There Is No Magic Camera

I’ve been taking photographs for a good part of my life, and I’ve gone through all the same stages of learning and seeing that most other photographers have. Over the years I’ve tried my best to keep up with trends regarding techniques and technology. I shoot both digital and film. I shoot large format, medium format, multiple 35mm film cameras, polaroid cameras, Instax lomo and twin lens reflex cameras, rangefinders, point and shoots, and of course some nice digital cameras such as the Leica 116, Fuji x100s, and a Canon 1dx.

I’ve always tried to be a diverse photographer, doing my best to understand and be reasonably proficient at photographing in the studio as well as the great outdoors, everything from portraits to documentary, to wildlife, to landscape. I’ve always taken an interest in the history of photography. I collect photography books and enjoy looking at the work of the masters. So in other words, I feel that I have a fairly good general understanding of a broad range of photography.

What I’m about to say is not profound in any way, however it may upset a few of the technical photographers out there…

There is no magic camera that will ever make your photographs better. There are only two things that will ever affect the impact your photographs have.

1.) opportunities you create for yourself and/or luck, and

2.) the way you see the world.

Now it’s true that certain types of photography demand specific qualities from a camera in order to properly carry out the task, and that certain cameras do some things better than others can do, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’ve seen many many people convince themselves that their photographs will improve if they got a better camera, only to find out that after a year of using the new camera, their images pretty much look the same as they always did.

We don’t photograph things as they are, we photograph things as we are. If you’d like your photographs to improve or change in any way, you have to do the changing. You have to spend every day of your life soul searching and learning to see a different way…to think like a photographer and to see like a lens.

Some of the most incredible images that have ever been taken, have been captured on very simple technology – technology that lets the photographer concentrate on the world before them instead of some hidden menu item or camera gimmick.

So if you’re someone who is interested in photographing the night sky, then yes, you’ll benefit from a camera with a low noise sensor. If you’re someone who loves wildlife photography, then yes, you’ll likely benefit from a camera that has a fast shooting rate. But overall, if you’re thinking that the new camera is somehow going to dramatically alter your images and transform them from something blah to something everyone will want to look at, think again.

There is no magic camera.

Do some soul searching. Take a walk. Find a mentor. Slow down. Look at things. Carry your camera always, and develop your vision.

Food for thought…

Happy Shooting,

Doug

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