This is my take on the ten truths of photography posted last week. Have a read through and see if you agree with me.
1 More pixels and expensive technology equals the best image
This is marketing spin to entice us to give money to equipment manufactures.
The latest most expensive equipment won’t help in the hands and mind of someone with no ability to observe, decide what is significant and express that significance in a satisfying visual design. As the old saying goes “it’s not what you’ve got but how you use” that’s important.
2 Sharp clear pictures tell the whole truth
There is a quote from Richard Avedon that says a photograph is accurate but it’s not always truthful, which is a good way to sum up how I feel.
See www.richardavedon.com if you have not heard of or seen his work.
3 Photoshop has an automatic “fantastic photo” tool hidden in the Filters menu.
This was a 100% spoof; hopefully you haven’t been looking for it.
4 Photoshop automatically fixes poor seeing and lack of attention to detail at the taking stage
Fortunately post production gives us the opportunity to re-interpret our work, but it’s not automatic carried out by software. When processing files the same critical judgement is required as when behind the camera.
5 Computers know everything
Computers are completely stupid. I think it was the French Philosopher and writer Voltaire who said that a man who knows all the answers is a fool. The important and clever part is knowing the right question. Computers know all the answers, they don’t know the questions.
6 Cameras know you’re inner most thoughts
I thought that now some cameras have “intelligent auto” this is a true fact? (Beware of the double bluff).
7 Instant impact in a picture is vital
Instant impact in a picture is vital in a news picture to tell a story with truth and accuracy to sell newspapers. For me the pictures that are interesting and will stay with me are those that I have to engage with and think about.
8 The use of the “Rule of Thirds” in composition is imperative to your development as a photographer
Freeman Patterson writes that the rule of thirds should only be used if all other compositional arrangements do not provide a satisfactory rendering of the subject. See www.freemanpatterson.com for his wonderful books and workshops. The photographs you produce are about you just as much as the subject. To quote Ansel Adams “there are two people in in every portrait” the sitter and the photographer. See www.anseladams.com for his black and white landscapes.
9 Entering photo competitions will make you a better photographer
Entering photo competitions will teach you a style of photography that wins or attempts to win local, national or international prizes. This type of endeavour will not teach you to become a distinct photographer reaching your own highest individual photographic potential.
It depends who your photography is for, the part of you that wants the oxygen of praise from your peers, or the part of you that seeks the best and highest potential that you can achieve.
Those who follow the crowd, have to act like the crowd.
10 Digital photography is cheap, quick and easy
The photographic digital revolution has democratised photography for the masses. The masses have vastly benefitted from cheap compact cameras and A4 printers that are cheaper to buy than a new set of inks to put in them. The ability to be able to very quickly produce an A4 print from a file taken on a digital compact camera is great. The colour balance, brightness and contrast might not be everything you’d hoped for but it’s a lot cheaper, quicker and easier than going to the local chemist or photo retailer was.
If you are looking to make a large accurate print from a digital SLR with a huge file size then cost spiral for cameras, lenses, computers, software, printers, paper, ink and mounting.
For those of us who pour our heart and soul in to photography to do whatever we do, then we still need the same amount of dedication, skill, knowledge and judgement as our predecessors had in the colour or black and white darkroom. This means for us unlike the masses, digital photography at the highest level will not always be cheap, quick or easy. For us the photography is about the art and craft of making a picture that satisfies the maker and communicates to the viewer.
(c) Andy Beel FRPS