Making and taking

I was recently in a new shopping centre by St Paul’s in London. On approaching the elevator through one of the entrances, one gets a fantastic perspective of the cathedral in the reflection of a glass pane surrounding the main central column.

Being a massive reflection fan, I pointed out the view to my sister, who, knowing me well enough, immediately tells me to take a photo. I declined.

I’m not a fan of the expression “Making a photo”. I’ve heard this term used by several photographers in various forms and it always seems to me, somewhat arrogant… It makes me feel uncomfortable.

I have no pretences about what I do with a camera. Even at the height of expressing a vision through whatever interpretation is possible through the mechanisms available in modern digital photography, I’m always acutely aware that I’m starting with an existing nature that is beyond my control and grateful for the opportunity. The time of day and angle of view may all be my choice, but not my doing.

It’s reminiscent of my opinions about architectural street photography; if I’m capturing an angle or view of a structure that the architect intended, how can I claim it for myself?

I’m not a completely religious person… I have my theories. I’m certainly not going into my opinions of the “grand architect” or “director of light” here. The most I can do is try to express my interpretation of the beauty around me, but to say I MADE it, seems somewhat ungracious.

For me the only people who can truly speak of ‘making’ a photo are the ones sat (stood… Charging around) in a studio… Who’s choices and determinations of lighting are complete and undisputed.

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