Make or Take?

If you haven’t spent some time looking at the videos from the various TED conferences, you really should. Alum Jake Daniels pointed me to this one of Jonathan Klein from Getty Images and it brought up a debate I’ve been having in my head for the last few years about making or taking photographs.

I argued for years that the difference between a professional and an amateur photographer was the former made images while the latter took them. That there was an intentional craft at play, that the conscious collection of elements set the professional image apart from the ordinary snapshot. I’m not sure I like my old argument anymore.

And part of that comes out of what Mr. Klein says about the audience making the photograph – until someone views it, the image has no meaning. Part of this rolling around in my brain the last few years has also been centered on the role of the family snapshot in how we perceive and process non-private images. But that … well, that’s a topic for a future dissertation …

Mark E. Johnson

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