Three Things I Love Most About Photography Today

Photography has been a constant pleasure in my life for around 15 years.

Here are three things I particularly love about photography right now.

1. Image quality doesn’t really matter.

A couple of weeks ago my mum sent me a photo of us on my late granddad’s birthday in 1993. I know the year because of the Beaster t-shirt I was wearing.

The photo arrived in a message on my phone, and is a photo taken on my mum’s far from cutting edge phone, of a 28 year old print photo that’s obviously aged, isn’t dead flat, and wasn’t that perfectly shot in the first place.

There are slight colour shifts and reflections and slight blurring that I don’t know whether are from the original print, or from my mum’s photo of the photo.

But none of this matters.

What does matter is it’s a timeless moment captured, of most of the people closest to me at that time.

And that transcends attributes like colour accuracy and perfect exposure that some obsess endlessly over with their own photos.

Just grab a camera and make the images that mean most to you.

2. Photography is so affordable.

Even if you don’t already have a more than adequate camera built into your phone, you can pick up a used camera for pocket money. Especially since phone cameras have made “proper” cameras redundant for so many, and the used market is so abundant.

I’ve lost count of the cameras (film and digital) that I’ve bought for less than £10 over the last eight or nine years and that have delighted me with their images and to use.

There’s no financial excuse for not getting a camera that works and is fun to use, and getting out there and shooting with it.

3. Cameras (and lenses) are magic boxes.

I’ve long been a fan of encouraging a camera to make the kind images your naked eyes can’t see.

Shallow depth of field, subject isolation, artistic blurring from long exposures, over or under exposing for dramatic effect, multiple exposures, shooting in b/w or otherwise shifted colours, and many other techniques are at our fingertips.

As well as simple documentary tools like we talked about in no 1 above, we can use our cameras to weave magic before our eyes and make memorable, beautiful art that wasn’t even there in front of us.

I love photography right now.

How about you, what are three things you love most about photography today?

Let us know below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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13 thoughts on “Three Things I Love Most About Photography Today”

  1. One thing I really love about photography today is how photos are shared on my mobile phone. I love it when friends and family share their life experiences with me in images. it has opened up a whole new dimension to many of my relationships

  2. I agree with all your points, Dan… I also agree with Susan that for casual photography, the cell phone has really has brought us closer to people that are far away…
    I would add to your list…
    4. Taking pictures opens up our own eyes, and we see the world and the light that falls on it, in a different way.
    5. It also makes us isolate certain objects or things or people, and makes us look at them as if the rest of the world was out of focus. I think it brings new appreciation for looking at specific things and specific details.
    6. It makes life more fun. Sunrises and sunsets are infinitely more fun when you have a camera in your hands…

    1. 4. Yes, and once you’ve been photographing for a certain while, you can’t undo that seeing habit. You have photographer’s eyes forever more!
      5. Yes, this is what I was talking about with cameras being magic boxes, they can (amongst other things) force things out of focus that we can’t do with the naked eye. And what remains, what’s in focus, we then pay much closer attention to.
      6. Yes and no. Sometimes it’s good to just see something beautiful and breathe it all in, without feeling the need to make a photograph of it that does it justice too. Otherwise we’re like frantic tourists, only stopping long enough at each destination to get a picture then racing on to the next one. But it’s because of our photographer’s eyes talked about above that we see stuff in this greater detail and with greater appreciation in the first place!

  3. This frame of the bulldozer is bit of a tease, Dan. I can’t get my head around it. Sadly, further evidence of my feeblemindedness. Reflection in a storefront? I like all the points you’ve made, here. Reader Susan up above hits on probably the one thought that stands out most in my mind, so true, so true!

    1. Ah good guess about the reflection but this was a genuine double exposure, via a film swap. So I shot a roll of film, as did a friend of mine, then we spooled the film back in the canister, and sent to each other by post, then shot a second layer over each other’s film and processed the results.

      Many frames were a chaotic mess of images, but with luck you always get a few on a roll with some unexpected treats.

      I shot the bulldozer layer of this one, I’m pretty keen on old machinery, and my friend shot a street scene. I like how it looks like the bulldozer is about to scoop people up!

      If you click on the image within the post, 99% of the time I’ve linked it to where it’s posted on Flickr, with a bit more info, and of course there you’re able to view much bigger, for anyone interested

  4. I would say 1) digital photography, because it opened to me the world of post treatment, and of course also avoid the cost of development; 2) that phones gives you the possibility to make good images, but makes playing with all settings cumbersome or at least not enjoyable. It helped me a lot to forget about the technical aspects and just focus on the image, on composition.

    1. Thanks Joel. Obviously agree about the cheaper (virtually zero) ongoing costs of digital. Especially with a phone camera. And yeh I think they’re at their best to just point and shoot. They’re too fiddly to keep adjusting! I think the camera that I learned most from was my first “proper” (ie not phone) camera, a Nikon Coolpix P300. It was simple and compact enough to be able to point and shoot and just focus on composition most of the time (which is what I learned most with it), but with the capability there to grow as I learned more, for example experimenting with a larger aperture on Aperture Priority mode to give a more shallow depth of field.

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