There’s a line I hear photographers say all the time – the camera isn’t important, it’s just about the photograph. They say this line in the context of digital versus film photography. And, for me, it’s absolute rubbish. My connection to a photograph goes way beyond what a picture looks like as an aesthetic object. I’m not trying to make pretty pictures.
That saying is fine for somebody else, I guess. I just don’t like that phrase when it gets thrown around like a definitive truth – that all photographs are equal for all photographers regardless of context or connection. The reason photography retains social power is because it’s not at all just about the picture.
Photography is as many truths as there are photographers to make those pictures.
Photography is as much about the journey and the process as it is about the resulting artifact produced by using light to capture time and space.
Photography is, for me, just as much about a family connection from my maternal grandfather who was a professional large format studio photographer shooting glass plates through to my paternal grandmother who shot fifty years of amateur medium format film. These are not relationships of practice that I take lightly.
Photography is about the craft; the what, when, where, how and why that justify the making of something by my hand. My photography is about something that I haven’t properly defined yet; but it’s certainly greater than the artifacts.
So when somebody demeans my desire to shoot film as a photographic preference by saying it’s all about the final photograph, it’s annoying. If that’s the case, they should purchase a RED Camera and shoot everything as film to pull out a perfect digital frame. There, photography done. We can go home & drink wine.
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