Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

Started Apr 21, 2013 | Discussions
Paul Farace
OP Paul Farace Contributing Member • Posts: 804
I like the term "make a photograph!"

it conveys some amount of thought and control over the output...

I have a dear friend who after years of correcting her, still says "you take nice pitchers!"

Are these vessels that contain liquids or important baseball players?

Oh well...   she like the images that I make!  

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Holding a camera, any camera, reduces my blood pressure, calms my nerves, and gives me a sense of opportunity!

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Najinsky Veteran Member • Posts: 5,739
Capture is a fine term. I think you need some perspective
2

Capture suggests both the intent and a success, like in Chess where the intent is to capture the King, and success comes when he is caught.

It's a short but descriptive word that successfully replaces a phrase and therefore makes communication more efficient.

It may also suggest some luck, but to believe there is no luck involved in photography is a little naive.

Any shot of a live/moving subject requires anticipation because there is always a delay in the capture process. The shorter the delay, the less chance plays a role, which is why pros pay lots of money for cameras with near instant response and high frames per second (and the buffer speeds to deal with them). Clearly skill and preparation can go a long way to offset chance, but there is always some variable element which is why we take multiple shots to maximise the chance of success.

There is also a black-out period during capture, so you may not know what you caught, which is why the immediacy of review with digital cameras is so valuable.

This is when you discover if you got the eye or the nose, or the branch or the bird, etc. Nobody has a 100% success rate, so again, the ones where you do catch the moment and the focus and the exposure right are your true captures, your successes.

Adding highlights like 'I HATE' and 'Hipsters' to your post suggests you need to get a bit of perspective. Which means opening yourself up to various viewpoints.

-Najinsky

Richard Veteran Member • Posts: 4,858
I think you need a new camera.

jess shudup wrote:

Your camera IS or something will no longer allow you to capture an image correctly, perhaps you need a FF :). Although this image could pass for a cheap copy of what some people might call modern art it lacks any creativity and could be captured by a child using some random chance act of throwing the camera across the room. When you get your camera fix or take a picture instead of letting your child or dog accidentally capture something. Let me know. I will take a look.


You are such an idiot even my one-eared dog Vincent agrees.

Really you should step away from the crack pipe if you think this is a good picture and that your dog can agree with you. It is ok to talk to the dog, but when he starts answering back or agreeing with you means you smoked a few too many crack rocks. Good luck with that.

Also, you did not tell me if I got the picture right. You also have no answer to my digital audio recorder vs digital camera argument. But you were able to attack me personally. I find when people resort to personal attacks they already lost the debate a long time ago.

jess shudup Contributing Member • Posts: 842
Re: I asked Vincent

and he said you should do something that I can't imagine a human doing.

But hey, that's why we have an imagination, right ?

Rock on !

EquusStorm Regular Member • Posts: 166
Re: I like the term "make a photograph!"

You are right Paul.  Making a photo is a creative act.

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JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

Omexis wrote:

I'm new to the world of photography, and I find myself using the word "Capture" for when I take a photography, it's just something I never really thought about before I read this thread. What would all the old school users use to describe taking an image??

Uhm... Taking a picture, taking a photograph. I took a picture of a family. I took some landscapes today. I took a load of pictures on holiday. Does that sound so bad. Insert capture and it's just gobbledygook.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

Omexis wrote:

bosjohn21 wrote:

Omexis wrote:

I'm new to the world of photography, and I find myself using the word "Capture" for when I take a photography, it's just something I never really thought about before I read this thread. What would all the old school users use to describe taking an image??

I am about as oldster as it gets at 71 oh I am sure there are a few older but I use capture for many years. But now I will be sure to use it just to p--s off the nay sayers who started what has to be one of the most purile and sllly threads I have seen

I didn't meaning that in the oldest sense, just the most experienced, but I will continue to use the word "capture" because that's what I am doing, "Capturing" a photograph

Capture is historically used in the retaining of someone, or and animal, that does not wish to be retained. To me that has absolutely nothing to do with recording an image of what's in front if you with a camera. However, what you are doing is seeing that scene, and taking it away with you. thecscenevis not trying to evade you as with when a capture is taking place.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

EquusStorm wrote:

I see your point, but I doubt that those commenters are slamming you as a photographer.

I went to a photography class taught by a  world class photojournalist.  He didn't like to refer to "taking" photos, but preferred the term "making" photos.  I see his point too.  It's all semantics,

I think.

