13 Dec 2007

Keep photography simple

I watch with growing astonishment the amount of sophisticated gear my students manage to stuff into their camera bags. There are times when they can hardly lift their bags – rucksacs mostly – onto their backs. I sometimes wonder why all this sophisticated hi-tech kit has to weigh so much. Strangely, I seem to have spent most of my working life trying to reduce the amount of kit I carry about. It is heavy, and is responsible for my bad back. Bear in mind I started at the age of 15 carrying a large wood and leather camera box full of glass plates and a 5x4 plate camera, and I have lugged some sort of camera bag over my shoulder ever since. Have things really progressed?

I am totally converted to digital and could not imagine going back to the old days of film, but I do think there are countless methods and techniques for producing good photographs that are being lost to those photographers who are completely obsessed with kit. All that equipment just gets in the way.

Lots of expensive kit DOES NOT produce great pictures – photographers DO. The camera is merely a tool, and it is right that you should buy the best you can afford if you are keen. But keep it sensible.

The picture here was taken using just a camera on a tripod – no fancy tripod head full of gizmos and knobs to twiddle, just a simple ball and socket job. The lens was an 85mm and the light was from a window reflected with a sheet of newspaper. The quality of the subject, the quality of the light, and the timing made it a worthwhile image that sold. Simple – I like simple a lot!

1 comment:

AKH said...

What a LOVELY portrait Philip!

If I can ever take and give people pictures like this - I will be very pleased... superb composition and light - it does not get much better than this!

AKH - Castle Douglas - Scotland