“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” — Ansel Adams
Photography is an expressive art. Much like a painting, a photograph has the ability to move, engage and inspire viewers.
The camera is the single most important tool in photography. But that’s all that it is. A tool.
In the beginning, most of what we learn about photography is about the tools and techniques, and all the various things that we need to learn in order to make a photograph.
Having an understanding of the science behind the camera, its potentials and limitations, is important because it gives you the knowledge and confidence to execute your artistic vision in a technically accurate way.
Just like a painter needs to know how to use a brush and mix paint to create a painting, a photographer needs to know how to operate a camera to make photographs.
The camera is the tool one needs to master to be able to create work which is a reflection of a personal vision and style. But to think that better equipment leads to a better execution of your vision, is misleading.
Art is not just about gadgets and tools, cameras or lenses, it is about life, it is about emotion and connection, regardless of the medium.
Rembrandt used brushes made of goat hair. Picasso painted with ordinary paints. And Ansel Adams used basic cameras compared to the advanced systems available today.
These artists were talented yes, but ordinary people using ordinary materials to achieve extraordinary results.
Today, it is easy to be seduced by the latest advancements in technology, but the equipment and techniques we choose should ultimately depend on our genre, style and vision.
The latest and greatest cameras all have extraordinary features and capabilities. Yes, more megapixels will produce larger and sharper images. But is bigger always better? Does more detail always equal more beauty?
I am sure that there are photographers for whom these features will be integral for their style, but I strongly believe we should not allow ourselves to be misdirected and convinced that the newest camera is the solution in our pursuit of artistic expression.
It is you the photographer who must learn to make better photographs — photographs that convey your vision and connect with others.
What makes a photograph meaningful is not how it was produced, rather that it connects people to one another, provokes thought and emotion.
“How an image is made is not the most important thing. It is the final image and the impact that it has on others that is more meaningful to me.” — Julieanne Kost
What we need is not better equipment, what we need is better ways of seeing and knowing what it is that we want to say and how we want to say it.
I encourage you to consider that the best way to improve your photography may not be to buy the latest camera but to develop your skills as an artist, and to spend more time and effort into practicing your craft and finding your vision.
Thank you for reading.