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Don’t Talk Cameras. Use them.

Vernak camera made in Birmingham.

I saw a small piece recently that had a clip by Hunter S. Thompson on focusing too much on the “technicals of photography”. You can read it for yourself here…

But this is the element which chimed with me…

“When photography gets so technical as to intimidate people, the element of simple enjoyment is bound to suffer. Any man who can see what he wants to get on film will usually find some way to get it; and a man who thinks his equipment is going to see for him is not going to get much of anything”

I’m probably going to upset colleagues when I say…

“Don’t talk cameras. Use them”.

I admit to once being beguiled by the  equipment. Still, today, I collect cameras – of all types. I have dozens but I’m not really interested in them photographically. I just like old cameras. I shall be putting a few up on this blog from time to time just to share my obsession and to show, by comparison, I suppose, where we have come from and how we got here. I digress…

Photographically I have 2 cameras I take out with me. 2 German digital cameras. That’s it.

Both of my cameras are black. Utterly so. I tape over everything I can which isn’t black. I’m not interested in logos.  I try to be as unobtrusive as I can be when I shoot. I’m happy if I am not seen at all – except when taking a portrait of course.

Neither camera is an SLR – I sold all of my SLR gear last year after lugging it around the far east. Too heavy. Both cameras are  mirrorless and digital.  Film is of little interest to me;  any more than driving a noisy, smelly, oily vintage car would be.  Stylish yes.  Nostalgic, definitely and I appreciate both those elements – and much as I enjoyed nights in the darkroom… we’ve moved on.

It’s not about what you use to capture what you see. It’s about being able to capture what you see when you see it. And that’s about the long and short of it. The image content is the thing. The camera is only incidental to that and the image content will not be improved by using film either. It’s just an affectation. Afterall, you’re probably going to scan the negative anyway.

And if you want to talk cameras join a photographic club. There will be plenty there who will be delighted to engage with you.

Remember…  Don’t talk cameras.  Use them.

And as they say in wrestling circles… Seconds away.

Peter Barton.

Practicing photography; still trying to make a decent fist of it.

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