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PHOTOGRAPHS  vs.  Snapshots

When you look at a snapshot the main thing you're looking at is a memory. It doesn't matter if part of her head got cut off or if she's slightly out of focus. All that matters is that the picture is clear enough to preserve some memories. A lot more matters in a true photograph. A photograph is, or should be, an artistic interpretation of an event,  person or object. Its purpose is to tell the viewer something about its subject. It should show not just what the subject is, but what it is like. And it should do so with impact and style. To accomplish this, a photograph must be composed. All its elements must be selected and arranged to work together toward some unified effect. The main difference between a snapshot and a photograph is the care with which each is produced. Taking a snapshot involves little more than pointing the camera in the right direction and clicking the shutter. Taking a photograph requires paying attention to every detail within the frame, and getting all of them just right, before the shutter is clicked. That is what composition is basically all about: paying attention. No matter how interesting your subject may be, you have not really photographed it until you have placed it carefully within the frame, gotten rid of anything that distracts attention from it, made sure that all the various elements are working together. In a broad sense, the subject of a photograph is far less important than its composition. Absolutely anything can be photographed well or poorly. Once you've begun seeing with a photographer's eye, you'll discover that there are wonderful images all around you far more than you could ever hope to capture. Whether you continue to practice photography or not, the way you look at the world around you will probably be changed forever. Photography is an art of discovery. It is an exploration of the endless variety of line, texture, shape, light, motion and perspective - all the fundamental elements of composition. Before focusing on each separate element, it is important to develop a sense of how they all work together. Not many people have an opportunity to learn to explore the world in this way. Enjoy the exploration.

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