Coming back from New Zealand last night had me sitting in the Sydney airport for 2 hours waiting for my connecting flight. Naturally I decided the best place to wait was the bar so I settled in thinking I might do a little reading to pass the time. A couple of gents who had been on my flight and were also awaiting their connections invited me to join their table and what could have been a dull couple of hours was pleasurably spent chatting diving (one fellow was an underwater photography enthusiast) and photography.
Paul had an ipad and pulled up some of his images to show me what sort of things he shoots so I reciprocated and introduced him to my blog. Now this is where this little post may turn into a small “rant”. Upon viewing my photos he made 2 comments that in themselves I guess were innocuous, but for me were like a red rag to a bull. So what did he say?…. Oh you must have a good camera and you must be good at photoshop.
For non-photographers these 2 statements may seem harmless enough but to a photographer who has just spent 8 days taking images I am quite proud of it seemed that all of my calculating best camera settings, stalking the nicest light and finding pleasing compositions amounted to nothing more than dollars invested in gear and photoshop skills that could turn a sows ear into a silk purse.
It is like walking up to a chef and saying “thanks for a great meal, you must have a great oven and some nice recipe books”. For the record, yes I do have a ‘good’ camera but I actually know how to use it (the gent was busy explaining to me that he couldn’t see the point in learning anything about photography because sensors were so good these days they just knew what to do) but my photoshop skills pretty much consist of putting borders on my images. Yes, I do use some software (Lightroom 4 for those that are interested) but the base images are pretty close to the final product, a few tweaks to get the image to look the way it felt when I was there.
So, rant over … I realise the words that my fellow passenger offered were meant as compliments in some backhanded way but non-photographers beware. Suggesting that the reason someones images are pleasing is due to them owning a ‘good’ camera or that they are skilled photoshop manipulators may not be the most appealing of compliments. For the record, it was still a very pleasant couple of hours and the gents were a genuine delight to spend a couple of hours withwhile waiting for a plane, and Pauls underwater shots were actually really good (I guess further proof that it is vision not gear that makes good images).
This was the image that caused the most comment. It seemed amazing that I managed to get the background grey. Not really, all I did was spend 5 minutes picking up anything bright and distracting so that all I had left was grey decaying leaf litter. It’s called ‘gardening’ according to Jackie and Mike (the photo gurus who ran the autumn workshop).