I hear it a lot – a lot, “if I had a better camera, I could take better pictures”. A better picture, whats that? Does it astound, does it impress, does it amaze? I never understood that, what are these elusive, “better pictures” the world is hunting for?
For most people a photo is a trip. A trip back in time to a moment, a place, a person, long gone or too faraway to be tangible. Short of decapitating some poor unknowing soul or turning an image completely on its head- I don’t believe in bad pictures. Even the iconic photos in family albums around the world of the headless grandmother aren’t bad. They speak- and after all isn’t that the point of a photo? To speak to those days of the past, to the people who lived and laughed in them? Even the “worst” photo has a story to tell, and that in and of itself is redemption. Check out this hilarious compilation from Buzz Feed, looking at these shots, you can’t tell me they don’t tell a story!
But I digress- lets talk about that camera. That camera if you could just replace- you just know you’d be the next Ansel Adams traipsing through the wilderness, saving trees and hugging mountains. Or perhaps you’re more of a Leibovitz, photographer to the stars, capturer of soulfulness. Sorry, sad news alert, I’m here to burst your bubble. No. Just no. No you won’t.
There are a thousand cameras out there, and I will be the first to admit some are amazing! But in the end, when the photo goes on the wall or in the album, its not the camera that made the image, its you. Its you who see, you who feels, and you who bleeds that all into one moment punctuated with a simple click.
By now, you’re thinking, “Uh-huh, sure” easy for me to say right? Me trotting around with my fancy Cannon camera. I promise you, I speak the truth. A few weeks back over the winter holiday I had a disaster. While traveling with family, in the midst of chaos and fun my camera took a 3ft tumble on to asphalt. I am close to certain my heart stopped for a few moments. Needless to say, goodbye camera, goodbye job, “Hello, welcome to Mcdonalds, may I take your order”! Crisis, not adverted. My precious companion would no longer shoot or flash, all it could manage was a metallic grinding to remind me of its recent assault. Fixable, yes- when I needed it, no. What to do, what to do?
Creativity, has always been a strength of mine. I don’t mean creativity in the traditional sense I can’t Mcgiver my way out things, but I can think out of the box. What to do when my precious camera wouldn’t work? Find another. And so I did, sitting around gathering dust in my family home was the most generic looking Nikon you could ever imagine. Go to any store that sells cameras and you can pick one up for yourself. My camera elitism shrouded me in doubt, but reluctant as I may have been, I picked it up and proceeded.
A week later, back at home piling through pictures on my laptop, my damaged camera restored to its original health, an odd thing happened- the pictures from that dusty original generation DSLR came to life before me. To my surprise, they were crisp, clean, and beautiful. I was so dumbfounded, I found myself second guessing, double checking.
Pretty fantastic huh?
And then I thought about it. Why be so surprised? This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done this. This wouldn’t be the first time anyone had done this. Ever hear of a thing called an iPhone? Every year IPP hosts a iPhone photo contest, the images that come out of it will astound you. You can check out the 2014 winners here. Believe it or not these two images below, both were taken with my iphone. To date, they are some of my top selling photos.
The camera, is only half the equation, less than half really. The photographer makes the shot. So go, make images, surpirse yourself, and use what you have. A good camera is important, but feeling through the moment, makes it matter!
Got any great camera phone images? Share them here, I’d love to see them!