In my opinion, you can not say you saw something before you photographed it.
About the writer and journalist Émile Zola
Émile Édouard Charles Antoine Zola was born on April 2, 1840 in Paris, where he died on September 29, 1902. He is one of the most important writers of this era and devoted himself to his work as a conscientious journalist of the young photography.
Undaunted, he intervened to find the truth, even when he jumped in an open letter in 1898 for artillery captain Alfred Dreyfuss, who was unjustly convicted of treason. For this support he should be punished, but he managed to escape to England.
There he continued his photography until he returned to Paris in 1899 due to an Amnesty. All in all, he made around 7,000 portrait photographs, some of which he colored experimentally.