Mike points out that I have a tendency to get upset, especially when it comes to photography. “You’re hilarious”, he said. Whack. Another golf ball joined its hapless colleagues at the other side of our living room. “You’re hilarious because you’re so particular about photography…”

A few minutes earlier I’d said that I get extremely upset if, on showing my photos to people, they say “Oh wow – nice photo – you must have a great camera”

A camera is not endowed with creativity – we are. For all a photograph’s purported objectivity, the image you see is an exercise in subjectivity. The angle chosen, how much of the subject you decide to include, the colors you bring out…these are all your choices not the camera’s.

No one wants to hear how many times you go to the same place, trying different angles, different lighting, different times of day to try and go beyond a snapshot. It’s more comforting to think that you can point the camera at something – anything – and a great image will result. It doesn’t work like that. As I look at more and more exceptional work by photographers like David Ward, Peter Lik and Barry Brukoff, I’m conscious of just how far I have to go to approach their level. There’s so much work to do.

But of course, no one wants to hear that. Easier to think that you can abdicate all vision to the magic box.


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  • I have a tiny digital camera. I like point and clicking. Another friend of mine who’s into photography (Fine arts major, and takes courses in it) scoffed at the camera as something that could not take good photographs.

    Think of it this way: Some are admiring the QUALITY of the image. I know when I see a photograph that’s crystal clear, with no soft edges, and with solid colours, that it’s not JUST the person responsible for the photograph… the equipment has something to do with it. I can try as I might with my digital camera, but I will ALWAYS get soft edges (due to the tiny lens I think) and the colour quality will never match a DLSR.

    That being said, a work of art can be made using crayons just as well as it can be made using oil based paints given a talented artist.

    Keep in mind, you seem to salivate over nice cameras :)

  • Yes, I salivate over nice cameras. That’s because I have a predeliction towards spending money on tangible equipment. But equipment’s only part of the story.

    All the money, all the equipment can’t give you creativity.

    There’s a difference between photo quality and content. My post concerns content. But while equipment is responsible for part of the quality, it’s not responsible for all of it. You, as the photographer have to read, understand what’s out there and how to use it. That takes time and effort to get the results you want.

  • Good point. A good artist knows his/her tools and also knows which tools will aid towards a finished piece they desire.