The Snapshot is King

There’s no more damning critique of a photograph than “It’s a snapshot.” This makes no sense to me.

Let’s examine what a snapshot is.

  • Snapshots are usually reserved for family, friends and events, where we’d rather be enjoying ourselves than setting up a tripod.
  • A snapshot discards the “rules” of photography and aims for pure emotion. What could be more artistic?
  • The snapshot gives voice to 3-year olds, the poor and many other groups often considered unworthy of the “art” world.

The truth is the vast majority of photographers take snapshots.

The best selling cameras are made for snapshots.

The snapshot is the medium for some of the most important pictures in history (see war time and citizen journalist photography).
Its time the snapshot got a little more respect. I find nothing wrong with it. In fact, for the joy a snapshot usually brings to my life, I care for it far more than anything hanging in a gallery.