Notes on our January "Little Gallery" discussion on "Snapshot Photograph:"

As usual I came armed with notes for our discussion, but barely needed to refer to them, as the repartee continued along between our members. However, I thought I'd include some of my notes and thoughts here. If interested, read on...

With true art it is not so much the subject, but rather how you see and present it that makes it moving.

On the other hand, a pure "snapshot" is not based on the artistic presentation but simply the presence of the subject. It is created without a predilection for creativity...with little or no design skills, but rather a banal documentation of a subject with, at most, a "canned" expression of delight. This is what leads to it referred to in a derogatory tone.

The "snapshot aesthetic" photographers, such as Garry Winogrand, Lisette Model, Nan Golden, William Eggleston, Robert Frank and others have enabled a hybrid of the two types of photography above. The revered group mentioned here knowingly drew back from the usual compositional and technical controls in order to better capture an candid representation of their immediatee worlds. In that sense, they managed to "put in a bottle" (the photo capture) the truths that others might have missed or avoided.

Said Lisette Model, "I am a passionate lover of the snapshot because, of all photographers' images, it comes closest to the truth. The snapshooters' pictures have an apparent disorder and imperfection, which is exactly their appeal and their style. The picture isn't straight. It isn't done well. It isn't composed. It isn't thought out. And out of this imbalance, and out of this not knowing, and out of this real innocence toward the medium comes an enormous vitality and expression of life."

Online references:

"Tje Art of the Snapshot Photograph"/ Discover Digital Photography

"Photographers and the snapshot aesthetic"/Jules Tern

Snapshot Aesthetic photograph by Robert Frank