Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Commentary from a camera

It's been quite a while since I read, 'The photo commentary of an expensive camera in the hands of an amateur.' (from McSweeneys) For some reason it came back to mind today. Here are a few of my favourite lines (but you really should read the whole thing):

'Your background experience involves taking pictures of high-school girls in bikinis in the deep end of the country-club swimming pool with an underwater disposable camera.'

'You can always use an ultrahard-contrast paper when you develop the picture to bring about your desired artistic affect, but I know you're going to end up taking me to Wal-Mart to get this printed out on butcher paper.'

' I don't want to sound condescending, but I think if you unrolled a spool of unused film, the sun would expose a better picture.'

I think this is an hilarious way to address the camera/photographer connection. If I had a dollar for every time someone, after looking at some of my pictures, said, 'You must have a really nice camera,' I might have enough money to buy one of these (in all truth I probably would be closer to that camera if I had a dollar for every time I've heard someone exaggerate by saying 'if I had a dollar for every time . . .'). It is kind of a weird situation. Does having nicer gear make you a better photographer? I think the beauty of some pinhole or toy camera photography shows that the answer is a resounding no. But being able to get the results that you want does sometimes necessitate nicer gear. Increased control seems to be the big issue in moving to more expensive equipment. The bottom line is, if someone is showing you pictures that you like, discuss the pictures and not the camera.

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