Its quite often that I get told a particular line which kind of bugs me quite a bit. Almost always whenever I am in a conversation with somebody regarding photography the person invariably ends up saying that photography is something that he or she is passionate about and some even go on to say that not only they are passionate but are also quite good at it. Now, being the photography buff that I am I more often than not ask to be shown some of their work. Its exactly after I ask this the person generally says he or she in spite of being so passionate about photography generally does’t indulge in much photography because he or she doesn’t have a good enough DSLR. This is exactly where I don’t agree with them.
I believe in the age old saying that the best camera is the one that you have in your hand. No matter how many full frame DSLRs that you might be having in your home they are of no use unless and until you are having them on person. Going by this logic even the most basic digital camera can be an equally good tool for photography. With the advent of the digital age in photography cameras have become the one of the most widely carried items. Almost every mobile phone today comes equipped with a decent enough camera with capabilities which if creatively used can yield more than decent results. Combine that with the plethora of photo editing and sharing apps like Instagram, Hipstamatic, Photoshop Express etc. photography has become easier and cheaper than ever before.
What I mean to say is that you don’t always need the best tech in the market to pursue your passion for photography. Lets draw an analogy. Say, for instance a boy is very passionate about football and wants to pursue his dream of being a world class footballer one day. In order to turn his dream into reality its more important that the boy goes out and hits the ground running everyday wearing whatever brand of football boots he can lay his hands on than waiting for when he will be able to buy the latest model of football spikes from Nike or Adidas. Similarly with photography if one is passionate and wants to achieve a photographic goal its more important that one actually photographs with whatever resource one has rather than waiting to buy the latest DSLR from Canon or Nikon or whatever fancy brand one can think of. If you are having a smartphone go out and start shooting or may be if you are having a digital point and shoot then also go out and start shooting. With a bit of practice and creativity you will be more than surprised when you see the quality of results that you get.
Moral of the story – its you who shoots the photograph at the end of the day not your camera. Your camera is just a tool and just like any other tool it comes in various versions with different capabilities but all cameras have one capability in common and that is to provide more than decent photographs when used judiciously and creatively.
Now how many times have you heard that ? I am pretty sure that’s probably the most common advise you will get whenever you volunteer to be advised on photography and everything related. But what exactly is “Being Original” ? A quick Google search with just the word “Original’ reveals that it can be both used as an adjective and a noun and Google also displays four meanings of the word. What we are concerned with or rather what the experts indicate while giving advises of being original is the second meaning under the adjective usage of the word –
“created personally by a particular artist, writer, musician, etc.; not a copy“.
Please note that I have taken the pains to write the last three words in BOLD. This has been done because that is precisely what is meant by Being Original or in other words “AVOID CUT COPY PASTE” at all costs.
This however doesn’t mean you always have to come with newer and newer things. Nobody has any objection to any of your work which might be inspired by some other earlier work by some other photographer. However, there is a very thin line that effectively separates Inspiration from Imitation. But then again if you ask me how to differentiate between inspiration and imitation I can’t give any specific set of parameters. Its all up to your own judgement and how your viewers perceive your work.
One suggestion I think will be of help is that just don’t blindly follow someone. For instance, a few days back I had posted a photo on a photography forum in Facebook along with the EXIF information as per the rules of that particular forum; couple of days later I got a notification that one guy has left a comment on the photograph saying that inspired by the photo that I had posted he had tried to replicate the image by using the same settings as per my EXIF information but had only ended up with a black frame. This is exactly what a classic example of following blindly looks like. It was really heartening to know that a photo shot by me could inspire someone to go out and try to replicate that. But where he went all wrong was when he tried to implement the same settings that I had used without making an effort to know the position or angle I shot the frame from or the time of the day I shot at or the available light when I shot the photo and end number of other factors. This incident also exhibits a lack of understanding about the camera settings because if that person had even the most basic understanding he would have applied his brains to tweak the settings about according to the conditions he was shooting in. Even though he claimed to be inspired but in reality he ended up imitaing.
What is important is that your viewer gets to see your own interpretation of your subject. Therefore, even at the cost of repetition let me conclude by saying Get Inspired But Don’t Imitate.
This is going to be my first post on this blog and I thought what better way to inaugurate The Photography Fanatic than by writing about how I look at photography and what photography means to me.
If you were to ask me what photography means the answer would be quite short. I would have to tell you that the word photography is derived from the Greek terms PHOS which means LIGHT and GRAPHIE meaning to write or paint. So basically photography means “Writing or Painting with Light”. But such technical and historical information and discussion are not what this post is about. This post all about what photography means to me.
Now if you are beginning to wonder why on earth did I then bother to tell you the history of the word photography then let me tell you that the meaning of the word photography is exactly what photography represents to me. I trully believe that photography is not just for recording moments its about writing down what I feel about a moment and how I look at a moment.
More often than not I get told that photography is an art form. Yes to many it might be but I beg to differ. For me photography is not just an art form its a language – a language without a distinct script but with the capability to speak a thousand words and still be silent. Its the language that allows me to interact with my surroundings and also to document the numerous conversations that I am constantly having with almost everyone and everything around me.