So in my last post I talked a bit about how I attached the simplest lens on my camera to go out on the street. I personally believe it is important to have your own foundation, your starting point, somewhere you can come back to and build up again. Seeing how the new technology in cameras come out, with promises of better resolution and more accurate colour representation, and possibly even that special mood in images taken with Leica that I’d seen 20 years ago at a friend’s studio. I go day-deaming about it, missing sleep over whether I jump boats back to the other brands with their leading model which is still catching up on their waiting list after the disasters in Thailand production base and their home country of Japan. When will I likely to get the post-initial model with all the teething initial issues cleared? What about the street camera? Now that I am letting go of the great small Panasonic GF1, to pass it on to a friend who could really use that beautiful lens, what can I get next? Get a Fuji X-Pro 1 with M mount and start building Leica lenses, finally? Oh, that small piece would fit nicely in my hand while standing on the street corner…
Now hold on.
Let’s bring it back to reality here. Am I always getting the exact images that represent the image that I am seeing on my mind when firing the trigger? And if not, is that because of the limitation projected by my equipment? So much so that the only way to improve my work is by upgrading my gears to the newer generation ones? For more responsiveness, more clarity, more depth in between light and dark?
Sure, there are things I am sure new gears will improve. But think about it – all these great photographers we admire, they used a very simple set of equipment. Some of them only had one focal length and that’s all. Look at all the people who post their iPhone photos on Facebook? How great those pictures are. Can you honestly say you consistently make better images than those people? And the 5,000 dollars or whatever amount we pay for the camera, lens, flash, special strap, and the works – they definitely show the difference people think are worth that much money? Do I believe it is worth that much money?
Well, I think I’ve got more work to do before treating myself with new toys. I’ve got so much more stretching to do, before I need a new set of equipment to keep up with me. In the mean time, it is back to work.
This evening I came across an article that was talking more or less of the same thing. But I think he does a much better job of writing something that may make sense to you. So here it is:
Show Me Photographs, Not Gear: How to Improve Photography Without Upgrading Gear, by Robin Wong
So let’s talk about our images. What went through us that inspired us to make that image. Let’s talk about our creative process. Let’s talk about what we wish to communicate through our images. But let’s stop talking about our latest equipment. All I will tell you when it’s my turn is – well, I can’t afford a new one yet!