Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why It's Not About the Camera

I've been working as a photographer for over thirty years, and I've watched the controversies come and go. The first one I remember was whether or not 35mm film was really good enough to create serious photographs. It was and is. This was followed in in relatively quick succession by two new controversies: did women photographers see the same way as men, and were SLR users "real" photographers, or was that the sole province of rangefinder (i.e.: Leica) photographers.


Now we are in the midst of the megapixel race.

If it's not about the camera what is it about?

The image.

And only the image.

Powerful images are made every day by artists with less than ideal tools. Crap is produced every day by owners of top-flight top-dollar equipment.

Am I a little jealous of those who can afford 20+ megapixel full frames dslrs? Yup. Was I a little jealous of those who could afford Hasselblads and Leicas in the days of film? Yeah. Does it matter to the viewer years later what camera was used? No. Except for historical comparisons of technique, a wet plate photo or an Epson print are equally valid.

We all like new toys... but we can lose site of what photography is about in the great churning of the artificial and sales driven world of camera marketing.

I use an Olympus DSLR because the images it produces are much better than the equivalent Nikon and Canons in the same price range.

I'm also too old to carry a camera that weighs as much as a Nikon D3 (it's about as heavy as a young cinderblock).

In conclusion to this rant - let's start looking at images, not brands and pricetags.