Monday, February 24, 2014

A camera does not make the photographer

It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you use or how much you plunked down on the counter for it. The camera does not make the photographer. It is a tool that one uses much like the carpenter uses a hammer to craft his cabinets. The camera, in its most basic form, captures light through a lens onto a sensor or a strip of film where it is stored for the artist to process. It is as simple as the job of a hammer for driving a nail into wood. It is the human element; the brain, eyes and the heart that makes the photographer as it is for the carpenter in their craft.

Noted in caption.

As you look over the extremely large collection of images on the internet you begin to notice the need for people to note what camera was used in their captioning. For the most part if the image is stunning why then should we care what camera was used to capture the image? Wasn’t it the photographer that created the photograph? Wasn’t it the photographer that worked the image until it matches their vision of what they saw in their head? I have yet to find a camera that goes out on its own and take the picture.  I know that I am sounding a little obtuse but really do we need to be so gear minded?

What makes a photographer?

A true photographer knows their craft. Photographers learn how to balance the exposure equation by using the meter and the histogram. By understanding this balance they get it right in the camera first and not relying on PhotoShop to bail them out later. PhotoShop can’t always fix all your mistakes in your images. And if you were able to fix it in PhotoShop, how much stronger of an image would have it been had you taken the time to do it right in the first place?

A photographer studies all the elements of composition not only in their own craft but others as well. Looking at how Rembrandt use lighting to move your eye through the painting. By creating what is known now as Rembrandt lighting he is able to tell a story and move you through the painting. Vincent Van Gogh’s use of his brush and pallet knife to create motion in his “Starry Night.” By adding motion to a static scene he adds a new element to painting that later becomes part of the impressionist movement. By learning how other artist who work outside photograph handle composition in their subject, one can then apply that to better their work.

A photographer has passion to get up everyday and wonder what to create next. To look at the world with different eyes and show the possibilities, the beauty and the ugly. Engaging their audience to feel the aw of the wonderful planet we live in. To bring other people from other places into your space and on the walls to create an understanding about them you may have never had otherwise. To create something so unique it fills you with emotion that moves you  to do something. Passion is what drives a photographer.

None of these qualities have ever been built into a camera. I have never scrolled through a menu on the back of my camera and found Knowledge, Passion or Creativity. What I have found it the programs that will help me make a better decision about an exposure but  rest is up to me. So remember, next time when you are typing information into the title or comment page, skip the part about the camera and instead give yourself credit  for the image. If someone really wants to know what camera you used, they can find it under the photo information.