Photography …

The Monument to The People’s Heroes, Tiananmen Square, Beijing.

… is a bit of a strange pastime really. It is supposed to be about making images, artistic expression and all that sort of stuff, but the reality is that it is more about the gear than we care to admit. When I first started down the road of making photography a hobby I became brand aware. I saw that the photographers that I admired used a particular make and model of camera and certain lenses. I didn’t realize that they were paid endorsements and  my flawed logic was that if I had one of those cameras and those lenses I would instantly become a better photographer. So I gave the credit card a good bashing and my pictures still sucked. Over the ensuing 32 years I slowly learnt it was more important to have a good mix of technical knowledge and artistry than have the latest and greatest camera. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still afflicted by large bouts of techno-lust and I would in many ways love a new camera, computer, printer, and scanner, but I just don’t have the financial means to go out and satisfy those urges. I have to make do with what I’ve actually got and this has made me focus on what photography really is – making images. In fact I’ve come to the conclusion if you have too much stuff it actually gets in the way of making pictures because you become wracked with indecision about what equipment to use.

Shiny techno-baubles

A couple of weeks ago I was sat down reading Black and White Photography Magazine and came upon an article by Tim Clinch (www.timclinchphotography.com) and he was basically saying that if you invest all your money in equipment you won’t have the necessary folding to do anything with it. If I look at my Lightroom library I can see that the majority of my photos have been taken within a short distance from where I live, but if I look at the most memorable ones then they have come from dedicated photo trips away. So I believe what Tim Clinch is saying is true, you can have a lot of top-notch gear but no money or time to use it, or you can have stuff that is adequate for your needs and the time and money to actually go out and create art. I know which one I’d sooner have.

Topiary at the Pavillion Gardens Cafe, Brighton, England.
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