Sunday 17 January 2021

Why make life harder?

I don't read many technical reviews about photography, unless I'm looking for new equipment. When I do it's to investigate providing a solution to a problem, it's not simply to buy more kit.

I do read interviews with photographers: how did they achieve success, how do they decide lighting, equipment etc.

Unfortunately there is often a familiar thread to them: photography is not just about equipment, it is art; which I agree with. But one subject, that I don't understand is almost always mentioned. The photographer will say, " I use camera X because it forces me to slow down". What does that means? It's invariably in connection with the use of a piece of old, difficult to use or limited equipment. I get the impression the statement is used to infer some kind of superiority. The article will have mentioned the photographer just considers their camera to be a tool; so why can't they slow down whilst using more mainstream technology?

Are they saying the results of their efforts are better because they were able to overcome the trials imposed by the choice of equipment?

To anyone apart from some other photographers, the process used to produce a picture is irrelevant. Few would care that the camera used was incredibly heavy, was so basic every setting took a maths degree and twenty years of experience to calculate. Or that many peculiarities of the camera had to be overcome before the shutter button was pressed. 

Maybe this is why pictures taken on phones are considered inferior, just because it's so easy. Good composition and an understanding of what you want to achieve isn't dependant on the camera used.

Too many articles and interviews include tired cliches. These lines are used in an attempt to demonstrate superiority or a higher level of knowledge. They can be barriers to a wider inclusion into photography, or encouragement to buy more.

Forget the tech, plan the shot. You'll know if the equipment you have is enough. 

Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be. When a picture is noteworthy because of the process used to achieve it, it becomes a technical rather than a creative process.

It could also exclude people from photography. Some may think because they don't have or can't use the equipment mentioned they can't produce as good or interesting pictures.