Do photographers ‘make’ or ‘take’?

I’ve been talking to some photographers recently and there is a recurring word they use to describe what they do…

“I make photographs.”

I’ve always thought of photographers as people who take photographs. So is there really a difference between the two?

To make, I think, highlights the photographer’s involvement in the photo. That the act of snapping is deliberate and possibly, even ‘manipulated’ (not photoshopped), to create a desired image. This is opposed to take, which almost sounds objective and mechanical — think of this as photographing what you see, as it is.

In case you’re wondering, these photographers were all doing social documentary work, which means they see their pictures as a reflection of reality.

So why make instead of take? I think it inserts a purpose (some say agenda) into the photographs, which without it, might make photos seem nothing more than events coverage. If it’s the latter I want, I probably just need to place a camera at strategic times and locations and let it snap all day.

To make a photograph, means the photographer matters too, that it is he/she telling the story through a photo and not just the camera.

If you’re keen on social documentary and visual story-telling in Singapore, do check out this new PLATFORM.

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