Are you creating art,
or just buying more toys?
Are you all about what you create, or all about your tools?
Artists are all about what we create. We couldn't care less what tools we or someone else used to create something; we're concerned with the art itself. Artists are all about vision: the ability to see something that hasn't been created yet.
We don't care about the process; the final art is all that matters.
Sure, if we see something really cool we might ask another artist how he got that effect, but we don't spend much of our time blabbing about tools or techniques when we could be making more art, or exchanging ideas instead.
Poke fun of our tools, and who cares? We take it as a compliment — and it marks you as an idiot. As artists, we force whatever tools we have at our disposal to create what we demand: to take what's in our mind's eye and fix it in tangible form.
To an artist, his work is him. His work is his vision realized. He is his work. His art is his own soul. His art is important, while the tools are irrelevant.
Artists are consummate technicians, possessing virtuosic ability to make our tools do exactly what we need then to do — but the tools are just an enabler; never the end result.
If you poke fun of my camera, I take it as a compliment because it means I'm able to work around bigger roadblocks than the next sap to get the results I want. When my kids ask me to fetch a piece of paper, scissors and a red crayon, they certainly would give me a funny look if I said they had a good or a crappy crayon. Who cares when what's important is making a red heart for Mama from scratch? The end result matters, the methods don't.
Technicians, on the other hand, are all about their tools. Poke fun of a technician's tools or how he uses them, and he'll take it personally. To a technician, he is his tools. His tools are a physical extension of his body, so say something good or bad about his camera, and he takes it personally.
This distinction dawned on me one morning when I reflected on how my four-year-old is already an artist, not wanting any of us to see any of her pieces before they are complete. She couldn't care less about what brand of marker she's using, but she sure cares about the integrity of her vision before it's realized in the final work.
Most of the people reading this website, and writing other websites, are computer technicians. That's OK, but never confuse a technician with an artist. Technicians are just about the tools, while artists are about we we can create with them.
I finally realized that this is the explanation behind why some people take it personally when I poke fun of a camera or piece of photo gear. Unless you're they guy who designed it, if it's something you merely bought instead of created yourself, who cares? Technicians do, but not artists.
What makes a good tool to a technician (shadow noise, resolution, blah blah blah) is entirely different than what makes a good tool to the artist who actually sees and uses it as intended to create. We're more concerned if a camera or film renders colors as we want it rendered, and how well the camera gets out of our way so we can concentrate on our image, instead of having to concentrate on jockeying around a camera.
It's never about numbers or specifications. It's only about how well something actually works, and how the images look to the skilled eye. Any idiot can run controlled tests in a lab (and they sure do), but that doesn't tell us anything about how good the images look.
I write this site to help other artists by sharing what I've learned to save us all time in selecting and using the right tools so we can get down to business. It's never about what's the best camera, it's about what camera makes it the easiest and fastest to create what we need to create. Artists like to make things; we could care less about buying more cameras. I can't help it if technicians run amok on the Internet researching more toys to buy solely for the sake of telling everyone about it, as if buying a CX Swiss Military Watch rated to 20,000 feet will make you some sort of superman; no one can dive that deep without a submarine (in which case any watch works), so who cares if your fancy watch can dive that deep on its own?
Show me your art, not your toys. I don't care what car or gun or camera you have; show me the races you've won, your targets with the "10" shot out or the one-man exhibitions you've hung.
> B...but this is art! An expression of my inner self! Something very subjective that *can't* be called "shit"?
- Artfag's excuse for making just piss poor photos.
With sufficient marketing BS layered on top, you can maybe find a sucker or two that buys your work, but most people aren't interested.
> Product photography
> Professional sports photography
> Documentary and journalism photography
Mostly just needs a shot "as is", there is extremely little need for art (of course you can do stuff in post to an advertisement or do some shadows with your light modifiers, but overall, it's really just as-is).
This is also the stuff that gets published most and bought most.
And then there is wedding photography, ID/passport portraits, and other things you also could get hired for - they also don't require an artist's input for shit.
Yea, the camera (& lighting and everything) is largely doing the work. This is just a realistic view on how it is.
Besides, if you just get the right gear in place and take the obvious shots, you are a technician rather than an artist by OP's definition. And that work is almost everything that sells or gets published, sorry.
>what if cameras are works of art?
>aren't gearfags just art collectors?!
Probably. The thing is they still want to be taken seriously as photographers.
If only they would ditch the pretence, come out the closet and embrace their obsession fully. They would find there are lots of other interesting things they could collect such as stamps, vintage modems and Star Wars Lego figures. They'd be much happier people
Youre still missing the point that regardless of your gear, YOU are the one choosing framing, lighting, timing etc. Your camera is only there to do what you are instructing it to do, like a paintbrush or a hammer.
I mean, he sort of has a point, sort of doesn't.
Arguing over the usefulness of 1-2 extra FPS, or "my AF is accurate 82% of the time and yours is only accurate 75%" of the time is stupid. Being a brandwhore and obsessing over camera gear is kind of obnoxious, though I don't mind it and unfortunately get caught up in it too sometimes.
But this whole "cameras are like paint brushes" argument doesn't wash well with me because they really aren't. The difference between camera A and camera B can be pretty substantial. Everything from the ergonomics to the image output, to the build quality and lenses of course. A painter doesn't need his brush to lock focus on a fast moving target in low light, and he doesn't need to make sure his brushes aren't distorting the image because he is constructing the image himself manually.