Making is good too.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

Biggs23 wrote:

Dreemer wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

Actually, creation is horribly inaccurate. A photographer creates nothing. The scene already exists, the photons of lights reflected off the scene already exist, the camera already exists, etc. Even the editing of an image isn't creation, it's manipulation of information that already exists.

I’d have to disagree with that, the scene doesn’t exist, the objects exist and are bathed in radiation but no image exists until a lens is introduced, therefore the lens/camera creates the image.

Alright. But in any case the photographer doesn't create the image, the camera does. We may manipulate the camera but we don't actually 'create' anything. Actually, at a base level, nothing is ever created or destroyed anymore, but that may be a different discussion.

So Biggs, you'd say a sculpturer doesn't create his sculpture but the tools he uses does? A carpenter doesn't create a work, but his chisels and saws do instead.

Dreemer Regular Member • Posts: 378
Re: Yes i did, i created the image

Richard wrote:

Dreemer wrote:

Richard wrote:

I agree the camera, not you created a picture, You may have pointed it in some direction but the camera created a bitmap or jpg. you just pressed a button. Again there may be a creative process in selecting the subject, perspective or even editing the image created by the camera. But you created nothing. The camera created a jpeg, the printer created a print, they created something. You pointed the camera and pressed a button.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this issue

Best wishes Richard

SteveMi

I guess we will have to disagree. Although you might make a good argument that you "created" the image Lies Inc. photographing the invisible man. But you might argue you cannot photograph something that is invisible

I do know i had the devils own job taking a light reading off the invisible man, and he wouldn‘t keep still, but i think the 1/30 sec exposure came out ok.

SteveMi

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lycraloon
lycraloon New Member • Posts: 14
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

I'm not altogether sure I agree with you. I like the analogy you use of setting up a trap and "capturing" the quary so let's expand on that a little.

Your input into the result is what makes the outcome the desired one (or not if you get your settings wrong or have some kind of malfunction) but you are out there with your trap, (the camera) and you set up the kind of shot that appeals to you. The image is captured and frozen in that one moment in time and unless you are shooting a still, chances are you would never be able to capture that one moment again. Even a fraction of a second later.

I say this because I like to shoot wildlife. Now some folk get this image of me with a gun and it upsets them something aweful. (sometimes they even pound my head) but when I say I captured the image of a bird in flight, or a leopard stalking its prey, this seems to be OK wth them.

I prefer to use the term "shoot", but one has to be careful. "Capture" is not as bad as it sounds. You didn't luck out at all. You set out with purpose to capture an image and it may or may not be something that can be replicated. And sometime capturing the image is a whole lot more difficult than just aiming and shooting and lucking out on an acceptable outcome.

I guess it depends on your perspective.

JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Capture is a fine term. I think you need some perspective

Najinsky wrote:

Capture suggests both the intent and a success, like in Chess where the intent is to capture the King, and success comes when he is caught.

Uhm, no. Not like in chess. In chess you have capture the king.

It's a short but descriptive word that successfully replaces a phrase and therefore makes communication more efficient.

Replaces take, which is not a phrase.

It may also suggest some luck, but to believe there is no luck involved in photography is a little naive.

Any shot of a live/moving subject requires anticipation because there is always a delay in the capture process. The shorter the delay, the less chance plays a role, which is why pros pay lots of money for cameras with near instant response and high frames per second (and the buffer speeds to deal with them). Clearly skill and preparation can go a long way to offset chance, but there is always some variable element which is why we take multiple shots to maximise the chance of success.

There is also a black-out period during capture,

if it was indeed called capture, which is not proved yet.

so you may not know what you caught, which is why the immediacy of review with digital cameras is so valuable.

This is when you discover if you got the eye or the nose, or the branch or the bird, etc. Nobody has a 100% success rate, so again, the ones where you do catch the moment and the focus and the exposure right are your true captures, your successes.

Adding highlights like 'I HATE' and 'Hipsters' to your post suggests you need to get a bit of perspective. Which means opening yourself up to various viewpoints.

-Najinsky

Najinsky Veteran Member • Posts: 5,739
Re: Capture is a fine term. I think you need some perspective

JulesJ wrote:

if it was indeed called capture, which is not proved yet.

I'm not trying to prove anything or convince anyone. It simply comes down to how I like to communicate.

The next time you post a photo I like, I may say;

"Excellent work, nice capture"

or

"Well done, you really captured the mood"

Once I do that, one of three things will happen. Either;

a) You understand what I have tried to communicate and take the compliment offered,

b) you are confused by the strange words,

c) you are offended by the stylistic 'hipster' use of grammar.

