Friday, February 08, 2008


Participating in the thing-a-day challenge has really got me thinking about what it means to make something.

For instance, I "make" my bed (well, sometimes anyway ; ). Yet, I wouldn't consider that an acceptable submission to thing-a-day. However, if I create a shape on the bed with pillows, let's say, then I would consider that just fine. That makes me want to say that the defining factor is creativity, doing something beyond the normal

However, I would also agree that making a model car or painting a paint-by-number is "making something". Yet those are not activities I see as inherently creative. You are following a preset pattern to arrive at a pre-determined result.In fact, the more successful you are, the less distinguishable your product is from the pattern. Considering that angle leads to the idea of making something as the act of production--you place discrete components together to create a product.

But where does that leave people who take photographs? Are they "making" something only when they print the final result? Is there an act of making in simply snapping the picture? Does it matter whether they style the shot or simply capture events as they unfold?

I ran into that issue specifically while taking this shot yesterday:

Imagine Shoes--Feb 6/29

Despite the picture being "artsy" and taking a fair amount of time to get just so, I had a hard time accepting just the photo was my thing for the day. Instead I opted to say that the still life was my thing for the day. It's rather bizarre though, because the whole point of the still life was to be captured on film. Unlike my other thing-a-day projects, the still life itself was not meant to enjoyed or saved--only the photograph was.

So that brings up another possible definition--creating something that is non-transient. Something that will last. Of course, who defines how long something has to last to be considered made? A sand castle that falls apart during construction is considered a failure. One that is washed away a few hours later by the sea, a success.

What are your thoughts? How do you define "making"?

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmm - good question. I guess I've always thought of making something as just that - having a physical something (even a photo or something short-term like a sand castle) come out of "nothing" - its the creative process that catches me.


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