Peonies, iPhones and implementation details

How are peonies, iPhones and implementation details related?

The relationship between how a photo was made and the perception of the photo by those who view it is an interesting thing. Or, perhaps it is the perception of how it was made?

Peonies on a Lightbox © Harold Davis
Peonies on a Lightbox © Harold Davis

Like all professional photographers, I’ve had the experience of showing an image to someone and getting the response, “Oh, that’s great! You must have a good camera.”

Perhaps the person saying this doesn’t realize it is an insult. Or maybe they do. It also mistakes the tool used for the real work of the artist.

The other side of the coin is showing someone an iPhone image. They think it is great, until you tell them you made it with an iPhone. Then they dismiss the image.

People who know me, know my views on all this. There is an issue of using appropriate technology: if you are going to blow something up to mural size and have it be sharp, you need a decent size sensor, many megapixels, and a big file.

On the other hand, for many (probably most) uses, good enough technically is, well, good enough.

The key issue in photography is who the photographer is, how the photographer sees the world, and whether the photographer can create images that resonate and emotionally rock.

Nothing else matters. Period.

So next time, don’t ask what camera an image was made with. This like asking a painter what brush he used. Ask instead whether the photo moves you, and if so, why and how?

Considering the important things and not the implementation details will help you become a better viewer of photos, and—yes!—will also help you become a better image maker.

Peonies © Harold Davis
Peonies © Harold Davis

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