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Also, yeah, photographers are like technicians. So what? Photography was a scientific and technological breakthrough when it came about, and it's intrinsically tied to the rapidly evolving technology industry today. Even back in the film days, which people romanticize as being "organic", those chemicals used to process film and print images, along with the film itself, is tied to science and technology, as is the lenses used to capture images. It's not like you can just take a piece of glass, slap it in a tube and expect it to work like a proper lens.
Finally I don't see how being a photographer means you can't both be interested in camera equipment *and* be artistic and creative. This argument sounds similar to when people call themselves "natural light photographers", then go on to state that "artificial light ruins photography" or some shit. Nobody's impressed when you out yourself as being bad with studio lights or modifiers, nor are they impressed with your lack of technical camera knowledge. I mean, it's fine if you're not interested in artificial lights or camera gear, but you don't have to act like it makes you a better photographer, because it doesn't.
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>other interesting things they could collect such as stamps, vintage modems and Star Wars Lego figures
If you're gonna collect things with this much money, I sure as hell hope it ain't none of that
Why is being a "Technician" such a bad thing?
I don't consider myself a gearfag. I don't argue over specs or sensor performance or blow money on gear I don't need. I also don't consider myself an "artist", though; I'm just somebody who knows how to use a camera and lighting to create images that please my clients. I generally tell people that I consider my photography to be more like a skilled trade, something like welding, cabinetry, or machining, than "art."
Nothing is wrong with being a technician. The issue comes in when you think photography is about settings and specs, rather than content, and try to give critique as such, or expect people to care about your technically proficient but otherwise boring and empty photos.
>photography is about settings
Kind of is though, at least to the point that you need to know how to expose an image to get your desired result
>rather than content
I think it's up to the individual photographer to decide what to photograph. Unless they do it for pay, it seems to make the most sense to photograph what interests them, and photograph it the best way they can, rather than trying so hard to please other people and fit their others' definition of "interesting"
I only say this because when people refer to 'content', they're *usually* leaning in that direction of "content...that I personally find attractive".
>technically proficient but otherwise boring and empty photos
See above. Different people find different things interesting. Different people have different reactions to the same thing, and different responses to the same bodies of work. In other words, it's all subjective, and so trying to find "interesting" things sounds nice when you say it but doesn't always have the desired result. For example, if somebody wants to photograph buildings/architecture, and I insist it's "boring and empty" and that they should photograph people instead, all I've really said is that I don't personally like the image's subject, but have effectively passed it off as if my opinion is somewhat of a fact. I see this all the time in critiques (not just /p/, not just online, but everywhere) and think it's a really toxic approach. Maybe that's not what you meant to imply, but those are my two cents.
You're injecting a lot of false arguments into that post.
Photography is not about settings in the same way that a phone call is not about buttons, and a house is not about nails and screws.
A photo being empty doesn't mean that it doesn't appeal to me personally. It means it has nothing to say, and nothing to offer ANY viewer.
For instance - >>2755493
When people say they want content, they mean there should be some clarity of vision. Something in the frame that caused the photographer to take the photo.
If you take a good, well framed shot of a building that obviously captures the architectural merits of the structure, nobody is going to say your photo has no content. If you look out the window of the bus, and snap a photo of 1/5 of a building from a terrible angle with boring light and nothing to look at, and try to claim "it's architecture!" you might get bit.
do the lights place themselves? Do the lights select their own modifiers and power levels? Do they select their own distances to take advantage of the inverse square law? How about your camera? Does it take care of framing, moment, and model direction all on its own? Do you have a fully autonomous studio in mind? I'd like to see it.
This is like claiming that in a painting, all the credit goes to the brush and the paint.
There is pretty much no artistry or creativity involved, though.
Almost literally all of this is trivial and purely technical.
And you're doing only the simplest shit, the camera hardware and software are the difficult part. Hell, even making a single output controllable LED or whatever module is a lot more complicated than whatever you're putting into a shoot.
> Do you have a fully autonomous studio in mind?
Uh, maybe a few dozen years down the road, when you can have capable robotic arms cheaper than unqualified workers with enough experience to put some lights up and press a button?
Right now this requires massive expense to set up and operate with far, far more qualified workers involved. These things are worth it perhaps for smartphones and computers... not for individual photo shoots.
>Almost literally all of this is trivial
I tried to laugh harder but then I died. You killed me with how stupid you are.
The light direction, quality, quantity, and the content of the photo, and when you capture it, are literally all that makes a photo. If you think that the camera algorithm is more important than subject interaction, there is no hope for you.
Artists, or whatever you want to call someone who creates a final/finished piece of work, uses tools to get the job done, without these tools the job cannot be finished and certain tools are required for different pieces of finished work. Calling someone a gearfag etc, doesn't make sense because different cameras are used for different purposes. That's like calling a painter a gearfag because of the types of paint brushes he/she uses, it doesn't make any sense
> You still need to put lights and point the camera lens at the object you need to shoot
No shit. It's still highly technical.
> subject interaction
Literally just a clean shot of any common and extraordinary feature for products.
And key / "extraordinary" moments for sports.
While image recognition software isn't ready for this yet (also 'cause nobody trained it for every relevant product or game), it *still* does not require an artist skills for shit.