Along my camera journey of the last few years I’ve simplified and let go in a number of ways.
In the earlier days of 35hunter, when I posted a photograph I would add a caption that included the camera, lens and film used, whether it was expired, what ISO I shot it at, and sometimes more.
My Flickr stream is organised into albums – by camera, by lens, by film.
And on my MacBook, the fruits of each photoshoot are uploaded from camera and carefully sorted into a new folder labelled by date, camera, lens and so on.
You may have gathered I like things organised into neatly labelled boxes.
But I’m letting go of this need more and more, which aligns with three main reasons –
1. I only want one camera.
The simplicity of just picking up my (only) camera, rather than have to choose one of my cameras from three, 13 or 33 is hugely appealing.
Ok so I might not be able to limit myself to just one camera (yet). But one film compact, one film SLR, one digital compact and one DSLR is very achievable. These four would each be so different from each other that the choice between them would not be difficult.
Plus lately the Ricoh GRD III has impressed me so much (and I’ve shot so little film this year) I’m seriously questioning whether I could sell everything else and use this little beauty alone.
Then everything that follows after taking the pictures becomes simplified – one main folder on my HD, one album and fewer tags on Flickr, no need for captions on 35hunter, and so on.
2. I want all my photographs to have a consistent style and look.
We talked recently about whether all your photographs should look the same.
You will always get slightly different looking images if you use different focal lengths, different sensors or film, and so on. But overall, I believe it’s possible to hone one’s signature style, or distinctive voice with photography.
A major way of helping with this is to use less kit as above, and whilst maybe not abandon experimentation entirely, to instead experiment in more subtle, gentle ways.
Like watering a garden with fine droplets from a watering can, rather than a fierce blast with a power hose.
Or, maybe put another way, to be more kaizen – the Japanese philosophy of continuous incremental improvement.
3. To the audience the equipment really doesn’t matter.
You don’t enjoy a delicious meal out in a restaurant then demand the chef tell you which pots and pans and knives he used to prepare it.
Admiring a wonderful painting in a gallery, we don’t typically ask about the tools or brushes – or even the paint – the artist used.
Reading a beautiful poem, we don’t question which quill or pen or typewriter or computer the poet used to scribe it.
The art speaks for itself, in the state the artist decided it was ready to be presented to us.
So why should it be any different for photography? Why shouldn’t any great photograph be able to stand alone, regardless of the equipment used to create it?
All of this might be summed up in one simple phrase – When I share photographs, just don’t ask me which camera I used…
How important is it to you to know which equipment you used to make which images? How often do you like to know these details for other people’s work?
Please let us know in the comments below (remember to tick “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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