Why the Camera is Secondary When Creating an Artistic Photograph
Today, cameras are progressing in sophistication and efficiency. Many photographers immediately jump onto the bandwagon of the latest innovations thinking that their photographs will stand out as higher quality. This is a huge mistake because it is not the camera itself that determines quality, but the artist’s creative and artistic sensitivity.
My Personal Case
For several years, my professional activity has primarily revolved around photography. My main source of income is artistic photography. My photographic work, constructed with digital sensors of a definition of 10-megapixels (using the Nikon D200), are available on the online market. I have also photographed using cameras with definitions of 12-megapixels (Nikon D700 and Nikon D3S). Today, I use 16-megapixel cameras (Nikon D4S) as well as 45-megapixel cameras (Nikon D850).
Regardless of variety, my works made with 10-megapixel sensors have the same value as those made with my current gear, if not more.
If I have changed my equipment in the last 15 years, it is only because some cameras broke down and the value of the parts were more than 50% of the cost of a new one. Or, I needed new features to accomplish new feats, such as tracking fast subjects for wildlife photography.
I have never bought a camera because it was new or because it was the trend. I am pragmatic photographer and I quickly realized that technology should be used wisely and sparingly.
For me, the purchase of a new camera is justified only if it allows me to make photos that I cannot create with my current equipment. All other arguments for purchasing new pieces are worthless.
Many photographers fall under the spell of camera builders who have only one desire: to adopt the newest camera each year. I understand this business logic very well, but I must act as responsible consumer. Why use energy and natural resources to build new devices add nothing to the creative value, save for being “new”?
As photographer specializing in nature photography, I am vigilant in the way I buy my cameras, my lenses, and the papers I use for my art prints. Just as in my daily lives, I must act responsibly as human beings. I must never forget that the land does not belong to me. I am e depository.
The Artistic Approach is Key
During all these years, I have found that it is my artistic approach that takes precedence. When a collector buys one of my works, he never asks which camera I used. No buyer has ever asked us which sensor definition was used.
Consumers, collectors, are primarily focused upon the connection that flows between themselves and the art work. No one ever purchases a piece because of the equipment the artist used.
I find myself repeating that the essential thing for an art print is the messages and emotions carried from the art to the viewer.
Messages are Essential
As I often point out, a photograph only exists when it is printed onto paper, so that it might be mounted on a wall or placed in a book. It is at this precise moment that one can really discover and understand the photographer's creativity and the meaning he wished to transcribe into the photograph. It is the print on paper which carries value to the artistic approach of the author.
The photographic equipment used is secondary. The essential points are the messages transmitted. The race for pixels or ISO is a fantasy. The true artistic photographer knows that his camera is just a tool to convey what he has to say. No more, no less. A box is only the communication vector of the photographer.
An Artistic Photographer is Defined by His Vision
For us, an artistic photographer remarkably stands out by his clear and well-defined artistic approach. He is deemed remarkable by the meanings he conveys through his creative approach.
I do not care about the materials he uses.
I meet many photographers who think they can make artistic photographs because they have accomplished the use of quiet simplicity, or the balance of light, or because they respect and implement a certain number of technical criteria. I think that it is a big mistake because when you look at their printed pictures, you only see images that have been made by other photographers. These are just repetitions, without an individual soul, causing me to be insensitive. It's déjà vu. However, the creators perceive true artistic accomplishment, even though it is the same image over and over. Unfortunately for me, most of the pictures I encounter each day are just copies.
Certainly, giving a precise definition of art is difficult. I have strived to accomplish it before in this article.
Art is one of the great mysteries of humanity. Human beings have created a concept of art, but defining it is a challenge. There are as many definitions of art as there are artists.
The simplest way to describe it is to say that an artistic form can be defined as a means of conveying messages or emotions from the author to the viewer.
As I wrote in this article, I chose photography to express myself, to reveal my states of mind, to share my emotions, and to convey messages.
I have always wanted to leave a trace of my passage on earth. Before becoming professional photographer, I worked in very creative professions, but technology caused my creations to be obsolete after 2 or 3 years.
An Artistic Photographer is not Measured by 'Likes'
Artistic photography cannot be defined by sales records or annual turnover. The quality of an artist photographer cannot be defined by the number of 'likes' of a social network or the number of followers.
An artistic photographer primarily chooses to use a camera to translate emotions and stories. He could have chosen writing, painting, music or some other artistic form, but he chose the camera as the primary accessory.
Artistic photography is not a better form of art than other medium, rather, it is just special.
Media is not an end, but a path to creative production.
If a person decides to use photography to express herself artistically, they must remove techniques and materials as the primary focus. They must remember that their sole purpose is to convey messages.
I believe that an artistic photographer should not talk about photography, but rather actively show how this translation occurs.
Art is not only the production, but also the expression. This expression is the translation of an author's state of mind.
A camera is only an accessory for an artistic photographer. Only focusing on the advanced features of new models should not be an end. Technology has no limits. There will always be new features available that will tantalize the fans of new trends. Unfortunately, this is only marketing that is cleverly organized and maintained by major camera brands.
An artistic photographer must never forget to express himself, to transmit messages and passion. Technical motivations are secondary.
Be humble, patient, constant, persevering, and persistent because the road to excellence is long.