Photography Part 2: It’s the Photographer, not the Camera

Following on from my previous post, one of my pet hates is the comment, “that is a good photo, you must have a very good camera”.  It is a bit like telling a surgeon they did a good operation because they had a good scalpel, or a chef that their meal was great because they had good pans.  A sharp scalpel, or good pan, helps, but it is the skill of the operator that makes the difference.  Many excellent images are taken with mobile phones, or the most basic of film cameras.  The best camera is often the one you have with you – a £30k Hasselblad  or a bag full of the latest SLR equipment is no good if you have left it in the car when the opportunity arises. 

Beyond doubt, having a camera that provides you with the tools to achieve your vision, the image you wanted, is helpful, and some images are not possible without the right equipment – distant wildlife, or very large prints being an example of this.  Nevertheless, for the vast majority of images, it is the photographer, and not the camera, that does the work.

Remember what I said about the brain: it is the creative qualities of the way in which the brain processes images that make the difference.  Our eyes are not cameras.  A creative photographer will see opportunities, and make it possible to create an image with relatively simple equipment.  Modern digital cameras are astoundingly cheap, and monumentally capable, and it is possible to get brilliant results with them.  Provided, of course, the photographer had the imagination in the first place.

One thought on “Photography Part 2: It’s the Photographer, not the Camera

  1. I totally agree. I don't think it matters what camera you have nowadays. With the right creative juices you can produce interesting and beautiful photographs using pretty much anything (just look at some of the amazing mobile phone photographs). I use a camera that cost me £125, it's a Fuji Finepix bridge camera with a great little macro mode. OK, it's not much good for bird photos but for insects it's fab. With the right light & background (and mix in some imagination) I'm away!

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