As I keep learning about photography, I’ve come to understand the importance and the difference between making a photograph and taking a photograph. I wrote briefly on a similar concept here. It seems to me that the largest difference between being a Maker or a Taker (cue the Steve Miller Band) is premeditation and motive. Each perspective has it’s own appeal.
I’ve found that a large majority of photographers today (at least most of the ones I discover online) tend to be Takers, desiring to interpret their world by capturing moments, and they have a rich history. Makers tend to have a much slower working process, meticulously crafting their images and staging their scenes. Both of these genres are relevant to the future of photography, and have some beautiful work.
I remember first hearing about the concept of making vs. taking from a former professor and being blown away. The idea that I could be actively contributing to what I was photographing empowered me and brought out the beginning of my voice as an artist. More than even making a photograph, I get excited about constructing my images. It can be tricky to play semantics and say that every photographer constructs their image to a certain degree- playing with exposure, composition, even what subject they choose to photograph. And that is true, to a degree. That’s the trick, isn’t it, though. To what degree?
Maybe that’s the beauty I find in photography. When I look at an image like Rugen’s and see a moment of life that seems too perfect to be real, that’s where I get drawn in. When I can feel the artist’s hand in the image- their thoughts almost reaching through out and out of the picture towards me, communicating some sense of themselves that they’ve found or shared with whatever I’m looking at. That’s magical. And maybe my appreciation of seeing the maker’s hand in the creation stems out of the need to discern what’s truly valuable around me. Being bombarded by imagery from almost every direction gets tiring. I need to seek out images that can rise above that din. This is different for everyone, which images resonate, but work that sticks with me is work that I can see has been crafted and affected by the photographer.