• Please use real names.

    Greetings to all who have registered to OPF and those guests taking a look around. Please use real names. Registrations with fictitious names will not be processed. REAL NAMES ONLY will be processed

    Firstname Lastname

    Register

    We are a courteous and supportive community. No need to hide behind an alia. If you have a genuine need for privacy/secrecy then let me know!
  • Welcome to the new site. Here's a thread about the update where you can post your feedback, ask questions or spot those nasty bugs!

In Perspective, Fun: So what is a snap?

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
There's one loaded word in photography, one that is both fun and also sometimes taken as a dismissive insult. It's the word "snap".

What do you feel about this word in photography.

Asher :)
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
It describes most of my images, unfortunately.
Meaning what? You just came out of the car, pointed your camera and "Snap!" Or is it the fear that most of your work is unworthy of being taken seriously?

and what standards are we to be held to?

Asher
 

Ruben Alfu

New member
Wasn´t Cartier Bresson kind of a snap shooter? To me snap is not the same as bad photo, but a snap without a "magic moment" is, at least, a boring photo (which by the way explains the sedative effect of my portfolio).
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Wasn´t Cartier Bresson kind of a snap shooter? To me snap is not the same as bad photo, but a snap without a "magic moment" is, at least, a boring photo (which by the way explains the sedative effect of my portfolio).
Well, Ruben,

What do you think HCB's hit rate for "greats" from his tens of thousands of "snaps"? Is the whole exercise developing the skill, vision and reflexes to snap at the right moment and know what to keep and what to throw away?

Asher
 

charlie chipman

New member
Snap: Look it up and you will find words and phrases like hurried, quick, most often without artistic or journalistic intent, casual, amateur, for private use with a small camera.

It seems as though its definition is simply somebodies opinion which is not a definition at all and for that very reason I have come to embrace the snap.
I like to take it literally because our shutters do exactly that..... snap!

Snap is just another way to describe a picture, image, capture, photograph, etc.

If it is intentionally meant as an insult then I think that says more about the person using it as an insult than the snap itself.
 
In everyday life the term doesn't bother me.

In this environment, which espouses to hold itself to higher standards and expects members to post only their best, it immediately conjures up a cartoonish image of a critic looking down his nose.

I cringe evey time I see it applied to a member's work. No, It hasn't happened to me...yet.
 
There's one loaded word in photography, one that is both fun and also sometimes taken as a dismissive insult. It's the word "snap".

What do you feel about this word in photography.

Asher :)
I think most "serious" photographers take "snap" as a pejorative when applied to their own photo or when applying it to someone else's photo.

I take "snaps" of family and club events and even sometimes when traveling, but they aren't posted for critique nor do I represent them as "art" (whatever that means).
 

Ruben Alfu

New member
Well, Ruben,

What do you think HCB's hit rate for "greats" from his tens of thousands of "snaps"? Is the whole exercise developing the skill, vision and reflexes to snap at the right moment and know what to keep and what to throw away?

Asher
I´d have to select "all above" and, in the case of HCB, let´s add that secret ingredient called "talent". Now of course, that´s easier to understand than to apply, at least for me. It takes discipline and time I guess. Back to your question about how does the word snap feels, I feel bad when a photo I consider almost fine art is called like that, but that´s ok, it´s actually good to have an optional nice word for photos with little interest or artistic value.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In everyday life the term doesn't bother me.

In this environment, which espouses to hold itself to higher standards and expects members to post only their best, it immediately conjures up a cartoonish image of a critic looking down his nose.

I cringe evey time I see it applied to a member's work. No, It hasn't happened to me...yet.
Winston,

In the old days of film, the snaps were taken with the Kodak and other box cameras. There was a tiny viewer in one corner of the box and a simple shutter. That was a hit or miss, "snap". As photography got cheaper and with the advent of 36 pictures in a roll of 35 mm film, one could snap away and find lots of "keepers". Even the greatest photographers, with all their experience and skill, also made "snaps", but the percentage of "keepers" was no doubt higher than for us.

I am beginning to think that snapping is really an art different from the measured imagery we build with a Large format camera, where there are just 2 shots for every film holder loaded. These are the extremes: snapping and artfully building. In practice, with our modern cameras, using the LCD screen, (instead of Jim Galli's exquisite upside down world on the LF ground glass), we can do both. We can snap, look at the result and snap again, each time hopefully improving or exploring a new approach.

