Are you obsessed by the image quality of your photographs?
You are? Well it’s time you started to think a whole lot more about your pictures and a bit less about your pixels.
Some while ago I put on a photography exhibition for the people of Kirkcudbright. It was intended as a thank you to the town which has always been so welcoming to the photographers on my Photography Courses.
The idea was that I would show some of the photographs of local people and scenes I had taken while working alongside my students.
These pictures had, mostly, been taken on a little Canon Ixus camera. Why not a DSLR? Well, unlike many photographers who run photography courses, I always put my students first. It’s their tuition and coaching that matters most – not my pictures.
So although I always have a camera with me and I do take lots of pictures, I concentrate on teaching and helping the students gather great pictures. The result is that I have lots of ‘snaps’ of people and scenes on my little camera.
It was some of these ‘snaps’ that I exhibited. In the ‘Your Kirkcudbright’ exhibition.
A member of a local camera club took exception to this photograph which I snapped while working alongside a student on a Photography Course. He said the sheep weren't absoluetly pin sharp. The photograph has since sold to a book publisher to illustrate wide skies and freshness of Bonnie Galloway. Photograph by Philip Dunn
There are some 3500 people in Kirkcudbright. Over 2000 of them came to the exhibition and the response was so positive that I was persuaded to produce a book of the photographs ‘Your Kirkcudbright’ which is still selling.
Well, almost everyone who came to the exhibition was impressed, except two amateur photographers from a local camera club. After taking a look round they came over to me and one of them said:
"Hmph. You wouldn’t win any prizes in our camera club.”
This chap went on to explain that the quality of images produces for his club’s competitions was better than some of my photographs. He had been looking very closely.
If ever a man had completely missed the point, it was he. He was utterly without understanding.
TO HELL WITH THE PIXEL POLICE
Photography is not about the fineness of the quality of the image. Photography is about capturing a moment in time; it’s about capturing a feeling, it is about the emotion that can be conveyed in an image. It is about vision, composition, use of light, it’s about… no, you should come on a Photography Course and I will explain.
This man’s attitude is not unique – far too many photographers are obsessed by the camera gear they own – or aspire to own – and how it can manufacture and process an image.
Well, I say sod the Pixel Police – these photographers will always limit themselves and never advance to the stage where they can use a camera as a tool to describe their thoughts, feelings, and the way they see the world around them.
These photographers will always remain fettered and never liberated by their cameras.
No, I am not advocating poor quality images. I am saying that image quality is not the most important aspect of a picture.
An image is produced by a machine called a camera – a picture is created by a photographer who uses a camera.
Maybe the present fad of calling photographs images is partly to blame.
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