October 21, 2005 by Allen George
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.