So snaps are really an essential part of modern DLR photography and being iterative, is more plastic and malleable a process, like working with clay. One sees immediately the effect of ones actions and can then make adjustments in real time.

To be honest then, we snap and then select what to keep and then select again what to share. If we have an idea in this, a real concept, then the snap is like the sculptors chisel, gradually we isolate our one unique concept that was always there, hidden perhaps, embedded in the mass of everything we can experience around us.

Asher

The cartoon was apt and I don't feel that anyone means to be negative, although some folk sure take it that way and then it hurts.
 

DLibrach

New member
Can someone define "snap" for me? And what does it matter anyways? Is a 'snap' not just a moment in time captured by our cameras? Are not all images 'snaps'? Why do we commonly refer to 'snaps' in a negative term.

Yes, there are images that do not "do it" for us aesthetically and that seem to have been taken without much forethought as to composition, relationship, lighting, engagement and other things that we tend to look for in a photograph. But that just makes it an unappealing image, does it not? It does not mean that the photographer did not try to implement some (or all) of those things.

Every image I take (and I believe every photographer takes) is a 'snap'. I think the problem is that we are using the wrong word to describe an image that we do not find aesthetically pleasing that seems to have been taken without much thought. However, I would argue that any image that any photographer consciously presses the shutter, has some sort of thought and intention at that moment. Just because we don't see it or the results did not reflect it, does not mean it did not exist.

Cheers,
D
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Hi David,

You ask, what is a snap and does it matter anyway? I think that Ken Tanaka, for example, might call this, a snap. I agree but I rank it as worth my attention and not just a memento. It still is a snap, an instinctively caught magic moment. All the other pictures around it were likely not as impressive. Is it merely a snap? No it's not!

Asher
 
Winston,

In the old days of film, the snaps were taken with the Kodak and other box cameras. There was a tiny viewer in one corner of the box and a simple shutter. That was a hit or miss, "snap". As photography got cheaper and with the advent of 36 pictures in a roll of 35 mm film, one could snap away and find lots of "keepers". Even the greatest photographers, with all their experience and skill, also made "snaps", but the percentage of "keepers" was no doubt higher than for us.

I am beginning to think that snapping is really an art different from the measured imagery we build with a Large format camera, where there are just 2 shots for every film holder loaded. These are the extremes: snapping and artfully building. In practice, with our modern cameras, using the LCD screen, (instead of Jim Galli's exquisite upside down world on the LF ground glass), we can do both. We can snap, look at the result and snap again, each time hopefully improving or exploring a new approach.

So snaps are really an essential part of modern DLR photography and being iterative, is more plastic and malleable a process, like working with clay. One sees immediately the effect of ones actions and can then make adjustments in real time.

To be honest then, we snap and then select what to keep and then select again what to share. If we have an idea in this, a real concept, then the snap is like the sculptors chisel, gradually we isolate our one unique concept that was always there, hidden perhaps, embedded in the mass of everything we can experience around us.

Asher

The cartoon was apt and I don't feel that anyone means to be negative, although some folk sure take it that way and then it hurts.
You asked How I felt about it and I told you...nothing's changed.

My dad gave me my first Brownie Box about sixty years ago.
 

John Angulat

pro member
There's one loaded word in photography, one that is both fun and also sometimes taken as a dismissive insult. It's the word "snap".

What do you feel about this word in photography.

Asher :)
I believe Winston and Charles are correct in their observations.
When used in a dismissive manner, the term can hurt.
I'd prefer constructive criticism that helps me understand why a particular image "doesn't cut it".
Some of us are not as experienced as others here at OPF.
Nevertheless, we enjoy making images and look to the more talented for guidance and encouragement.
Just my 2 cents worth.
 

ErikJonas

Banned
................

So i'm going to throw in my limited knowledge rookie 2 cents worth.....

A snap shot,to me is one poorly composed and very flat or very harsh lighting....

You can have a girl lay on a bed,take a picture of her with her ass in the air and call yourself a photographer but this does not make you a photographer nor her a model...Yet you see this a LOT on so called model sites...Like Model Mayhem....

