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“Nice Capture”

I get this comment on occasion for my images, and I confess I have used it in the past on other photographer’s work. Now I do appreciate the fact that someone has stopped by, taken a look, and took the effort to comment. More than they know.

But I must also confess that I have become slightly (not a lot, but slightly) uncomfortable with it.

Here’s the deal: I take the expression literally.

So if I am walking around with my camera, or if I am purposely shooting something that I have no control over, then yea, I “captured it.”

But if I am in studio, or on location, and I am posing an individual, I’ve set the lighting, I’ve done my homework and planned a concept, have I really “captured” something? Or have I “created” it?

We have a saying in the South: you have your photograph “made”. They say “taken” in other parts of the country, but here we say “made.” As in creating something out of nothing. As in a deliberate effort to make something that did not exist before.

I’m sure Michelangelo didn’t get the comment, “Hey Mike – nice capture” on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I’m not Mike, but a lot of what comes out of my head – good and bad – wasn’t around  before I decided to get off my lazy butt and create it. Goes for the model as well. We “made” it.

Maybe I’m wrong and “nice capture” encapsulates a whole range of emotion and condenses a plethora of words and ideas into a single, simple phrase. And I would rather have “nice capture” than nothing at all. But if you are offering me a choice, I would take “nice image” or “nice picture” or “nice photograph” over “nice capture”. The economy of expression remains roughly the same. They just seem to imply, to me at least, a reflection of the effort that went into the piece.

I try to live by the same advice, so if I comment and say “nice capture,” just point me to your rant. I’ll understand.

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