Nice to meet you . . .
Creating a rapport with other photographers is a definitely a great thing and I would also include ― very healthy. Now, let’s go to a real conversation that ensuing between a couple of my friends and I. Recently my friend Don Springer aka Streetshooter had this to say:
Many of my friends are writing on their blogs and in forums etc that it’s the shooter and not the camera. Well, not to be argumentative but I probably am as my wife definitely thinks so….. all the time. See the camera is much more important then most realize.
Don certainly has his viewpoint and I appreciate his candidness. My other friend, Wouter, has a different opinion and he replied to Don with the following:
Some of my friends say that the camera does matter, but don’t make it larger that it is. You see, there is so much more to an image. You are the brain, the thoughts. You have the feelings and you see the world. You make the conscious and subconscious decisions. You are not a tool, unlike your camera. My name is Wouter and you have a name too.
Now, let’s get back to Don’s statement. Yes, the camera has something to do with it. I think we can objectively agree that a camera is a tool to create images ― a lightbox. Now, the keyword is “create” or better yet we’ll use the term “creativity.” Not to imply that certain images are creative and others are not but simply to single out that they are creative (in that whole encompassing definition) and created by the photographer whose vision is unique and one of a kind [Jose, you know what I mean, again my apologies] because you see, therein lies the visual dichotomy we as photographers are often faced with ― Are we creating or are we snapping away in a sort of documentary fashion because the former and latter, in the end, is still photography and so its unique.
Back to the tool ― the camera. How important is the camera in ones creative process. To Don, I think its rather important. In my humble opinion, its not. I know Don’s had a plethora of photographic gear over the decades, some a plethora of gear over the years (yours truly), but the point is or better said, the question is the following:
Are we getting to know our gear to the point where Don refers to as “Zen” photography or are we simply not giving the gear a chance, if it doesn’t meet some sort self perceived criteria of adequacy in our creative process. That’s the bigger question I think.
In our day and age, where cameras are truly interchangeable and in a sense disposable, we often fall trap to the powers of marketing and advertising in thinking the next iteration will be the “one.” I’m guilty as charged guys/gals and I think that we as togs often have that techie bug unconsciously there and sometimes making itself more conscious than we need to haha. Its true I think, it happens, but we live and learn(thanks Gran Combo) and in that process we hopefully grow as artist.
Like Wouter, I agree the camera is simply a tool towards our vision. A camera can’t take the shot, it can’t frame, it can calculate exposure, it can’t do anything without our guidance and direction. Its just that ― a lightbox but that’s not to say that all tools are the same. I think if we are intellectually honest with ourselves and our readers/viewers we know the answer to that. A Nikon D800E can do some things that a Lumix LX7 can’t, and will never be able to do but the corollary to that is the opposite. Can I do the same work with both cameras? I’m sure I can but I’m also sure my approach would be different. I know for sure I can give any camera to Wouter and he can also do the same. Don, I’m sure you can as well if you really really wanted.
So nice to meet you ― I’m Jorge and I make pictures sometimes.