my penis is shrinking

ronbailey:

New gadgets often bring new capabilities, and new capabilities can indeed allow a creative person to take his or her art off into an unforeseen direction.  To make an extreme analogy, we might not have had Ansel Adams landscapes if we hadn’t gotten around to inventing the camera.

Having said that, I agree that new gadgets are meaningless if you don’t have some bit of vision.  Buying a new 5D MkII won’t suddenly turn you into Dorothea Lange or Alfred Eisenstaad if you don’t have the gumption to explore your limits. But that 5D MkII may indeed help a talented photographer stretch out into new areas he hadn’t considered exploring with his 6 year old Sony DSC-H1.

Then again, I may just be justifying again.  If so, feel free to ignore me.

{ Disclaimer: I’m not a “technician” like many (most?) of the reviewers on Flickr. I don’t look at a photo and talk about chromatic aberration and barrel distortion or a tiny blown highlight or what have you. I look at a photo and think “Does this move me? Is this pleasing to look at?” }

I have to lean towards Ron’s take on this.

You can hand a broken Holga and a roll of expired drugstore film to a great photographer, and you’re likely to get some great pieces of art.

Likewise, you can hand the newest piece of $5000 digital Japanese wizardry to a bad photographer, and get extremely sharp and technically perfect yet extremely boring results.

The gear is just a conduit for the art, not a requirement.

That being said, there are times when an experienced creative person (photog, illustrator, sculptor, writer…) knows exactly what the limitations of their tools are, and requires a new “gadget” to accomplish something very specific that they cannot express with the tools at hand.

Earlier this year I bought a 5D MkII and my first piece of L-series glass. Not because I lusted for them or needed them just to “have”. But because the body and crappy Sigma lens I’d been using previously had run their course; I knew exactly what I could do with them, but more importantly, what I couldn’t do with them. My digital work was getting boring and trite, and I needed a new tool to grow into. Shooting with a better kit immediately showed me where my weaknesses were, simply by being too good a tool for the talent that I had.

Sometimes a new gadget helps you not by making you better, but by shining a light on how you can improve as an artist. And for a creative person, that’s always a good reason to plunk down a few more dollars.

posted 4/14/09 at 9:59am to Uncategorized · 0 replies · »

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