Sunday, July 7, 2013

Coming into Focus...

Past and Present - Ireland, 2007
   Many years ago, I was showing someone a collection of my photographic prints and after looking at them for awhile they commented, "You must have a really good camera!"  I was a little taken aback by that comment.  If I had shown the person a series of my watercolor paintings would they have remarked, "You must have really good paint brushes!"  I understand now, however, where that person was coming from.  The camera is often given credit rather than the photographer.  For many people, it is the camera that creates; it is why photography is often under valued.

   If Ansel Adams had only a cheap "point and shoot" camera his images would still have had power and was his contemplative eye that framed his was his discernment that brought us in to focus on the important elements of the landscape.  Adams was a concert pianist as well as master of the photographic medium.  He called his negatives his "scores" and his final prints his "performance".  I like that analogy.   A Chopin piano concerto, poorly performed, would still resonate with a quality of conception that would be unmistakable.  Photographs are the same. 

   So, the next time someone goes on and on about their expensive camera and lenses, be patient and smile sweetly.  The proof is not in their camera bags but in the content of their images.  When you look at their photographs, do you see the technique first or do they speak to your heart in some way?  Remember that when you are on location.  Remember that in the final analysis it is the quality of your images content that matters most, not the length or price tag of your lens.

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