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December 13, 2017




This past month at one  of my photo exhibition, I faced a series of questions which i have face so many times.  I am certain that most of use have faced these questions when we are showing our work to other people.  These questions are;  what camera did you use to take the picture?  A questions which is quickly and without fail followed by; what camera setting did you use?  These questions seem reasonable and yes they can provide valuable information regarding the art of taking pictures.  But the prevalence of these questions reveal one of biggest misconceptions about photography.  The questions assume that with the "right" camera and settings you are on your way to creating wonderful pictures.  They over simplify photograph to pointing a camera at something and clicking the shutter.


Unfortunately, photography is not as simple as a camera and its settings.  I have seen wonderful pictures taken by point and shoot cameras case in point cell phone cameras, and conversely bad pictures taken by top of the line DSLR.  The key to taking good pictures, which many people miss, is the person behind the camera.  Photography is an art and like any other art it depends more so on the artists than the tools used to create that piece of art.  A camera is simply an instrument and setting are simply a set of instructions telling the camera how to capture what is in front of it.  There are decisions that have to be taken by the person controlling the camera based on the scene, light and artistic vision.  Cameras simply take images the photographer makes or breaks the pictures.


Let us be clear here.  Tools are important and they can enhance your vision. But in order for a camera to enhance your vision and ideas you need to know what you are doing.  You can have the most expensive camera money can buy and put it in the hands of a two year old and chances are you will not end up with very pleasing photographers.  A tool, no matter how sophisticated it is, in the hands of un-skilled person is just that - a tool. 


We have been deceived by camera manufactures and software developers who in the process of peddling there products convince us that we are as good as the equipment (camera and software) we use.  To the contrary, our photography will not jump by lips and bounds because we are using the latest camera or in did have set our camera in a certain way.  The truth, which camera manufactures hide, is that if you neither have the skill nor understanding of photography principals,  your gear will not magically give you what you luck it may even hinder your progress.


Rather than spending money buying new gear invest in acquiring and developing your skill and mastering the camera that you have.   Spend the time to learn and understand the camera (gear) you have, study your art and learn from those that have done it longer than you. Ask yourself why you  like a particular image of photographer, why they set up the camera the way that they and most important  practice, practice, practice.  Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, did not become such a great player by investing his time in buying new sneakers.  He, rather invested his time in developing his skill by spending hours and hours on the basketball court.  The dedication to his craft is what made him arguably the best basketball player of all time.


So instead of going out shopping for new gear go out and take pictures.  Work and invest on developing your skill and not on investing in tools because a tool is as good as the person using it.



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