Creating vs Recording Photography Series – Introduction:
Is photography art? Some certainly is art, and some photography is not. What makes for the difference? The difference is whether the photograph is a “recording” or a “creation.”
Digital technology has put cameras in the hands of the masses. Now that everyone has a phone in their hands, photography has become somewhat watered down and devalued by many.
“Oh, I coulda taken that shot.”
Ever heard that statement? As a photographer, doesn’t that just make you wince? It does me, but then I make myself take a breath and consider why a “pedestrian” would say that about a pro’s photograph. Here’s why: If the image is a recording, then yes, his statement may be true and Mr. Cameraman may have been able to take that shot, or at least he thinks he could have. But, if the image is a creation, then the statement is likely to be untrue, and probably will not even be said. (Wouldn’t that be sweet?)
Recording is showing the expected, the labels. The viewer sees a sunrise or an old barn and moves on. A recording documents that you were there, but the recording doesn’t hold the viewer’s attention. The brain immediately recognized the subject and lost interest. (“It’s a sunrise,” “It’s an old barn,” etc.)
Creating an image, or a creation, is when the image takes the viewer beyond the expected, beyond the brain’s labels. If, as photographers, we want to be creators of art, then the burden is on us to first learn how to see beyond the labels ourselves. Once we do that, then we have some of the more important tools needed to make images that are impactful and less “pedestrian.”
All of this is said as the introduction to the next several issues of our e-newsletter. We’re going to discuss graphic design tools that make a huge difference between recording and creating images. When photographers learn how to use these tools, tools that are guiding principles for graphic design artists, their images move away from being recordings to being creations. We move toward becoming creators of visual art.
Coming up in our next issue…. How to Use the Tool of Texture