I get sometimes the impression than in today’s internet photography world, specially the YouTube photography world, the reality gets a sort of time space distortion. Let me explain myself.
The never ending pace of technology
The main and most popular channels that compete with each other for subscribers attention, strive to offer us an endless stream of constant camera newness, new features, new coolness, in order to satisfy our own desire for better gear, renewed inspiration and ultimately lure us to spend unreasonable amounts of cash in poursuit of the Saint Graal of becoming better photographers.
This kind of trend is of course encouraged and fuelled by the camera brands themselves, which are fiercely competing for market share in an ever shrinking market, due to the progress and quick development of computing photography in our smartphones. The truth is, most of the people nowadays don’t bother to buy a camera, they just use the one that’s always in their bags or pockets.
Be realistic with your true needs
I get it. If you are a Pro and you do this for a living you probably want the best and latest. First of all, you probably can afford it, because this is how you make a living in the first place. Not having the latest and more capable gear could make you fall behind your competition and maybe loose clients. If you are a wedding, fashion, product or advertisement photographer you need to deliver. Your clients probably will require the best quality and results. You need to ensure that you have plenty of resolution in your images to work with, that your subjects are sharp and magically focussed right in the eye, that you can shoot an astonishing number of frames in one single second just in case someone inadvertently blinks. You want your gear to be able to do the job for you.
This is of course a logical consequence of how our word functions in terms of consumerism and growth. As a company you have to constantly increase sales (and preferably share benefits with your stakeholders). For this you have to give some improvements to your customers to convince them to bite the bullet year after year, even though those improvements might not be so relevant after all when we talk about what an image is capable of conveying in the realm of the emotion.
I often get the impression that the only thing that seems to be important is how sharp and technically perfect your image should be, how deep you can pixel peep into it.
This not to say that you can’t have technically perfect images that don’t trigger that artistic emotion from the viewer, of course you can. What I’m saying is that nowadays the focus seems to be put only and exclusively on the technical perfection aspect of an image for it to be considered a valuable thing and this is encouraged by the majority of the camera brands themselves.
Creating with gear we already possess may open new paths for creativity
From an amateur point of view, things look quite differently, at least as far as I am concerned. I can’t help but feel these internet wars, this endless pursuit of the latest and greatest, is not my battle. I see so many Youtubers and bloggers that left a brand for another one, only to switch again some time later just because a new a more exciting release came out.
I can’t help to think that too much gear choice hinders your photographic expression, not the opposite.
Maybe this is because my love for photography started in a time where all these refinements didn’t exist. Maybe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for a returning to the old times, this would be ridiculous. Technical progress is truly wonderful and has brought to us so many possibilities and excellent means to express our creativity in ways we wouldn’t have dreamt of. I’m just saying that frenetic technical progress has displaced what I consider to be the important value and maybe even the true goal in the photographic art, that being, to create an image that is emotional, in the sense that it triggers an emotion in the viewer, an artistic reaction, as opposed to a technically perfect image.
Also, as customers, we like to think that this enormous amount of money we have just spent to get a new camera is totally justified by the tremendous benefits we’ll no doubt enjoy with the new technical features and advancements that we get.
Features and emotions are not necessarily antagonistic. But if we think that our expensive gear has to do the damn job for us we will limit ourselves. Relying on features only and thinking they will magically provide us with better tools to create emotions is certainly a good way to deceive and to self-limit ourselves.