Don’t Take Pictures, Make Photographs

Cameras give us the ability to capture personal moments in time and transcribe them in the form of an image. We commonly call this act taking a photograph, as if we were actually taking an instant, a place, a person, out of its timeframe and materialising it to eventually keep it alive and share it with others.

This concept sounds beautiful to me, except for one detail: as a photographer, I have a problem with the passive connotation of the verb to take. To me, photographing is not a passive action. In fact, I see it as the opposite. Photography is not about waiting for something to happen and capture it. No, photography involves more than the decisive moment of pressing on the shutter. Photography needs research, it needs preparation; and once on the field, photography needs commitment and sacrifice. How else would you be able to capture these wonderful lights you’ve been dreaming of if you’re not chasing them? How else could you get this candid shot of a person that doesn’t even speak your language if you don’t commit yourself to get accepted? Luck? Although luck is required, it’s only one of the many ingredients necessary for a good photograph. Even for the best of us there is no secret. Getting great shots implies work, and work is not a passive process. So if you feel like you’re being a ‘passive photographer’ maybe is it time for you to forget about taking pictures and start making photographs?

You don’t take a photograph, you make it. — Ansel Adams

If you are ready for the switch, then you’ll be glad to read that from now on I’ll be doing my best to help you through this process in this blog. After a bit more than two years on the road intensively perfecting my craft, it is time for me to share what I’ve learnt with you. No technical details here — not my style! — but rather shared observations, experiences and discoveries.

These tips will come as short texts with a somehow provocative intent in order to make you react. The point here is not to give you a truth. There is no truth in music, painting, sculpture, … why would it be any in photography? Instead I’ll provide you with food for thought in order to develop your own vision. So never ever believe what I say here without a pinch of salt and without making your own experiences!

The purpose of this series of tips is that next time you grab your camera you’ll take the time to think and construct your photographs with the means at your disposal.

Don’t take pictures, make photographs!

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