"To photograph" is to talk, to sympathise, to open up to people, to interact and to share your emotions with you[r] subject, and hopefully vice versa. The actual act of tripping the shutter is only second to that. This is in contrast to "to take photos", where a photo is "taken" without "giving". When photographing, the subject gives a part of himself to you in response to your giving your attention, your showing interest, your sympathy. It's still not an equal deal as you gain income, fame or whatever you think to gain from your photographs. The subject most likely doesn't benefit materially from this deal unless he (or often she) is a model posing for you. Often the subject, however, is left with a positive feeling, a sense of importance or just had a pleasant interlude in an otherwise boring day.I think this is very important, as a Christian and a photographer. Creating art with my camera, when it involves a human subject, must involve my relationship with the person I am photographing. I am guilty of "taking photos" when I've shot pictures of charming looking natives in foreign countries where I'm traveling, all from the safe distance of several yards, with a telephoto lens so the subject doesn't even know she's having her image "taken." I am realizing now that, aside from being somewhat unethical (you are supposed to get a person's written permission before publishing a photograph of him anywhere [though I've never published any of these surreptitiously "taken" photos], and in certain cultures having your photograph "taken" is akin to have your soul captured), it is not a very Christian way to do photography. As someone who has been touched by relationship with the Almighty God, I should be ever more keen to engage relationally with the world and the people I photograph. This post by ShardsOfPhotography has really got me thinking.
28 November 2006
To photograph, or to take photos?
Interesting post over at Shards of Photography. I quote it in its entirety: