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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Take a picture
Old 12-03-2010   #1
dave lackey
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Take a picture

What the heck does that mean? Seriously, it has bugged me for years and now I so bored, I want to know what it means... take it where? How can I take it somewhere until I make an image with a camera? It is almost as bad as "shoot the kids" while they are playing at the park.

If anyone can explain the origins of this phrase it will make my boring day a little brighter!
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Old 12-03-2010   #2
kossi008
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You must be bored... I never even think about this. I take a picture of a scene, literally by taking it with me as a latent image on the film in my camera...

By the way, in German, we make pictures.
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Old 12-03-2010   #3
isorgb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kossi008 View Post
By the way, in German, we make pictures.
In Poland too. "Make" sounds more adequately
However, English is a strange
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Old 12-03-2010   #4
jonmanjiro
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Just thinking out loud here...

Take a shower
Take a seat
Take it easy
Take a day off
Can you take it?

Do any of these expressions "make sense"?
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Old 12-03-2010   #5
Pickett Wilson
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I always use the word "photo" rather than "picture." Lots of ways to make a "picture." Takes a camera to take a photo.
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Old 12-03-2010   #6
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jonmanjiro--Yes, they all make sense because they are perfectly good English. Every English speaker knows what they mean. If we get into a discussion of combinations of words that at face value seen strange to someone, then this discussion will never ever end!
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Old 12-03-2010   #7
finguanzo
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take a s_ _t, Id rather leave it honestly, but I guess its just how its said..??
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Old 12-03-2010   #8
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Maybe because you're grabbing the scene that's already there... you had nothing to do with the creation of the scene. Say you're at Niagara Falls. You didn't make the falls, they're already there for your benefit! So when you press the shutter button, you're taking what's there. Not making it. Well, you're making a negative, but the important part is the waterfall, not the negative. You can make a negative anywhere at anytime. But to "take" a picture, is totally different!

Also, like finguanzo said, might as well explain "take a s--t!"
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Old 12-03-2010   #9
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The cruel irony is that many photographs are s--t! So in the end, it makes perfect sense.
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Old 12-03-2010   #10
robklurfield
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if you "take" someone's picture are you stealing their soul?
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Old 12-03-2010   #11
nikon_sam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robklurfield View Post
if you "take" someone's picture are you stealing their soul?
Yes, and this only works with film...a digital capture doesn't work the same way...
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Old 12-03-2010   #12
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lol.........
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon_sam View Post
Yes, and this only works with film...a digital capture doesn't work the same way...
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Old 12-03-2010   #13
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Reminds me of a scene from a movie I once saw (Crocodile Dundee I think it was)...

PHOTOG: ((holds up camera))

NATIVE: You cannot take my picture!

PHOTOG: Are you afraid the camera will steal your soul?

NATIVE: No, your lens cap is still on!
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Old 12-03-2010   #14
Michael Da Re
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The image you see in your viewfinder essentially belongs to the subject you are photographing. So by pressing the shutter button you are in fact taking their picture, image, photo, etc...


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Old 12-03-2010   #15
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Well it is more a disrespectful saying...

If you were caught starring at some one or something....
You might hear

"Take a Picture, It will last longer"

It is more of a snide remark.
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Old 12-03-2010   #16
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Quote:
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jonmanjiro--Yes, they all make sense because they are perfectly good English. Every English speaker knows what they mean.
thanks. that was exactly my point
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Old 12-03-2010   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikon_sam View Post
Quote:
if you "take" someone's picture are you stealing their soul?
Yes, and this only works with film...a digital capture doesn't work the same way...
Of course not! Digital is more like xeroxing, or cloning!
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Old 12-05-2010   #18
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George Carlin: "Don't take any of mine, I only have three left and the weekend's coming up."

Regarding "taking" a photograph, there's something interesting about the idea of ownership in photography, like when a photog "takes" a shot (i.e. exposes an image) there's immediately the issue of intellectual property and ownership: does the photog now "own" what he's "taken"? Does the subject (assuming the subject is a person) have any ownership in this transaction, too? Yes, depending. This gets into that whole can of worms around privacy and photographer's rights, etc.

Sidestepping the controversial, at the very least there remains the fact that, in order for a photograph to be recorded, something has to be "taken", the photographer takes an image with him when he departs from the scene of the crime; he's taken a few photons-worth of visual information, recorded on film or silicon, representing what the camera "saw" at a particular spot in space-time. The word "take" is replete with meaning. It implies a transaction, as if there is a winner and a loser. There can be, sometimes, but it depends, it's situational.

I like the thought experiment of what happens to all of those photons that bounce off of objects and don't get recorded as photographs at all, ever. There's countless billions of potential photographs being lost every second. So what if someone interjects a camera into that process, capturing a few of them? Once we think about that process, it seems the presence of the camera (and by implication the photographer, even if the camera is remotely controlled, i.e. surveillance) has more to do with what we think about the photographic process, after the fact. No one cares, at the time the image was captured, if it happens in the middle of the wilderness; it's only afterwords, hanging on a gallery's walls, that we care. It's all about context, the process of photography, that we fill with meaning through words like "take". Without the camera, those photons are lost.

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Old 12-08-2010   #19
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It's like at Circle K - 'take a picture, leave a picture'.
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