Technology – the kings new clothes?

Porthcawl Break waterJust occasionally its useful for us to think about our photography from an outside perspective. To think about what is important to our growth as photographers and human beings rather than what is urgent say the next international salon entry may be. We all have resources of various types to use be they  – money, time, artistic skill or technical ability just to name a few.

So it begs the question how do we use the resources available to us to make the most of our photographic potential?

Photographers can be a bit like politicians who will happily throw money in the wrong direction at a problem, with very many uncertain outcomes and then wonder why things remain the same, they don’t take better or different pictures. Photographers find it easy to spend money on camera and computer hardware / software because it represents something they can touch and feel. The latest technology is obviously the best?

So just to go back to the quote of Henri Cartier-Bresson who said in 1952 “For me technology has changed but photography remains the same”. Therefore it would appear to me that there is a difference between technology and photography.

“The only way to get your photography to change or improve is to change the way you think – you have to change”. Paul Sadka

All the technology in the world can only help with the process of making pictures, it has very limited ability in assisting with vision, style, subject selection and having a point of view of what is significant to communicate to the viewer. Upgrading the tools (Cameras etc)to record your ideas will not necessarily make you a better artist. Would Shakespeare have written better plays and poetry if he had dictated them to a laptop computer if they had been available?

So all this comes back to who are you – to look at your perceptions, inspirations and awareness,  who inspires you? What do you want to say with your photography? You were created a creative being with imagination and perception. I would suggest that the development of seeing skills is by far more important than button pushing on a computer keyboard, because real photography skills decide what your pictures will look like and what they say.

So next time you think about spending your hard earned money on photography perhaps the most important question you should be asking is will this new purchase make you a better photographer will it help to improve your seeing skills, will it expand your awareness of what photography is, will it help you to communicate with the viewers of your pictures in a new or different way?

Just throwing in another quote wasn’t it Einstein who said that “doing the same things repeatedly expecting a different result is madness” or something of that ilk.

There are many amateur photographers who think that persistence pays off by doing the same thing over and over again and eventually you will get lucky when taking pictures. I would suggest that those who have a project and the shooting plan in the back of the mind before they leave home will come back with a cohesive set of pictures that tells a complete story. Those who wander around looking for pictures see everything and nothing.

Just a reminder I am running a real photography seminar called “The simple secret of becoming a first class photographer” on Saturday 22nd June see http://www.andybeelfrps.co.uk/workshops

A big hello to all new followers of my little blog this week.

(c) Andy Beel FRPS 2013

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6 responses to Technology – the kings new clothes?

  1. LensScaper says:

    A fascinating and thought provoking piece of writing. While I agree it is worth setting out with a project or a plan; it is also important to be prepared to jettison the plan, think outside one’s pre-conceived confines, and use one’s seeing eye to find something different. I think the biggest road-block to creativity can be working with equipment with which one is unfamiliar. Having recently bought a second hand D7000 I’ve had two good ‘outings’ frustrated by struggling to remember what combination of buttons I need to press to amend important settings. Under those circumstances technology really does get in the way oc creativity. As always a strong image, Andy

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  2. Interesting thoughts, but I’d have to say that both planned and unplanned expeditions can yield good results. I love the image that you shared in this post! Thank you for making me think. 🙂

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  3. Roy Davies says:

    Hello Andy
    I found this piece to be very thought provoking. There are those that promote the ethos of ” get out and take pictures”. I, perhaps like yourself, prefer to work on projects with a clear vision of what I want to achieve. Having said that, this summers project has incured a not insignificant capital investment.

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