Thursday, March 20, 2008

People and their camera equipment

I stumbled upon Ken Rockwell's thoughts on camera gear. His comments mirror my own thoughts on the subject. Namely, that people who obsess over the "best" camera equipment are missing the point.

I have been following various newsgroups, on-line forums, and trade-shows for years. Decades, actually. I used to wonder if Leica 35mm cameras were truly imbued with a special quality that their users could benefit from. I used to think that if it was good enough for St. Ansel, it was good enough for me. I used to test and test and test all manner of lenses, cameras, and systems just to see what was the "best". I have even published a great deal on the 'net on this very topic.

After reading his article, it appears to me that Ken and I arrived at similar thoughts in similar time. That is, cameras and lenses are just tools. They are tools that can be used wisely or unwisely, depending upon one's personal approach. But that cameras and lenses are no different than other kinds of tools that people use to create things.

Certainly a woodworker will haul out a hammer when the job at hand calls for it. Then they might choose a bandsaw or a tablesaw or a mitersaw when a different kind of works needs to be done. I seldom hear woodworkers become passionate about the kinds of tools they use or why they selected what they did quite like I hear "photographers" yack-on about their equipment. The same holds true for my experience in talking and participating in other fields of arts and craft.

When I came upon Luminous Landscape's rebuttal to Ken Rockwell, I was further amazed. Here, very redundantly, was a defense of all the bloviating, all the wringing of hands, all the too common commotion around camera and lens selection. I just don't "get it".

Art or craft is art or craft. Nothing more. Nothing less. The tools of one's art or craft are important in so far as they allow one to create what they desire to create. Ninety nine and one half percent of the equipment talk on-line, in the forums, over on the newgroups, in the various blogs is missing the point of art and craft entirely!

It doesn't matter a whit what you use to create your art or craft. All that I'm looking for is how does your work impact me emotionally.

There. I said it. Now it's time to get out there and make and share one's art and craft. Good luck.

The more art and craft in the world the better.