One thing that kind of raises my hackles is when people talk of “taking” a photo, as if the image was right there to be picked up, like a tomato at the supermarket. However we never talk of “taking” a painting (unless you are an art thief…). Why is that? For some reason it is understood that it is a lot of hard work to MAKE a painting, you need to choose the right brushes, create the appropriate palette, etc. However, there is no consideration of choosing right lens or making an appropriate colour balance. Yes, I understand that a lot of photographs are “taken”, with cell phones for example, where no thought is given to the artistic merits of the final image. But I think there is a distinction between a snapshot (for want of a better word[1]) and Art photographs (again for want of a better word).

So what is the difference? Maybe it comes down to making or taking a photo. Did the photographer make a decision on what and how to photograph? Did the artist think about what the final image would look like? Was there something the artist wanted to communicate with other viewers?

Whether the artist was successful or not, of course has to come into play at some point, but IMNSHO[2] intent is paramount. If you try to make art you have created at least an attempt at art. If you are not trying to make art, you can never make a piece of art.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. I know there are a few very good photographic artists who pursue the snapshot as an art form, but I would still argue that they still do not “take” their images, and exercise a lot of control on the final image.
  2. In My Not So Humble Opinion. … There may be “accidental” artistic masterpieces, but they are rare, and possibly the exception that proves the rule.
Close Menu
Close Panel