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An act of creation

Discussion in 'Critique Corner' started by FundyBrian, 16 July 2016.

  1. FundyBrian

    FundyBrian MobiStaff Site Staff MobiSupporter

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Alma, New Brunswick
    Real Name:
    Brian Townsend
    Device:
    iPhone 7 Plus
    My 365:
    My MobiTog 365
    Let's banish incorrect terminology from photography. I don't think anyone here is just "taking" pictures. Taking pictures implies a relatively mindless snapshot activity. Making them, yes. Creating them, yes. Taking implies theft or stealing. Some aboriginal people used to worry that the act of photographing someone peeled off a layer of their soul, and it was done against their will - an aggressive act.
    A lot of the common language of photography dates back to the film days. For most people, what happened at the moment of pressing the shutter was the last creative step they made. This was especially true with slide film. "What you shot is what you got". You couldn't do anything to a slide to improve it after it had been developed and mounted.
    "Great shot" - borrowed from hunting - implies taking down the subject in an aggressive way.
    Most of our photo slang carries over from those days and implies that the image was in its final form at the moment of pressing the shutter. Nowadays, a large amount of the creative work on a photo happens AFTER the initial exposure. Using language that ignores the creative work after exposure is rather insulting and demeaning. It's as though we are ignoring the creative work that happened after the initial exposure and are acknowledging only the initial take, shot, grab, capture, theft, rip-off. What about the rest of the work that happened to create the final image? Will we pretend it never happened?
    Classic fine art zone system photography involved a lot of previsualuzation. You made spot meter readings at a number of points throughout the scene and determined in what zone you wanted those tones to fall in the final print. In most cases your calculations involved knowing in advance the type of paper that would suit the image and the exposure scale of that paper. I used the Phil Davis BTZS system with a pocket computer. Your zone system calculations would tell you the developing time required for that sheet of film in a particular developer to ensure the resultant negative would print correctly on your chosen paper. Even back then this does not imply simply taking pictures.
    Our creative work today still involves a lot of previsualization but most of the image finishing happens after the initial exposure.
    So what's it going to be? Continue insulting photographers and pretend their creative editing never happened?
    I say it's time to update the use of language to match the current reality. We have hopefully got through racism and sexism in our everyday language. Can we do less in what we love?
     
  2. RoseCat

    RoseCat MobiFaerie... Site Staff

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    Interesting and informative Brian!! It makes sense.... and "words have power"...

    I like the word "create"... Now, breaking old habits of speech might prove a little difficult, but isn't it just 3 weeks to change a habit? Or is it 10 days...
     
    FundyBrian and JillyG like this.
  3. chimera

    chimera MobiStar

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    Great read. Thank you so much. To your point, I completely agree.
     
    RoseCat likes this.
  4. lisamjw

    lisamjw MobiStaff Site Staff

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    Excellent commentary, Brian! I totally agree with you. (Not sure why I did not see this when you first posted it!)
     

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