Theres a reason i wont let models that i manage shoot with 90% of the guys out there calling themselves photographers....Cause what they have is crap...Crap thats eqaul to a snap shot...

To have a high end image that is worthy of being in a portfolio as a model image a snap shot will NEVER qualify....Ever....And people who post snaps thats the limit of what they can do with a camera....And THAT is NOT photography....Any 11 year old can do snap shots....

I can drive fast but this does not qaulify me to be a race car driver...
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
So i'm going to throw in my limited knowledge rookie 2 cents worth.....

A snap shot,to me is one poorly composed and very flat or very harsh lighting....
Erik,

I don't know how we got to a girl lying on the bed, I'll leave that world to you, for now, LOL!

The subject is the use of the word snap in photography. You take it to cover dingy images that are poorly conceived and executed. That is not what we'd even consider as a snap!

A snap has to be at least presentable and nice to see or interesting. Generally, when we refer to a "snap" it's to a memento at a family gathering or perhaps a parade going past. One takes a picture to record happy events or perhaps family at a graveside. These do not need to be artfully designed with some overarching concept that rises above what is recorded: a personal experience for the book of memories.

So that is one snap that is wonderful as a part of our lives for the last 100 years! Those very same snapshots might be assembled for new works of art. Again, a positive aspect of the snap. Historians and social anthropologists might look to family snapshots to peer into the family and societal values at the time.

So where does "snap" become negative?

It's that rare time when one presents work, (even one's best perhaps), and someone dismisses it as "just a snap", in other words, it's limited in value to the personal album of the shooters, that's all. Well, I don't find that to be such a bad thing. Nigel's pictures here and here are perfect, treasurable snaps and I love them. They brought all his family joy. I showed them to my own folk and they loved them too. .. and they are merely "snaps! If I said, They're just snaps", there would be no offense given or I believe taken.

What happens is when one puts forth work that one has designed with some care and it's referred to as a "snap" in a context that's dismissive, it can shake one's confidence! That's different, bad and to be avoided if at all possible. So I guess we should be considerate in how we describe our reactions.

Let's get rid of the idea that a snap is not a good thing. I like to take snapshots. Nicolas has laughed at me taking pictures as I walked with him in Bordeaux, literally shooting from the hip as I walk. "What's the point?" he'd ask by his look! Well, I was simply sampling the world with my camera. Of course, Nicolas who earns his living every day by framing carefully the best considered compositions, frowns on the idea of such frivolity, but he accepts this as part of me being who I am. Is any of that of value? Well, I'd not exclude that possibility altogether.

Still there's another side of me where I plan every detail of a shot. It's sketched, all the angles are known and options are listed. At the shoot, there is snapping within a fine set of boundaries, but I'm still just taking snaps to build what I want devoid of what I want to exclude. So for me, even at the best of times, I'm a lost soul, cannot escape being a snapper!

Asher
 

ErikJonas

Banned
...............

Asher your best asset is not your camera....It is that you are so incredably well spoken and so very sincere.........

Theres a value to snap shots....I have a problem though when someone who shoots snap shots calls themselves a professional photographer merely cause they have taken a number of pictures....
 

Mike Shimwell

New member
Asher your best asset is not your camera....It is that you are so incredably well spoken and so very sincere.........

Theres a value to snap shots....I have a problem though when someone who shoots snap shots calls themselves a professional photographer merely cause they have taken a number of pictures....


Hi Erik,

I would consider altering your definition of a professional photographer to one who gets paid for photographing (not the same necessarily as being paid for selling a few prints unless that constitutes a significant proportion of total income). Then there is no direct connection between quality of output and the term professional - although you would hope that there was some sort of correlation over time:) In the UK the term professional has a number of connotations, but key amongst these are the ability to charge a fee for services and an expectation of a degree of expertise in your subject (so only accepting work you are qualified to undertake) and integrity in how you behave, which may well include working longer hours without pay to deliver what is required.

For me, snap shots a pictures taken as memory joggers on the spur of the moment. My family, a beach etc. Sometimes I take pictures of the same things with more intent - there is after all a continuum - or I see something that makes a 'bigger picture' whilst I am out and would otherwise snap away. Snap shots are good things in this context.

Perhaps Ken can comment on 'the snapshot aesthetic'?

