A Photographer’s Raw Material

As a  photographer, what’s the raw  material that you work with?

For example:

A potter works with clay as their  raw material.

A carpenter works with wood as their raw material.

A chef works with food as their raw material.

The question is: A photographer  works with___?__ as their raw material.

Fill in the blank by leaving a reply below as your answer.

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10 thoughts on “A Photographer’s Raw Material”

    1. Hi Doug,

      Thank you for your comment.

      While vision/imagination are absolutely important, I don’t see this as being our “raw material”.

      Just as a potter uses their vision/imagination to visualize the piece that they want to create, they use clay as their raw material to create a tangible piece of work.

      1. Hi Sam,
        I thought about this for a little bit. Light is clearly one of the most critical components in creating a photograph. And I can see your argument, as light it was my initial thought too.

        But what I think that is different for us as photographers is that we use available/ambient light, we can create it w/ strobes, we can shape it, limit it, increase it.

        So it is a raw material, but it also is a tool. As my photography skill and eye develop, how I see or imagine the scene becomes my raw material. I can shape the image based on these two components and I can either use light or not use light by removing light from a subject or scene. Granted- w/out any light we could not expose so I would concede this point. But is one’s vision that I believe is truly the raw material in the creation of a photograph.

        Your latest photo of the subway w/ the escalator- I thought was quite good-


        1. Hi Doug,

          Thank you for the conversation.

          I appreciate your view.

          I see a raw material as what we have in common as craftspeople.

          I see our vision as what separates us.


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