Sunday, April 8, 2012

Thought Of The Day: Cameras Are Not Important

Cameras are not important.

Well, you need at least a primitive camera--you need something--but beyond that, what camera you have or don't have matters not.

About 96% of my audience comes here looking for camera information. They want reviews, comparisons and advice. Only about 1% are looking for information about how to improve their photography.

That is really sad. And I've tried to figure out why.

Part of this is clever marketing by camera manufacturers. They use words like "entry-level" and "semi-pro" and "prosumer" and "professional" and "flagship" to make you feel that what camera you own is inferior to what you could and perhaps should own. They sell you on megapixels and ISO 12800 and things that tell very little of the camera's story.

Part of this is also a false idea that the camera has a major role in the outcome of an image. As Ansel Adams said, "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." One camera from another typically makes for very minor differences (not necessarily improvements, but differences) that are almost always insignificant to the outcome of the print.

A great pianist can play great works on any piano. A great painter can create a masterpiece on any canvas and with brushes from Walmart. A great photographer can craft great images with any camera.

If you are a skilled photographer, it makes no difference what camera you use because you can make great photographs with any camera. If you are not a skilled photographer, it makes no difference what camera you use because you can't make great photographs no matter the camera.

If those 96% who come here looking for camera information would spend that time instead figuring out how to become better photographers, you'd see photography as a whole improve by leaps-and-bounds.

People worry far too much about the minor and insignificant details of equipment and far too little about the major and significant details that make up great photographs.


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  2. I love your philosophy about photography and your idea of VISION. I´m reading your blog and some other blogs but yours is so different, I like it a lot :) You must be a great photographer and a great person!!! Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Iryna, for your very kind words! I appreciate your feedback and I'm glad that you appreciate my words on photographic vision. --Ritchie Roesch