For nearly 30 years I’ve carried on a love affair with photography that continues to fill my life with a broad range of emotions, ranging from overwhelming joy to even, on a rare occasion, utter frustration and disappointment. Despite the ups and downs the one thing that has remained constant, or so I thought, was a belief that I have clung to – the quality of the camera has a direct correlation to the quality of the images one can produce.
However, I made a discovery this weekend that made me realize just much of a camera snob I truly am.
What photographer hasn’t heard someone say “wow that’s a really great photo, you must have a great camera!” in the course of their professional life. Every time some has sad it to me, I just cringe and do all I can to keep from loosing my cool. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that one’s equipment has nothing to do with making an awesome image, but it is not the sole factor that goes into the work.
Personally, I believe that great photography starts with the eye of the photographer – their ability to see something and instantly see its potential as an image, what angle to shoot it from, how to compose the shot, how to light it, and where the focus of the image should be. From that point the camera plays its part, but for only as long as the photographer has set the shutter speed.
I also believe that a significant portion of a photographer’s true artistic skills come into play after the image is captured, either on film or a digital camera’s image sensor. Creating beautiful works of photographic art take time and skill to develop. While over time the process has evolved from the dark room to digital editing software such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop, the effort required by a photographer is largely the same.
I can recall spending a lot of time in the dark room, and now with Adobe Photoshop, working a single image to perfection. Now I even find myself periodically going back to an image, that at one time I thought was perfect, and work on it more to improve it. That is what has lead me to my recent discovery that I am shameless camera snob.
Recent changes in my digital life have caused me to go back and take another look at old images – explained in my previous post “Nearly overwhelmed in search of true digital organization” – which ultimately led me to this discovery. After retooling my image “Frosty Rose” I posted it online.
Later when I saw a social media share from a friend I almost fell out of my chair – there staring me in the face I read “Photo take with COOLPIX S220,” the little Nikon digital point-and-shoot I bought to take with me to Iraq that I now use for family functions.
I guess in the end it does really hammer home the point that’s great photography is not in the camera, but the artist!
“Frosty Rose” — Everything in nature is beautiful, and this frosted rose is clearly exception.
“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard,
the people you have loved.” ― Ansel Adams