I worked for a summer at the Maine Photographic Workshops as a Teaching Assistant. Every week the new workshop schedule would start and David Lyman, the Director, welcomed everyone to Rockport and gave a brief presentation.
The most memorable thing I took away from his sessions was the approach that photographers should take, especially as we descended on a small fishing village in Maine. He always reminded us to make pictures; taking pictures implied that we were removing something from our subject.
The jargon in photography is very aggressive and it shouldn’t be. We take photographs and we go on a shoot, for example. I prefer to make photographs. It’s a technicality and I may be making something of nothing but it’s the way I approach what I do.
Usually, if I point my camera at someone I like to talk to them. I rarely use long lenses and typically use a 24 to 50 mm zoom lens. If I photograph people I want to be up close and communicating with them. The stolen, long lens shot just never made sense to me. I also don’t like the way long lenses compress space.
The mentality, mindset or approach you take makes a big difference in the output. If I remind myself that I’m making photographs…creating something new…I pay attention to each step (exposure, printing) and make a conscious effort to be thoughtful about the process and realize that I’m making something. I’m also more gentle with the subject, whether I’m photographing people, objects or the land.