We'll just have to wait and see which it is.

-Najinsky

SirLataxe
SirLataxe Veteran Member • Posts: 3,895
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

JulesJ wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

Dreemer wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

Actually, creation is horribly inaccurate. A photographer creates nothing. The scene already exists, the photons of lights reflected off the scene already exist, the camera already exists, etc. Even the editing of an image isn't creation, it's manipulation of information that already exists.

I’d have to disagree with that, the scene doesn’t exist, the objects exist and are bathed in radiation but no image exists until a lens is introduced, therefore the lens/camera creates the image.

Alright. But in any case the photographer doesn't create the image, the camera does. We may manipulate the camera but we don't actually 'create' anything. Actually, at a base level, nothing is ever created or destroyed anymore, but that may be a different discussion.

So Biggs, you'd say a sculpturer doesn't create his sculpture but the tools he uses does? A carpenter doesn't create a work, but his chisels and saws do instead.

Julsie,

Photog lads are always dragging out the false analogies with various true artists or craftsmen.  I think you know quite well that unformed stone & timber (the materials of sculpture & cabinetmaking) are not the same as the photog's material (already designed & made natural or man-made stuff that is merely copied with an automated machine, the camera).

And if you want an analogous tool to a camera it would be less a chisel or a saw and more a CNC machine.  Both the CNC tool and the camera perform highly automated and pre-programmed operations, requiring the operator to merely push a go-button.

The photographer's job is even easier than that of the CNC operator, since the feedstock of photography is the already-arranged photons reflected from the already-made subject-matter of the pic.  The CNC operator & his machine have to actually apply a design to unformed material; a photographer does not.

Of course, photogs will always turn to the "importance" of the viewfinder composition, the chosen moment and even their fiddling with the exposure controls.  Yes, these require a bit of knowledge and skill - but not much.  I can tell you from personal experience that it takes an enormous amount more knowledge and skill to make good furniture or play a guitar well.  (And I imagine that sculpting in stone is just as demanding).

****

Why do so many photographers want to make so much out of their photographic endeavours?  Personally I am happy to admit that my images take just a little skill and are not art, since I am copying, not remaking, reality.  Photography is a rather easy craft not unlike painting by numbers (which can also be done well or badly; and is also a 2D copy of something already designed).

Of course, there are graphic artists who may use great skill and insight to transform and transcend the normal realities via manipulation of photographic imagery.  But that is graphic art, not photography.  Few photographers do this.  In fact, one of the major tenets of photography is that it accurately represent what is imaged.

There are others who are artists at arranging a scene or a model for photographic recording.  The art is not in the shutter-pressing but in the stage-dressing & lighting - which would be just as artistic without someone pointing & clicking a camera at it.

Let's face it - photography is like driving a car: a mundane and everyday skill largely performed by a pre-programmed machine.  One may be a better or worse driver; one may go to a boring "here" rather than an exciting "there"; but it is no art and nothing special to do the driving.

SirLataxe

JoeR
JoeR Senior Member • Posts: 1,963
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

Capture is definitely the right term, as in a moment in time. A camera is a tool for capturing images.

joer56

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John1940
John1940 Senior Member • Posts: 2,749
Re: I like the term "make a photograph!"

Paul Farace wrote:

it conveys some amount of thought and control over the output...

I have a dear friend who after years of correcting her, still says "you take nice pitchers!"

Are these vessels that contain liquids or important baseball players?

Oh well...   she like the images that I make!  

-- hide signature --

John1940

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John1940
John1940 Senior Member • Posts: 2,749
Re: I like the term "make a photograph!"

Paul Farace wrote:

it conveys some amount of thought and control over the output...

I have a dear friend who after years of correcting her, still says "you take nice pitchers!"

Are these vessels that contain liquids or important baseball players?

Oh well...   she like the images that I make!  

I wonder about "making a photograph" in most instances. Around 1997 there was a pro photographer who got someone to fly a small high-wing airplane at 500 feet altitude along country roads while he took pictures of houses (such as ours) that were about 300 to 500 feet apart.. He was quite experienced at that type of photography and used real pro-level Nikon SLRs and lenses. He then developed the color film and drove along the roads to show small prints of his photos with the aim of selling 10x5 inch prints mounted on a nice wooden board that one could hang on a wall or display on a table, all for $100.

