Take or Make?

You don't take a photograph, you make it.

Ansel Adams

There is an unresolved debate in photography about whether you take or make a photograph.  I think it's both.

You take a picture, and by that I mean you cause the camera shutter to open for a specified amount of time to allow photons that have bounced off your subject to enter the camera, through the lens, and strike the film or the sensor.  You captured those photons.  You took that picture.  It might have been a simple process or it might have been arduous, but at this point it is simply photon harvesting, quanta farming.

But then you use the quantum energy transmitted by those photons to silver halide crystals or to photo cells to make a photograph.  For digital photography it might be as simple as passing that information through a few devices, like the memory card and the hard drive, and then output them with some software to a screen from which people can look at new photons, modified or not by you, and generated by the device.

Or you could just take that roll of film to Walgreens and ask them to give you little pieces of paper that have ink laid down on them.  It used to be silver, but now it's ink.

But to really make a photograph, you need to take the energy on that image storage media, be it film or digital, and create a photograph that means something to you, and which you hope will mean something to others.  That process can take place in a darkroom, or on a computer with software, or a hybrid of both.  But it is the completion of the entire creative process.

So, as far as the image is concerned, I think you take a picture but you make a photograph.

However, I believe that there is more to it than that.  Every time I come across a scene that I think is extraordinary I say a small prayer of thanks, because I believe it was given to me.  By whom or what I don't know, but I usually suspect that my mother had her hand in it.  Buff and I went to Europe for our 35th wedding anniversary and it seemed to me on that trip that there were just too many wonderful pictures to be just random events.  One example on that trip was Oksana kissing her husband in Venice.  Another was the dolphins leaping beside our boat in Croatia.  Another was the tired cook in Lyon.

Photography lives beyond the technology, the camera, the sensor, the lens.  Photography is an open mind and open heart.