the vision and the not taking just any photo to complete the job.  This should be what you take from this and your denigrating his actions or his semantics is much more reflective of you than him. 

  • Bob Thomas

    Amazed by the lack of depth by many of those commenting here. Your insecurities are all over your writing and I would guess all over your photography. Here a master photographer whose career is exemplary detailing a vision that took him a year to memorialize and you are worried about “making” versus “taking”.  What about the commitment, the drive, the initiative, the vision and the not taking just any photo to complete the job.  This should be what you take from this and your denigrating his actions or his semantics is much more reflective of you than him. 

  • Varga Girl7

    @ Bob Thomas – Thank you so much for your comment.  I think..maybe..some of us get so caught up in semantics that we fail to see what really matters when it comes to the art of photography:)

  • Jack

    you can tell its pretentious by the stupid “Chapter Two, Three” etc. Sooooooo pointless and unnecessary

  • Woody

    I don’t think anyone can create a photograph or make a photograph. it is
    just taking that photo at the right conditions the way the photographer
    wants to capture it. Yes he will MAKE his own vision of the photograph
    and TAKE it. He cannot change any factors that influence that particular
    image at that particular time (unless he intentionally plays with the conditions of light, wind etc but this is not the point of discussion here). He can only choose the right moment to
    TAKE it and not MAKE it. To use the word “make” is being pretentious. Joe, point well made.

  • Ace

    What if the intention of the photographer is to take random pictures of people walking on the street, would that be considered as “Making” a photo?

  • Tony Bodinnar

    Hi Joe. No offense taken (or, I hope, made!). It was written partly tongue-in-cheek. I appreciate your comments and agree that there is far too much pretentiousness in photography (as in most art forms). I try not to contribute. For me photography is both a way to keep and share visual events and a way to express one’s thoughts and feelings. Everything else is icing
    I like to share my ‘skills’ with others. Photography doesn’t have to have ‘mystique’. Respect yes, enjoyment yes, but anyone should be able to produce superb images with only a minimum of coaching.
    I get kids of 8 to 11 making great images in just a couple of hours [I wrote 'make' there without thinking - I honestly DO feel that way] and if you’d like to see some of their work check out my fb site (Tony Bodinnar).btw, I was extremely lucky and bought the Leica for a fraction of its value. I love it but don’t see it as a status symbol.
    Happy shooting.

  • steve brown

    can’t stand petty BS, the man spent his time doing this to help fellow photogs, just appreciate his effort and stfu….morons

  • steve brown

    can’t stand petty BS, the man spent his time doing this to help fellow photogs, just appreciate his effort and stfu….morons

  • Varga Girl7

    @steve brown-well said sir.

  • Mark

    Pretentious? Really? What a stupid comment. I don’t have a Leica and have no intention of getting one but I agree with what is said. Photographs are made more often than not. When you compose a shot you are making an image because you as the operator are using an element of skill to do this. It is a standard distinction and one of the reasons he has made a career for himself. If you like his work or not is another matter and that is your choice. Of course I may just be being pretentious too!