Funny enough, the whole “it’s not the camera that makes the photographer” saying is coming back with a vengeance lately. I’m not quite sure why to be honest. I hear more and more of my friends, talking about switching to this and that with a blink of an eye, the sprint towards eleventy billion megapixels is once again happening, announcements of stupendous equipment makes your ears buzz with excitement (or whatever that is, depending on how interested you are). But, still. The camera doesn’t make the photographer. Buying a Nikon/Canon, doesn’t make you a professional photographer either, it makes you a Nikon/Canon owner. What you do with your camera makes you who you are.
Most of you know that I work with a pretty basic Sony a450, a camera that has been working extremely well, a camera that has proven in more than one occasion that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment to make sure you’ll get the right shot (in my opinion) and/or a reaction from the “audience”. As long as people like or hate what you do, it’s the exact reaction you were looking for. Of course, we all long for the appreciation of our work, but any reaction is better than none whatsoever.
A photographer, the way I see it, is a random guy, with whatever camera he got his hands on, thinking for at least a few seconds about what he’s about to shoot. How many times have we all seen someone with a big bad camera, shooting just for the sake of pressing the shutter? I now have four different cameras, three of them are “ancient” 35mm film ones. They will probably come up with “damaged” shots in the end, but that’s precisely why I decided to start using these cameras. I’m not looking for some “lomo style” photography, I’m looking for a way back to the roots of what I love doing. I use a basic and good enough camera, that does what I ask it to do, when I ask it to, and (most of the time) how I ask it to. I’m no genius, I live and learn. I read, I watch, I try to get inspired by the photographers I like, whoever these photographers are. I took professional classes, I shot over twenty thousand shots in less than two years, I’ve kept 7% of these shots. I would keep even less if I wasn’t such a crybaby about souvenirs. I get tougher and tougher about my work, skimming it down to sometimes 2%. That’s how you learn, that’s how you get your eyes and mind used to it. That’s how you try to get better. And by coming back to film, I also come back to something some don’t consider anymore, taking time.
Stop, look around, experience your surroundings, know your options, and then shoot. There’s never just one side of the iceberg. And you don’t even need a camera to do that. Sometimes, when I don’t have my camera with me, I sit down and look around, think about what I would have done if I had my camera with me at that time. At some point, no matter what you do, you’ll end up thinking in a photographic way, no matter what you do. And that’s exactly what I was hoping for two years ago, when I decided to get serious about it.
I’m not giving lessons as I’m not a teacher. I’m not preaching nor am I lecturing. I’m just saying how I work, how I see what I do.