Friday, 16 February 2007

Envy - Seven Deadly Sins Of Photography

Church, Graveyard And Tombstone - Image © John MacLeod

ENVY: Resents the good others receive or even might receive. Envy irrationaly ignores the reasons for other peoples good fortune and despises the success of others.

Camera envy is one of the deadly sins of photography for a very good reason. It gives people the delusional excuse that if only they had the same camera as photographer x,y or z then they would take the same wonderful pictures as them. This insidious little delusion manages to insult the talent of the accomplished photographer by crediting only their equipment while simultaneously excusing them from responsibility for their own creative ability.

Rather than argue about the importance of what camera you use I will simply quote three professional photographers I interviewed recently and you'll see the pattern emerge yourself.

Deutsche Börse nominee Philippe Chancel when speaking about his work was interrupted by the cry of 'Great prints! What camera do you use?' looking very confused for a moment he said the following.

35mm. I don't know what one sorry, it's not important.

Philippe found the use of repeated motifs and symbols to tell a story far more important than any camera.

Johnathan Taylor a successful photo journalist when asked about his cameras of choice was using film cameras of a 30 year old design. The kind even a mild camera snob would ignore. His reason was relevant to his trade and revealed something about why he is good at what he does.

I like them as they have a small body so your face isn’t covered

Jonathan knew it was far more important to avoid creating a barrier with his subjects than to obsess over the best camera.

Hellen Van Meene brought a smile to my face and made a very relevant point at the same time. To quote from her own FAQ's:

Hellen started making photos on plastic snapshot camera she got from Santa Claus. She advises to get to know about color in the darkroom like she did, or simply by experimenting with Photoshop (like she does now, but based on what she learned among the chemicals in the darkroom). Learning to view the world like a photographer is the only thing that matters, not the hardware, film or settings used.

Hellen's full attention is on her connection to her models not what camera she has.

The moral of the story is covet not thy neighbors camera just focus on the content of your images, your approach to your chosen subjects and then really work at it. The rest will come and it won't ever matter what camera you use.


Chris Shepherd said...

I do like the photo in this article, you must have a really good camera ;)

Anonymous said...

thous shalt not covert thy neighbours dlsr.

I do covert there d-lites but thats a different matter


David Toyne said...

I do like the photo in this article, you must have a really good camera
It's taken by John MacLeod he took it on his first weekend ever with an SLR camera. So it's a good point to note also lol!

I have to admit it's his picture or be guilty of Avarice.

John said...

Oh great, now I'm guilty of the origional and most deadly of the sins, Pride...

Going to go practice humility and take some poor snaps before you condemn me to a firey existence Daivid.

Great article David, you should be proud ;-)

Johnny said...

I sometimes think buying more & more & more equipment might just be an obsession or illness!!! though I myself suffer from it somewhat. I do find however that some equipment do a better job for some jobs than others! for example you can use a Richo GR1v for street photography but you rally cant use a RZ Proll hanging around your neck in teh streets!!! but, in general David, I acquire your drift. I'm off to the camera shop now!! :-)

David Toyne said...

I manage street photography with a 1DMK2 on a wrist strap. Thats really pushing it though. No white lenses allowed though. ;o)