The picture taker and the photographer

A while back, my good friend Braden and I were out and about with our cameras and decided to grab a drink at a local watering hole. We sat and chatted about everything and nothing all at the same time, it was a great ending to an eventful day. As the beer flowed, eventually the appetizer came and it (not us) caught the attention of a somewhat familiar face sitting at the table next to us. She looked at me and said "Hey you're Taylor, right? The picture taker?" To be honest, at first I was a little offended... Thinking to myself...shit is that what people see me as? Maybe it was just my ego saying (at the risk of sounding pretentious) "I'm much more than a picture taker, I'm a photographer, an artist" or maybe it was the level of alcohol in her system and the fact that adjectives were a thing of the past at that point...but it stuck with me. 

I asked myself if there was a difference between the two. One one hand you have the "picture taker" that can take pretty pictures of whatever may be in front of the lens, on the other hand you have the photographer who takes time to actually craft an image. An image that has depth, meaning and purpose within the frame. At first, everyone who picks up a camera and likes to press the shutter could be considered a "picture taker". Someone who enjoys taking pictures and posting/showing them off but lacks a direction or purpose. As that enjoyment turns to fulfillment and taking turns to making I believe there is some sort of transcendence into a photographer that takes place.

There is some sort of threshold, or event horizon that some of us pass through, where a picture becomes a photograph and that frame becomes your voice to the world. It's most likely not one singular moment, if it was I think we'd all sit around waiting for that moment to happen. I think it is more of a change in the thought process of the one holding the camera and the more thinking involved, the deeper the image becomes. When it comes down to it, I think the fundamental difference between a "picture taker" and a photographer is the thought behind an image. 

When you look at this image, what do you see? Is it just a BW of two kids playing soccer? Or, is it an image that captures the essence of a summer afternoon spent with best friends. I urge you to look beyond the first dimension...How are each of the subjects looking at one another, where is there attention? Who is learning from who? What is their demeanor, posture? Questions like these differentiate the "picture taker" from the photographer.