Cameras Don’t Matter

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Hold on a second here… Wasn’t this blog supposed to be about photography?  If so, how can the title of this post possibly be ‘Cameras Don’t Matter’?  This is blasphemy!

Before you go calling the photography police, let me share a little story with you:  A photographer went to a socialite party in New York.  As he entered the front door, the host said “I really love your pictures – they are wonderful!  You must have a fantastic camera.”  The photographer said nothing until dinner was over, then he commented to the host: “That was a wonderful dinner – really delicious!  You must have a fantastic stove.” This simple story by photographer Sam Haskins sums up a key concept every photographer should know:  photography is not about the equipment.

In fact, Cameras Don’t Matter.

Cameras have no imagination, no creativity, no sense of style.  They have no ability to compose an image, frame a face, or even capture an emotion.  The simple truth is that cameras don’t take pictures, people do.  Cameras are merely a tool – the real art comes from the photographer.

The single most important component of a camera
is the twelve inches behind it.  – Ansel Adams

You shouldn’t worry about having the ‘latest and greatest’ in camera technology.  Believe it or not, having fancy equipment will not improve your photography.  Sure the right equipment will make it easier, faster and more convenient for you to capture what you see, but first you have to see.  And I’m not just talking with your eyes.  No, to truly see you must live in the present moment and experience your surroundings with all of your senses.  All day, every day.  It isn’t something you turn on and off, it is something that becomes a part of who you are.  For some people the art of seeing is intuitive, for others it is a real challenge.  But for everyone it is the key to great photography.

The next time you are out and about with your camera, I encourage you to pause for a moment before clicking the shutter.  Close your eyes and ask yourself these simple questions:  What do I hear?  What do I smell?  What do I feel?  What makes this moment unique?  Once you have quieted your mind in this way, open your eyes and ask yourself:  What do I see?  This simple process will change the way you view the world and your photography will benefit from it.  No fancy equipment required.

8 thoughts on “Cameras Don’t Matter

  1. My favorite quote, and it’s on the back of my business card, is – “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” –Henry Thoreau. Thank you for your thoughtful post.

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