I bought one mounted print of our place because he really captured the shot while hanging out a door frame with his safely gear and camera. He did not do any post processing and had no Photoshop. The capture (if I may use that term) was great but the colors were uninspiring. When I show the mounted print to people, their reaction is minimal, or "ho-hum." Years later, I scanned the image on a good flat-bed scanner and got a tiff. The tiff was still boring on a large monitor. I then opened Photoshop and clicked AutoLevels. The picture suddenly looked fantastic to me and everyone who looked at it.

So, do I get credit for "making" a picture? I sure hope not. I just clicked the mouse. The pro did all the work in 1997 at 80 mph while hanging out of an airplane. (He did sell quite a few mounted prints, BTW.)

John1940

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John1940
John1940 Senior Member • Posts: 2,749
Re: I like the term "make a photograph!"

John1940 wrote:

Paul Farace wrote:

it conveys some amount of thought and control over the output...

I have a dear friend who after years of correcting her, still says "you take nice pitchers!"

Are these vessels that contain liquids or important baseball players?

Oh well...   she like the images that I make!  

It's a good thing I copied my reply text before posting because it was not included in the post!! I then posted it again and this time it worked. I am absolutely sure I did it right the first time.

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John1940

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Omexis Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

What about capturing the moment?? I never knew this would cause so much debate over a word. I think i'll now stick to taking a photograph, or better yet, why not use the term "pressing the button and click, I got picture"

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Steve

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JulesJ
JulesJ Forum Pro • Posts: 45,464
Re: Why I HATE the term "capture" for taking a photo...

SirLataxe wrote:

JulesJ wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

Dreemer wrote:

Biggs23 wrote:

Actually, creation is horribly inaccurate. A photographer creates nothing. The scene already exists, the photons of lights reflected off the scene already exist, the camera already exists, etc. Even the editing of an image isn't creation, it's manipulation of information that already exists.

I’d have to disagree with that, the scene doesn’t exist, the objects exist and are bathed in radiation but no image exists until a lens is introduced, therefore the lens/camera creates the image.

Alright. But in any case the photographer doesn't create the image, the camera does. We may manipulate the camera but we don't actually 'create' anything. Actually, at a base level, nothing is ever created or destroyed anymore, but that may be a different discussion.

So Biggs, you'd say a sculpturer doesn't create his sculpture but the tools he uses does? A carpenter doesn't create a work, but his chisels and saws do instead.

Julsie,

This is as far as I can be bothered to read Sit Laxative. My name is Jules!

Photog lads are always dragging out the false analogies with various true artists or craftsmen.  I think you know quite well that unformed stone & timber (the materials of sculpture & cabinetmaking) are not the same as the photog's material (already designed & made natural or man-made stuff that is merely copied with an automated machine, the camera).

And if you want an analogous tool to a camera it would be less a chisel or a saw and more a CNC machine.  Both the CNC tool and the camera perform highly automated and pre-programmed operations, requiring the operator to merely push a go-button.

The photographer's job is even easier than that of the CNC operator, since the feedstock of photography is the already-arranged photons reflected from the already-made subject-matter of the pic.  The CNC operator & his machine have to actually apply a design to unformed material; a photographer does not.

Of course, photogs will always turn to the "importance" of the viewfinder composition, the chosen moment and even their fiddling with the exposure controls.  Yes, these require a bit of knowledge and skill - but not much.  I can tell you from personal experience that it takes an enormous amount more knowledge and skill to make good furniture or play a guitar well.  (And I imagine that sculpting in stone is just as demanding).

****

Why do so many photographers want to make so much out of their photographic endeavours?  Personally I am happy to admit that my images take just a little skill and are not art, since I am copying, not remaking, reality.  Photography is a rather easy craft not unlike painting by numbers (which can also be done well or badly; and is also a 2D copy of something already designed).

Of course, there are graphic artists who may use great skill and insight to transform and transcend the normal realities via manipulation of photographic imagery.  But that is graphic art, not photography.  Few photographers do this.  In fact, one of the major tenets of photography is that it accurately represent what is imaged.

There are others who are artists at arranging a scene or a model for photographic recording.  The art is not in the shutter-pressing but in the stage-dressing & lighting - which would be just as artistic without someone pointing & clicking a camera at it.

Let's face it - photography is like driving a car: a mundane and everyday skill largely performed by a pre-programmed machine.  One may be a better or worse driver; one may go to a boring "here" rather than an exciting "there"; but it is no art and nothing special to do the driving.

SirLataxe

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