Thursday, January 14, 2010

A plea to those who know better

The key to expressionism and in creating art with a camera lies with the mastery of the mechanics and of art of visualization. Important tools and ideas are being stripped from the camera and lens every day ... and  no one is complaining. An entire generation has been brainwashed into believing that auto focus is a good thing and those old enough to know better .... aren’t saying a word.  Please help. As a caring photographer, as a teacher this type of apathy upsets me more than anything. Part of being an artist with a camera is in communicating to others, sharing a piece of yourself with the world. It’s our responsibility to share what we know to be the truth. Don’t be stingy. The truth should not be kept secret. This is just basic physics, telling people about it isn’t going to damage your career. We have to share this information.
In just the last 25 years people have forgotten not only how to control depth-of-field but what is and why it’s important. Imagine what will happen in 25 more. Nikon has already taken off of their beginner SLR cameras the depth-of-field preview button (SHAME ON YOU NIKON). These are the cameras people start with.  If they don’t have this option on their camera when they begin their journey, they’ll never learn why it’s important.
Sure, this is good news for camera manufactures as an ignorant customer base is much easier to manipulate than a knowledgeable one ...  but its terrible news for those wanting to be artists with a camera.
Please, don’t let equipment manufactures and their marketing firms ruin for others what has treated you so well in the past. Share what you know about real photography. Mentor someone who is just starting out. Send them down the path that you know is difficult — sure they will struggle and fail at first but think of everything they’ll learn. Show them that experience is the best teacher and that light and vision need to be understood and controlled ... just as much as their equipment.
 People want to learn, trust us, this we know. They are looking for those heros who will show them how to use their equipment and how it really works. Tell them the truth. Sure it’ll be a difficult journey for them and the challenges will be great to you as well — but please share what you know, (who you are) with someone.
Stop the hacks, stop the marketing hype and offer those in search of artistic freedom something honest. Share with them your heart and your passion for real photography and tell them what it is that you know to be right — that the secret to creating great messages with their camera doesn’t have anything to do with their camera at all ... it lies in their own heart and in what they want to say to begin with.

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