a few thoughts on photography

The taking of pictures is a thing the digital revolution demolished and reassembled from the resultant mound of debris.

A friend noted on FB that the most insulting thing you can say to a photographer is "wow that's a great photograph, you must have a great camera!"

Which is true- a $10,000 camera absent a photographer is just a pricey chunk of industrial sculpture.

But as a weak photographer who's good pictures are due to digital leveling of the photographic playing field, I'm happy to give full credit to technology- digital make it possible for bunglers like me to get good shots, pictures I'd never have managed with a 'real' camera.

While I have no talent for photography, I have got a good eye for the end result.  So I can take 500 pictures of whatever, sort through the pile and pick out the one really good and the ten pretty good shots.  The boon of digital is those 500 pictures cost nothing and provide instant feedback- no buying film, no expensive developing, no long wait to see how the pictures came out.  Taking real pictures is expensive in both monetary and temporal capital- my 'shoot it all and let God sort it out' approach wouldn't be feasible on film, but works fine with digital.

I went on a walk with Fuss a couple of months ago, exploring the dwarf oaks along the shore of the estuary.  I took 40 or so pictures, and this was one:

It's a good picture, I like it.
But it's mostly an accident- I'm sure his eyes weren't closed when I started shooting (my camera is good, but not on par with a real DSLR), the composition was mostly accident, and none of the other 39 odd pictures were anything near this good.

There's a framed photo hanging in our living room of a fountain in Paris, taken by a friend using a Holga shooting expired black & white film. A toy camera loaded with decomposing monochrome film took a better picture than anything turned out in the history of my volume attack on the problem.

That's talent.

Absent which, I'm happy to gimp along using the crutch of technology to propel me down the road.

1 comment:

emdot said...

It's just practice. And some knowledge (lighting, f-stops whatever) can help you in the long run.... but really, it's just practice. And I absolutely love your photos of Fuss. That kid needs to be painted.