Back to the basics

How a camera has changed the way I see
Back to the basics

Notice: Geek-Zone Ahead!

You may know of my involvement in the photography educational industry – I have taught hundreds of photographers, I regularly host private one-on-one mentoring and I have co-authored a book for photographers. As such, in addition to the current, past and future clients who read my blog, I do have a large part of my audience consisting of photographers.

I try to keep everyone happy and so this particular blog post is geared towards photographers. It may be highly technical and so if you’re not overly interested in the creative or tech side of photography, you may wish to skip through to the next or previous blog post. Otherwise, enjoy and read on!

The saying goes “it’s not the camera, it’s the photographer”, and I couldn’t agree more. A good camera creates a nice image no more than a good hammer builds a nice house. The camera is just a tool, and regardless what tool we’re talking about (a camera, a hammer, a set of pots and pans), it always boils down to the skill and knowledge of the person using it.

I have always believed that there is not necessarily a correlation between the equipment and the quality of images that a photographer produces. Any modern-day camera is capable of creating beautiful imagery in the hands of a skilled photographer. Give a great photographer a crappy camera and he can make a beautiful image. Give a crappy photographer a great camera and he’ll struggle to create anything that even resembles a quality image.

If this is all true then I can basically sign off this post and be done with it. If this is all true, then why am I writing a blog post about how a camera has changed me as a creative? Maybe I was wrong all along. Maybe the camera does make a difference.

Interested? Read on …

Photography equipment innovation is often about jamming more stuff into the little black box that makes up the physical device. Higher megapixels, larger screens, better noise handling, faster frame rates, improved sensors, video functionality, microphone input, so on and so forth. Here’s my thought though (and it’s a fairly opinionated one) – do these “improvements” actually impact the imagery that we can produce as photographers? Or do we just lust over the latest and greatest gear in a never-ending race to zillions of megapixels and being able to shoot in a pitch black room? I am leaning towards the latter. Don’t get me wrong, I am a gear-head myself. I love having the shiniest gear in my closet. It’s pretty. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. But does it actually improve our skill as a photographer? I would argue that it doesn’t (back to my original point above).

Caught up in the gear porn, sometimes what we need is to have features taken away in order to come back to reality and appreciate what we do.

This is where the Fuji X-E1 of cameras has stepped in for me.

This is why this camera does matter … it makes me slow down, think, see and feel all over again as a photographer. With this camera, I feel like I’m learning my craft for the first time. I feel like I am back to the basics. I feel like I am photographing with meaning and with intent.

By not having 12fps, the blazing-fast autofocus and the quick responsive system, it has made me rediscover what photography is all about – composition, light and emotion.

Don’t get me wrong, image quality wise, it is totally on-par with any DSLR on the market today, so I have no hesitation using it for client work. Personally, I have fallen in love with the monochromic richness this camera produces organically. You’ll see that all the images below are in the B&W and that is on purpose – this camera has become my B&W-exclusive camera for my portraits and weddings.

I have re-discovered a passion for the artistic side of photography that I haven’t had in years. It is refreshing and exciting. I have fallen in love with my Fuji and everything that it represents. Expect many updates about this camera (and the new X-E2 I got), much more tech-talk and a bunch more images coming this way over the next while.

I would love to hear your feedback on these images, but more importantly, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea of photographing with intent and simplifying our equipment.


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