|Setting Sun Over Tejon #1 - Stallion Springs, California|
What specifically he said (and I apologize for not remembering his name) was, "In our society, people want others to believe that they are rich."
I recently had someone tell me that my camera was not good enough. He said that I should have saved a little more money and bought a higher-end DSLR instead of the Nikon D3300. My camera was "ok" for beginners (although, even for that, it wasn't ideal), but it was most certainly beneath someone more experienced.
|Mystery Drive - Stallion Springs, California|
I was really confused by this. How is it that my photographs are good but the tool used to create them is not? The image is what matters in photography. What the viewer sees is what matters. Why should it make any difference what was used to create it? The viewer certainly doesn't care. He only cares if the image strikes him or moves him in some way. Either he'll find something to attract and interest him or her and the person will spend time looking at it, or he or she won't and the person will quickly move on to something else.
Photographs are what makes photography meaningful, not cameras.
|Evening At Tunnel View - Yosemite National Park, California|
"One word before we start--whenever a discussion of cameras comes up a cliche proclaimed among some self-appointed web forum thought police is--'It's not the camera, it's the photographer.' Right. We get it. You've now impressed us with how insightful you are. But in the world of music, there are few serious musicians, let alone performing pros, who wouldn't prefer working with a Strad or a Steinway. Good artists are made better through the use of the best tools. Enough said."I guess Ansel Adams was part of the "thought police" when he said, "The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it." The fact is that good artists can use any tools to create good art.
|On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California|
I think of Michael Chrisman and his famous one-year-exposure photograph. He used a home-made pinhole camera to capture it. Again, this is the opposite of "the best tools" and yet the perfect tool for the photograph.
I think of Chase Jarvis and his cell phone photographs. "The best camera is the one that's with you," he said. That's also the title of his book that features nothing but cell phone images.
|Gold Above The Valley - Stallion Springs, California|
What I find is that those who spend gobs of money to have "the best tools" seem to have a need to justify that. And those who say that equipment doesn't matter get in the way of that justification.
The funny thing is, though, that "the best tools" that they're talking about are not, in fact, the best. The "best" digital cameras today cannot match the image quality of a large format film camera from 75 years ago. Photographers are continuously choosing convenience over quality. That's the history of photography: convenience often trumps pure image quality.
|Cathedral Spires From Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California|
But here is the truth: pure image quality is not an essential element to successful photography. That's why having "the best tools" is not important.
Those who spend tons and tons of money on photography equipment often have G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrom). They seem to have a need to acquire more and more, and are never truly satisfied. I know this because I also had G.A.S., but found relief.
|Purple Thistle Blossom Macro - Stallion Springs, California|
First, camera manufacturers and camera retailers do an excellent job of convincing us that we need the latest and greatest. There is some new innovation that will somehow transform the photographer into an even better photographer. However, there is no end to innovation. Every few months there will be something new. One can chase this indefinitely and never find satisfaction.
Second, as the financial expert at the top said, people want others to think that they are rich. If you have expensive equipment, you must be talented and successful. And if you don't, you must be a hapless amateur. The tools you use say a lot about who you are and your station in life. However, they say nothing about your images, which is what is supposed to matter most.
|Wind Turbines - Tehachapi, California|
Great photography is about one thing: photographic vision. With vision, a photographer can use crummy equipment (like Burnett, Chrisman and Jarvis above) and create great works of art. Without vision, even "the best tools" will fail to produce anything of value.
The Luminous Landscape said that good artists are made better through the use of the best tools. But I have found that limitations improve art and less is more in photography. Photography should be uncomfortable.
|Flag & Flare - Barstow, California|
It's not for me to change their minds. I can only work on my own art and share my own thoughts here. But perhaps these words will ring true for someone, and they'll be found beneficial.