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The difference between taking and making

“To take photographs means to recognize—simultaneously and within a fraction of a second—both the fact itself and the rigorous organization of visually perceived forms that give it meaning. It is putting one’s head, one’s eye and one’s heart on the same axis.” — Henri Cartier-Bresson

You’ve probably heard people say they make photographs. Maybe you thought nothing of it. But making a photograph is a distinctly different approach to photography than taking. Taking implies coming upon or discovering something, lying in wait, to grab or trap. When you take photos, you go into the world and you find scenes to capture. Making implies building a scene from parts. Creating something from nothing. Choosing which elements to include and which to exclude.

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Photo statuettes

Statuette Mpix.com has a neat new product called photo statuettes. These aren’t fully 3-dimensional statues but rather 1/8″ thick cutouts that are then attached to a base so they stand up. You submit any photo and someone at Mpix digitally removes the background to create the statuette. That’s why pricing is “per head” starting at $16. Pretty neat idea. I could see doing this for some of the dance photos I’ve taken.

Weekend assignment August 25, 2006: Portraits

For this weekend’s assignment, I’d like to see your interpretation of a portrait. As I wrote yesterday, portraits can take many forms, but an essential ingredient is a recognizable person. Of course, if you’ve got a different point of view, I’d love to see an example. Hopefully you’ve got some willing subjects around. Even if you don’t, going outdoors and shooting candid portraits is a good way to practice. And you can always fall back on the self-portrait if that doesn’t work for you. As always, please share your results with the rest of us in the Photodoto discussion group. And have a great weekend!

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