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That isn’t Photography

As an amateur photographer my role isn’t to denigrate other photographers as being more or less valid in their experimentation or practice. I just make and appreciate photographs. My current tools include a Nikon D90 DSLR, a Zenza Bronica ETRS, a Holga 120n and a (borrowed) 35mm Fujica ST705w – digital to analogue to low-fidelity.

The definition of photography, at its root, is the capturing of photons to create a picture. A photographer uses one of many existing techniques or technologies to capture photons that have bounced off the subject and environment to make a picture. By intention. By accident. Or by casual serendipity. On film. On plates. On paper. On tin or any number of surfaces.

A photograph is measured as valid by means other than aesthetic beauty. Yes, aesthetics and design principles are going to count but a valid photograph or a good photograph are as much to do with the photographer’s intention and the surrounding context. All good photographs aren’t tack sharp. And all good photographs aren’t colour (or black and white). A snapshot in it’s context is as valid as a family portrait. A landscape is as valid as a still life or street. There are photographs I enjoy and others that repulse or offend me – but unless I have a reasonable critique to offer I definitely refrain from trying to pull others down or to dictate my opinions onto their personal practice.

I don’t care if you make photographs with a $50,000 camera or a $20 plastic camera. I don’t care if you use large format or you shoot 110 or Polaroid or a home made pinhole or even if you Instagram from the iPhone. The same goes for processes – digital, roll film, tintype, cyanotype or whatever floats your boat. That’s your deal… I will either enjoy those pictures or not.

It’s not my place as a photographer to tell anybody what is or isn’t valid photography. If they catch photons with a piece of rubber and a light (somehow) and it makes a blurry picture that lasts a minute then they have succeeded.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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