Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Your Camera Doesn't Matter

I've said this before here and here: your camera doesn't matter. If you are a good photographer you can use any camera and make good photographs. If you are not a good photographer you can use even the most expensive camera and still not make good photographs.

The camera is just a tool. A camera is to the photographer what a paintbrush is to a painter. If you gave a great painter a generic set of paintbrushes from Walmart, he or she would still be able to create great works of art. Yes, the artist might prefer higher quality brushes, but the brushes do not make the painting great, the painter does.

The camera does not make a photograph great, the photographer does.

Most people own a cell-phone, and most cell phones have a built-in digital camera. Most people have the tool required to be a photographer with them right in their own pocket or in their purse: a camera. That's all you need! Learn to be a good photographer, and you could use that tool to make good photographs.

Pool Chairs and Lake - Goodyear, Arizona
Taken with a built-in camera on an obsolete 2G cell-phone
Here are three examples: photographers Gregg Bleakney, Damon Winter and Chase Jarvis. Using iPhones, these photographers have made some great images. If they successfully created works of art with their cell-phone cameras, why can't you?

Learn how to make great photographs first, then use whatever camera or cameras you have at your disposal. Don't worry about having the latest-and-greatest $7,000, $5,000 or even $1,500 camera, because, while those cameras surely are nice tools, they are a luxury and not a necessity.

In fact, for less than the tax you'd pay buying the Leica M9, you could buy a FED 5 camera, 35mm film, and have that film processed and scanned. The quality of the photographs between the two is hardly noticeable.

Use the camera you already have, or purchase a good used 35mm camera (which you can pick up for very little right now), or buy a Holga, or even use a disposable camera (check these out: here, here, here and here).

Use the money you saved to buy The Art of Photography by Bruce Barnbaum. Right now it's on sale for $24.52. That's the best $25 you will ever spend on photography, by far.

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