Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Photographs Not Taken: what makes a photographer freeze?

“The American photographer Christian Patterson was driving along a deserted road in rural Nebraska when he saw a house on fire. He jumped out of his car and ran towards the house, but the intense heat drove him back. As he was about to take a picture of the scene, a truck pulled up and a man jumped out. He fell to his knees, crying. A fire truck arrived but, by then, the house and all its contents were reduced to ash……..These are just two of the 62 stories collected by Will Steacy in a new book, Photographs Not Taken, published by Daylight. In his introduction, Steacy, a photographer himself, describes it as “a collection of essays by photographers about moments that never became a picture”. He writes: “Here, the process of making a photograph has been reversed. Instead of looking out into the world through a camera lens, these essays look directly into the mind’s eye to reveal where photographs come from in their barest and most primitive form – the original idea.” WRITES  in the Guardian , more here

This is an interesting idea, I sometimes muse on missed opportunities, I am slightly concerned though that something that was not taken can be called a photograph. If it is a photograph not taken then by definition it cannot be a photograph…enough all too confusing.  As always Sean O’Hagen writes cogently and with interest.

Below is a photograph not taken

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