Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It Doesn't Matter What Camera You Use - Photographic Vision Is What's Important

Photography Is A Drug - Stallion Springs, California
Does it matter what camera I used to create this?
There were two conversations that inspired me to write this post today. The first conversation I overheard and the second conversation I was a party in.

"I have a new DSLR so now I can take better pictures," said the first person.

"Me too!" The second person answered. "I haven't figured it out yet, but when I do I know my pictures will be a lot better."
Train Around Bend - Tehachapi, California
Does it matter that this was captured using an obsolete camera that was free?
The second conversation was about a photograph of mine and it involved someone who was trying to give me a compliment. "Your photograph makes me want to get a DSLR again." The funny thing was that the photograph was captured using a cell phone!

Here's the deal: either you can craft great photographs or you cannot. If you can craft great photographs, it makes no difference what camera you use because you'll craft that great photograph with whatever camera you have in your hand. If you cannot craft great photographs, it makes no difference what camera you use because your photograph will be poor using whatever camera you have in your hand.

If you are a skilled photographer, it could be an old cell phone or a $20,000 camera with a $25,000 lens--whatever camera you have you'll create something great. If you are not a skilled photographer, your pictures are not going to be good even if you have that $45,000 set up. This is because the camera is not nearly as important as you think it is.
Flare & Flag - Barstow, California
Does anyone care that this was captured using an old, cheap camera?
Ansel Adams said, "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." In other words, it is the photographer that makes an image either great or terrible, and the camera has little to do with it.

A great pianist can play a masterpiece using any old piano. A great painter can create a masterpiece using any old canvas and paints. A great writer can use an old #2 and some scrap paper to pen a great story. The opposite is also true. Someone who cannot play the piano won't be able to even with a beautiful grand piano. Someone who is not a painter can't create a masterpiece even with high-end canvas and paint. Someone who is not a good writer won't be able to pen a great novel even when given the use of modern computers.

So those two people who have brand new DSLRs won't see any improvement in their photographs. They themselves have to improve as photographers before their photographs will be any better. And the person who wants to buy a DSLR doesn't need to if they are skilled. And if they are not skilled, buying a DSLR will not make their images any better.
Keep Out The Sun - Tehachapi, California
Another cell phone image--does it make any difference whatsoever?
So if equipment doesn't matter, what does? Photographic vision. What is in the photographer's mind and heart is what's important. Without photographic vision there are no great photographs.

The photographer must know what it is that he or she wants to create. And then the photographer must make it happen. The photographer must be both creative and active.

It doesn't matter what camera you use. Either you can create great photographs or you can't. If you can, be careful of GAS. If you cannot, spend your time and effort learning how to develop your own unique photographic vision.

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