Photographers argue about the silliest things

How many times have you read it, heard it, hell maybe even uttered the words yourself? Canon vs Nikon. Film vs Digital. This new gadget or that is such a disappointment. Oh if only Canon had made the new 5dMkIV with more focus points. Why doesn't it have a satellite uplink? I shoot film because it's pure and unaltered and that means I'm a real artist.

What a load of garbage. Everyone wants to validate their own perspective as the “right” one, and in turn put down others who may have different needs, different target audiences, a different voice for their art. Let me deflate your egos for a bit – people were somehow making great images before the 5dMkIV was released. People are successful with both Nikon, and Canon, and wait a minute, Sony? Pentax? Olympus whaaaaaaa? Seriously? I couldn't POSSIBLY build a deck with a DeWalt impact driver, I need to go buy a set of Milwaukee tools right now. Hmm. Looks like the guy next door is using a Ryobi. How do his deck screws not spontaneously combust in protest?

The bottom line is, those bitching about “Canon missed the boat with….” or “wow Nikon is really behind making the D5 only 20 megapixels...” are clearly delusional in the assumption that either company was trying to please you in their efforts. They had enough input from people at the forefront of the industry, who led them to the conclusion that they came up with. Their job is not to please you, but to create a product and an accompanying marketing campaign that will encourage enough new and existing users to buy in order to please their shareholders, and fund the development and release of the next generation of technology. It's an incremental step forward, not the monumental be all end all of photographic hardware. Please, by all means, don't buy the product. Or better yet – do. Waste your hard earned money thinking the new, never before had tool is somehow what you've needed to do what you've always done. I will show you work by countless photographers you will never belong in the same hemisphere with, created before autofocus was invented, or before cameras even contained batteries.

Use whatever tools it takes to chisel your ideas out of the block of marble that is your brain. Your Concept and execution is way more important than the choice of tools. The tools serve the output, not the other way around. I shoot a lot of stuff that has an analog feel. I was born in the 70's and grew up looking at album covers, advertising, and television that had a certain look, and I love to reference that in my work while still maintaining modern aesthetics as well. Is it cheating that I don't shoot film? Wait? I don't? I shoot polaroid, I shoot 4x5, I shoot 35mm, holga, 645…. I just don't find it important to tell everyone the materials used, rather than just ask them to look at the pictures. The end – the successful visual communication of an idea – justifies the means – whether it's 100% organically grown or created in a lab.

So often, I see images that are absolute garbage, even published in newsstand photography magazines, with an accompanying text regarding how to achieve such a look, what tools were used, etc. The article is marketing, trying to sell you an inferior photo. Use your eyes. Ask yourself first, what is your eye immediately drawn to in an image. What emphasis was placed by the photographer to lead you in a certain direction. Yeah there might be something in an image that may be interesting, but it may be improperly showcased, there may be too many other fatal flaws to overlook before you get there.

It all comes down to 98% of us have so many other things we can do to improve our work before we criticize the tools and the medium itself. Get over it. Master your own limitations. 7 frames per second will get you 1 more shitty frame than 6 will.

Now if you'll excuse me I am going to go enjoy another delicious adult beverage and prepare to watch Toy Story with the kids. Which, is obviously absolute garbage since it used computer animation instead of hand painted cells.


#gear #photography

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© 2019 by Nick Johnson.