I bought my Sony α200 on 6 June 2008. In about three weeks time it would be my first anniversary as a DSLR user. Since that purchase, I’ve bought a couple of lenses, a tripod, a protective filter and a strobe (flash unit). If you think that’s too much subsequent purchases for a hobby; believe me there are others who are way more absorbed in their photographic gear than yours truly.
Photography Is More About Capturing Memories And Less About Gear
This brings me to the first point of this post. I’m from the school of thought that a photographer makes do with what he has. To me, photography is about immortalizing memories; not gear bragging.
Some might say that I suffer from a case of sour grapes; that I’m just jealous of photographers who are made out of money and can pretty much get all the gear they want.
Deep down inside, there might be a hint of truth in there. Of course I would like to have the best photographic equipment in the world. However, the fact is that I’m not a professional photographer… I’m not even semi-pro! At best, I could only categorize myself as an amateur.
What’s equally true in my mind is that photography is not a race or even a sport. It’s an experience. You try to push the boundaries of your current equipment’s capabilities. It doesn’t matter if it’s a cameraphone, a point-and-shoot or the latest DSLR with the latest batch of gear… it is what you do with it.
Photography Is Neither Art Nor Science On Its Own
When I explore photography communities and forums, the things that I immediately notice are these two camps; the artists and the tech-heads.
The artists are more concerned about composition, capturing the right moment and getting it right the first time. The tech-heads on the other hand focus more on post-processing, image manipulation and making an image look arguably better.
There are countless times that these two camps are at loggerheads with each other. Personally, I think that both of them are right. Modern photography is not art or science; it’s both. This comes with the advancement of photographic equipment that embraces digital technology.
So why should we argue whether photography is an art or science?
Digital Photography Is Very Forgiving
Good photographers usually pick their subjects and capture them in the best possible environment. However, the best photos are mostly a spur of the moment deals. Take pictures from conflict zones for example. Many photojournalists don’t have the luxury of directing their subjects. Nevertheless, these images are some of the most memorable.
My thoughts on this is that a photographer can choose a subject, but the best subjects usually choose the photographer.
Photographers must always be on standby mode to put it simply. There’s only so much that is in our control, most of the time we should be able to pick the best moment from the chaos of events and opportunities.
This is why I’m thankful to those who contribute towards advancing digital imaging. The opportunity and financial costs have been made very low to the point that it’s virtually free to accidentally take bad pictures of significant moments.
In the days of film, there’s almost no way you can reuse a badly captured frame; what’s used is used and it can’t be recycled. Digital photography is much more forgiving in such circumstances.
For most amateur film photographers, there’s no way you can select specific film scenes to be developed individually the first time around. You have no choice but to develop the whole film roll and reprint the masterpieces. With digital photography, you can preview and delete snapshots on the camera itself.
Most important, digital photography brought photo editing out from the realm of professionals and made it available to virtually everyone; not to mention making the process highly affordable.
Overall, I’m grateful for digital photography. It’s good to see millions of photos churned out and shared everyday. I’m happy to be part of the community.