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Photography is not only a matter of cameras

Usually interactions with people help me to get subjects for my blog posts. One of them is the photographic equipment. When you "shoot" in an event, people grab you and ask you many questions about your photographic gear. The most regular question or should I say statement: "You have good equipment, you must take amazing pictures". At first, I was unsettled by this kind of question. Trying to explain that a tool is just a tool and you need an eye to take pictures. But my argumentation is usually vain and people still think a tool alone makes great pictures.

My strategy changed over time. Now, I give my camera and tell them: "Now, do some amazing pictures!". And you know what happen? I don't remember to have seen an amazing picture. Just a lot of statements like "Where is the automatic mode?" or "Where is the zoom?" or the best of the best "It's too difficult".

Alex and Bob

Kodak Portra 400, Hasselblad, self-portrait on flickr

Technique is just technique. We don't really ask to a writer which model of pencil used for his/her last novel. It seems in photography, it's quite different because the tool used seems to be more omnipresent. But this perpective is wrong, the tool is just a support for the expression. Just like the theater scene is a medium of expression for the artist.

You might see a paradox by explaining the film, the camera or the focal used for the pictures in my blog post. As the blog targets people who do photography, this is a kind of sharing experience with my peers. Among peers, we share good (and bad) practices and techniques.

To take and share pictures with your public, it's not a matter of techniques. It's just a matter of sharing feelings with the public. Maybe the best to express this, was Léo Ferré who wrote a letter to the belgian photographer Hubert Grooteclaes.

"Votre appareil à vous est dans votre poésie. Vous êtes un artiste et les techniques que vous employez restent un moyen de s'exprimer alors que dans d'autres mains, trop souvent, elles ont la pâleur de l'artifice et l'incroyable démangeaison des conquêtes publicitaires." -- Léo FERRÉ in a letter to Hubert Grooteclaes