I had lunch with a good friend the other day and he inspired me to get in front of the keyboard- so, here goes…
Your camera is simple. The problem is all the buttons. The problem is the menus. The problem is the camera companies who think we need our cameras to be smarter. The problem is we believe them. Over the last several years we seem to have gotten more interested in what the camera can do than what we can do as visual artists. We love our gear. (I suspect painters don't get very excited when a new brush comes out) We get more excited about the shiny new Nikon D 900,000 DXXXX or the Canon 5500 version 24b than we do about being creative. (MMMMM shiny)Each time the camera companies add a new button or feature we pull out our wallets thinking spending more means getting better photos. Its not true. Can we really blame them, they have to sell more cameras to stay in business, so in order to do this they keep adding more and more features so our camera can supposedly take better pictures.
They tell us the cameras are geniuses. They add so many things that if the features weren't mostly digital then the cameras would weigh 20 kilos. The modern DSLR (SLR) has had most of its buttons added in the last 10 years. Have these buttons and features made us better photographers? I don't think so, I think all the buttons and menus have made the camera too complicated- given us too much think about- too much math, too many options, too many choices. We seem to spend more time looking down at the buttons than we do being creative. Imagine if painters had dozens of new types of brushes that had features like electric hand warmers, auto swivelling brushes and special buttons that made you paint like Picasso or a brush that auto selected the paint colour it thought you needed. Feel creative? Then your used this on a canvas of paint by numbers that told you what colour goes where. Would you feel like an artist? Would you get what you wanted? Would you make a painting that moves people? The camera is not an artist. It is just an apparatus, it is a tool, like a brush, to help you, the artist capture your vision. It is just a box with a hole in it and if you let your DSLR camera make most of the artistic decisions by using the mountain or person running icon on the mode dial or leave it in auto or program mode, then you paid a lot of money for a point n' shoot.
Next week…how to have a better relationship with your camera and find good chocolate and a mini assignment…here is to exploring your camera and creativity