Cameras Are Tools. Vision is Photography.
I love this article on communication, photography and the distractions of gear and platforms.
Photographer Jon Stanmeyer hits the nail smack on the head with this post on the distraction of the medium over the substance of the image itself.
“Now here is what’s key regarding Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and whatnot; Some of these images we publish, the text we write on various social media outlets, etc, they can be pieces of a far greater, even deeper, more richly layered project which has a commodity element behind it. These images can, for a lack of a better way of putting it, be glimpses, headlines, instant breaking information of a much larger project waiting to be presented. Like seeds, images can be sent out to one or millions, dropping seeds of information into the consciousness of others, nurturing a project to grow, both in marketing and funding. The final product, brought to the consciousness via meaningful bits and pieces, is the entity to be leveraged both as information to an event, as product or as a printed photo essay, as a commodity. This is, until the next leveraging aspect of social media is attained, the greater purpose and potential.”
You absolutely must read the whole thing.
I think that there wil always be ‘cameras’ in the way we think of them, but we are a tiny, teeny sliver of the genre of “photographers” these days.
There is a lot of angst in the camera makers worlds out there. They see the handwriting on the wall.
Enter the $2000 full frame.
Enter the kit lenses that make exceptional images.
Enter automatic exposure that makes PERFECT shots under all situations.
Enter video in the camera.
This fellow is a photojournalist. His job is to get the picture.
It will most likely be fine enough at 4MP for news and web. An 8 or 12 MP image is more than enough for the reason the shot exists.
Young people coming into the digital age will never have known what a camera was ‘supposed’ to look like. And that was a HUGE influence over camera manufacturers deciding to make digital cameras look like film cameras. The damn things even have ‘film chamber’ build to them.
“Professional Photographers” would have it no other way.
Well, I gave my kid my old Rebel digital. She gave it back to me… she is totally happy with her Android phone and the P&S Canon she got for Xmas.
Just finished a nice trip to Maine. We had some very flat and boring light in mid-day. Charles would pull out his iPhone and make some simply stunning images. I like to make straight images on my iPhone, then manipulate them later in Snapseed or a myriad of other APPs I have.
There is a tendency for me to think the larger images are somehow ‘better’ or of higher ‘quality’ because they were shot on a big chip with expensive glass.
Problem is no one can tell the difference in the print.
So I start to sound like a ‘gearhead’ and I am NOT.
I am all about the image, and couldn’t care less how it was made. The traps we make when thinking about our work are more dangerous than listening to a blistering critique of your work from a ‘kitty shooter’ on some forum.
I am holding out for a Samsung Galaxy III – (October) as I have seen the images that thing produces. I have not seen a 16×20 from one, but I have seen an 11×17… argh. I don’t care what anyone says, I was totally knocked out by both the sharpness and the overall transitions in shadows.
I was just asked on twitter about what I thought of the new Nikon D600. My answer was that I don’t have anything to say about it that has any value. I don’t think much about cameras these days.
I am struggling mightily with photography, its place in my world, its power to heal or inspire or reflect or reveal or destroy.
Photography is more important now than ever before, and yet we are consistently bombarded with distractions of devices. I think it takes a toll on all of us.
And we forget what it really is about, this whole capturing a moment in time to preserve, enlighten, entertain or simply to see what it looks like captured. I don’t want to forget that in my work.
Below are a few of my shots from the trip done with Hipstagram and the default camera. I like these images for similar and disparate reasons. And some of these I also shot on the big camera, but they are far different in tone and emotional impact than these are. Different, not better or worse… different.
To me that is the power of these little cameras and the apps that are so much fun to shoot with. I get different approaches to the subjects. Kinda like having a new lens to work with. One that has its own quirks and qualities.
It was a bit foggy, a bit dark from deep overcast. I wanted to say something about the dreary, almost mysterious feeling of this entrance. I chose the Hipstagram app to enhance the emotion of the subject.
I loved the texture qualities, and the Hipstagram image supplied a slight vignette and muted tone that enhanced the feeling of the shell isolated on the rocks.
It was cold and overcast (I loved it… heh) and this straight camera shot captured a bit of the reality of that day and moment. I had already packed the cameras, but the trusty iPhone delivered the shot I wanted to get at that moment.
Sometimes an image just wants to be made and it reveals itself. I loved this little vignette of vine and old board wall. A straight shot on my Canon is not as interesting as this little Hipstagram photo. The image needs the context of the frame and the muted colors to make it really look like what I saw in my head.
Flat midday sun, and the Hipstagram delivers. The shapes and textures were so interesting, and a couple of my big camera shots make me happy… but this little vignetted, non-perfect capture that fit the mood I wanted.
This image is about the frame and the ‘space between’ – part of my vision mantra. I like the spatial play and the contrast of textures and colors. Camera phone and big camera – big camera is far different feeling than this one. Not better or worse, just different.
Light leaks and crusty edges makes the retro sign even more retro. Fun images are what the small cameras are about.
A grab shot with the iPhone and Hipstamatic reveals how I was seeing the trip we were on. I would have loved to have more time to shoot the area, but we migrated from point to point and shot what we liked… Maine through a car window – yeah, that is what it was like. Sorta.
In the end it is whether you like the image or not. And if not, no matter. Photography is not about every image communicating to every person. These are my little images. I share them here and there.
Photography is still fun for me. It still answers my desire to make something lasting. How long is that?
I dunno. I don’t care. I just want to make the images I see in my head. The iPhone and Androids seem like they offer me more tools with which to find and make those images.
This line from Jon’s article is dead on for me:
“Don’t waste your time nor mine on any bit of that dinosaur debate.”
Yes, Jon. I wholeheartedly agree.