There are snapshots that evoke memories or emotion in a broader group of people than just that of the immediate family. These also have a place and some you will find in galleries that sell prints in editions of 500.

Mike
 

ErikJonas

Banned
.................

Mike thanks for the well put response to my comment....

I started out not shooting but managing models and learned quickly that here the term professional has no connection to the quality of the image....And that some semi-pros or even hobbiest can shoot a better frame for a models portfolio then some so called professionals...

I have been labeled by many, many people as professional...Yet at this point i dont make much money on what i do...Theres a lot of terms to throw round....There are people out there shooting who never go to forums or have any thoughts of selling images and they create these wonderful images....But you also have these people who cant take a decent frame and they charge for what they cant do and they call themselves professional....

Snap shots as i said have a place...But there are people who have nothing more then snap shots,they cant do any better and they call themselves professional...... I dont know...Professional would have to have a certain level of skill and ability attached to it....

Theres a very clear differance between a skilled photographer and someone whos walking around hitting a shutter release thinking that makes them a photographer....
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Theres a very clear differance between a skilled photographer and someone whos walking around hitting a shutter release thinking that makes them a photographer....
Erik,

We aren't, I think, really concerned here with the snaps of this person without skills snapping away. We could address this, but that's not the snaps we refer to. Mike Shimwell is in a family event, grabs a camera and gets the shot, just a snap. That's one type of snap we value here, not made as high faluting, hoity toity or grandiose art. Rather it's a modest, but important family treasure. To me it's art when it transcends that family and I own it too in my heart. No matter what, it still was, is and always will be just a snap.

If being a snapper means not being "professional" then I'm excluded for sure. Even when I plan my shots weeks in advance, in the end I also snap away.

So let's not use the word snap to mean anything so mindless as your hapless fella, wandering the streets with too many buttons on his camera and his pants falling down, snapping at everything that appears!

Asher
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
Ah, this old topic has erupted again?! I think I made all the remarks I could on this subject several months ago. "Snapshot" is not necessarily a term of slight, although it does refer to a casual photographic style.

May I suggest a wonderful book that highlights the history of the snapshot, mainly by examples? The Art of the American Snapshot by National Gallery curator Sarah Greenough and Matt Witkovsky (my friend, and now chair and curator of photography here at the Art Institute of Chicago) is a wonderful work on the subject. I highly recommend it for the Christmas lists of anyone interested in the "snapshot" and a more casual history of common photography in the public's hands.

Meanwhile, don't wring your hands too hard over the subject. The overwhelming number of photos you'll see on Internet photo sites fall into the "snapshot" category.
 

fahim mohammed

Active member
A snap for one is a treasure for the other. What is a snap worth? to whom? To me a photograph taken
on the spur of the moment to capture an instance of time. maybe priceless to me, worthless to someone else.

Also a sound made when the camera trigger is presses...the sound has different frequencies. All cameras
snap...some photographs pop, some crackle. to some after a few schnapps a photograph becomes a snap.
a little later it becomes art so that everybody is left wondering what they could be.

Please enjoy your snaps, however you have prepared for them.
 

Ken Tanaka

pro member
Hi David,

You ask, what is a snap and does it matter anyway? I think that Ken Tanaka, for example, might call this, a snap. I agree but I rank it as worth my attention and not just a memento. It still is a snap, an instinctively caught magic moment. All the other pictures around it were likely not as impressive. Is it merely a snap? No it's not!

Asher
I just noticed this comment from Asher from several days ago and want to add a remark.

Actually, Asher, that doesn't appear to be a snapshot at all. Unless this girl routinely trampolines for her father, this appears to be quite staged. That, in itself, does not exclude it from the category. Many photographers stage snapshot-style images (ex: Jeff Wall). But this girl also seems very conscious of the camera and of herself. So I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as a snapshot, per se.
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
I just noticed this comment from Asher from several days ago and want to add a remark.

Actually, Asher, that doesn't appear to be a snapshot at all. Unless this girl routinely trampolines for her father, this appears to be quite staged. That, in itself, does not exclude it from the category. Many photographers stage snapshot-style images (ex: Jeff Wall). But this girl also seems very conscious of the camera and of herself. So I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as a snapshot, per se.
Good points! So to you the snap is the unprepared moment of the subject, perhaps?

Asher
 
Top