After reading Brian Auer’s blog entry “Who Qualifies As A Photographer?” it got me thinking about a more profound question that was once brought to my attention. When I first became interested in photography I was introduced to the concept of a “photograph” versus a “snapshot”. To be honest when I first heard the definition (see below) I thought it was rather pretentious, but as I’ve honed my skills and discovered how challenging it is to master photography I’ve found the distinction to be quite accurate.
As noted in my comment to Brian’s post…
The real question is not who is a photographer, but what is a “photograph” and what is a “snapshot”. Someone that helped shape my interest in photography once broke down the “photograph” vs. “snapshot” question as such:
A “snapshot” can be taken of anything and of varying quality (composition, exposure, etc.) Usually a “snapshot” is a quick rough capture to document a scene or event. A “photograph” on the other hand is a well thought, composed, exposed and executed art form.
I should clarify per the definition of a “snapshot” that there is a distinct difference between this and photojournalism. Although photojournalism may produce images that seem to fit the “snapshot” definition photojournalists employ a variety of techniques that transcend pointing and shooting.
The next time you look at an image think to yourself, “Is this a photograph or a snapshot?”. Over time you might see the differentiation and it might just impact how you approach capturing a scene.
[tags]photograph, photography, snapshot, definition, art form, photojournalist, photojournalism, philosophy[/tags]