One of the greatest joys in my life is photography. My camera, Alejandro, and I spend quality time together as often as possible; we bring out the best in each other, and almost never fight. And like any photographer, I have a style in my shots. My portraits show that style, and my nature shots do too, albeit in different ways. My sports work definitely shows it, and as I learn and develop as a photographer, I find that my style refines with me.
My amazing friend and fellow shutterbug, the Silent One, was pivotal in shoving me over that edge from “wanting it” to “doing it.” She and I are working on a business plan together, and we love to travel together with Lucille and Alejandro in tow. I have a friend from High School who now lives here, the Attorney, and she too, is a photographer. Like me, the Attorney really dove in after a period of profound grief, as a way to channel her pain into something creative and beautiful. Our losses were different, but they both steered us in similar directions.
Now, the Silent One and I both shoot Nikon, and the Attorney shoots Canon. I am not one of those ignoranuses (that’s when you’re both stupid and an asshole) who argues over which camera brand is better. They’re basically the same technology, but with some variances for personal taste. Canon has some aspects that are cooler, and so does Nikon. Whatever. But even above that, what really frosts my cookies is people who have the disposable income to purchase a top of the line camera, and suddenly morph into Supreme Camera God of the Universe.
The Attorney met a new friend in her neighborhood, and they discovered that they have a shared love of photography. Quite understandably, the Attorney was thrilled to meet someone with common interests in close proximity, as she really doesn’t know many people yet. This woman had the unmitigated gall to tell the Attorney that her Canon 50d is “eh, an ok camera at best” because she has a Mark 5D. She is apparently a portrait photographer with her own studio, her own business, and what does the Attorney do for her photos? The Attorney replied that she really doesn’t do a lot in the way of portraits, but is a nature photographer primarily. (She’s sold many of her shots to a greeting card maker, and some other venues.) The woman’s response? “Ugh. Um. OK, well that’s nice.” Now, the Attorney does do head shots of her son for his modeling portfolios, and has done some portraits for friends. The woman asked what the Attorney charges, was given the answer of, “very little. ” A, it’s a friend, and B, she is NOT a portrait photographer. She just isn’t as experienced in that. The woman went OFF. She lectured the Attorney on how people like her are the downfall of the business and she gives photography a bad rap.
For me, it would’ve been our last conversation. But of course, as a lawyer, the Attorney has spent years being schooled in how to see the other side, how to understand the other point of view. Plus, she’s really a nice person. So for whatever reason, the Attorney did not rip her face off and hand it back to her in a Ziploc bag.
Photography is all about the skill of the person behind the camera, and not a whole lot about the machinery itself. Now yes, yes, let’s not drag in the glaringly obvious contention that a high end DSLR has more power and capability than a cheapie point and shoot. But the fact remains that you can have the coolest camera out there and still take abysmal photographs. The Silent One works occasionally at a Best Buy teaching classes, and had a woman come in with her Nikon D3, ranting and raving about what a piece of crap it is. The Silent One calmed her, and said, “Ok, tell me the problem and we’ll work it out.” The woman hissed that her photos were off in color, and dark. So the Silent One asked thelogical next question, “What settings do you use when you shoot?” The woman had no clue. She didn’t know what “all of those dials and buttons do.” She didn’t know ISO from aperture, but expected the D3 to take perfect photographs because it’s the most expensive. “Isn’t it on auto?” *facepalm* People never cease to amaze, frustrate, and disgust me.
The Ambassador used to joke that if he won the lottery, he would buy me a D3. Know what I told him? Don’t waste your money. I don’t need it, don’t want it. You want to spoil your mom a bit with your winnings? Choose a lens that I covet instead. The D3 is too much camera for me. I’m not at that level, may never be at that level, and quite frankly, that’s fine with me. I’m not sure I could ever be convinced to give up Alejandro anyhow, no matter what. First loves and all that. But I do continue to learn every day, more and more about the hows, the whys, and the neat little tricks he can do with me. As my ability develops, so does our relationship. (Amazing how that works, no?)
To anyone who thinks that they’re automatically better than me simply because the price tag on their camera was higher than mine? Let’s go shooting sometime and see. I’ll take Alejandro against your price tag any day of the week.