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Ye Olde Blog

"Picture" vs "photograph"

Ryan Pennington

The difference between the casual impression and the intensified image is about as great as that separating the average business letter from a poem. If you choose your subject selectively—intuitively—the camera can write poetry.
— Harry Callahan

A picture is taken through lens of photography’s documentary history. It is a snapshot. It is a physical representation of the phrase “I remember when…” Though photography isn’t any more capable of being factually correct than a drawing or painting, we place all our trust in its product. It is just as biased as anything else in the world: color is arbitrary, tonality is subjective, perspective is distortable. Our brains are so willing to place complete faith blindly into anything that approaches realism that we are unable to see the lies contained therein. In a picture, we see the time/manner/place but we can’t know the how or why. Truth, rather, can only be contained through intent. A photograph is made through the conduit of an artist’s voice and is, by extension, a part of the artist.