The photographer's life dilemma

posted by Jeff | Sunday, April 27, 2014, 11:27 PM | comments: 0

At the last few concerts I've been to (I guess they were both to see Garbage... I need to go to more shows), I was struck by how many people are holding their phones overhead and taking pictures or shooting video. Yeah, I bust out the obligatory "I was here" shot, but it's kind of weird that people aren't just soaking in the moment. You know, like we did before digital cameras.

But even then, if you were into photography, and I have been since I was a teenager, it's pretty easy to get the bug of recording moments, whether they're your own or not. You might even start thinking of it as art, at which point you look for ways to creatively compose and expose the images you're trying to create. I'm pretty good at it, but I have to admit that I've also gotten kind of lazy in the process. I don't know how many thousands of photos I have of Simon at this point, but since moving to Orlando, I'm not taking nearly as many. We haven't really had a "photo shoot" in some time.

While my phone has a pretty good camera (it's a Nokia Lumia 920), there's no question that there's a lot more flexibility when I have one of my "big" cameras. Sure, all of that glass gets heavy, and you can't put it in your pocket, but there's little question that there aren't many constraints to getting the image that you want. My issue is that, even as adept as I am at shooting under any conditions, my inner journalist gets into a mode of finding those moments at all costs, even if it means not really enjoying myself and participating in those moments.

That's the dilemma I struggle with now. On the first cruise we did, last year, I just had my little pocket Canon, and I ended up with some really fantastic photos, some of which probably need to be framed. For the cruise we did earlier this year, I decided to bring one of the SLR's, with just one lens, and I don't feel like I got anything particularly interesting. My reasoning is that I think I was too busy being there, instead of being a photographer.

Capturing life has become an acceptably low-fi affair in recent years with camera phones. The truth is, people seem content enough with a blurry, grainy and visually shitty image. These tend to be "good enough for Facebook." When I compare what I capture these days, often with the phone, it's not as "quality" as it was even back in the day when I was shooting on film. You just don't need to take much care these days to get something adequate.

I have nice tools, and I enjoy the process of photography. I want to spend more time thinking about it. I'm just not sure I want to miss what's going on in front of me, if that makes sense.


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