Photographic Snobbery; by Mark Blezard
Updated: Jan 28
Your camera is not a fashion accessory!
When I started out in photography I wanted the biggest lens possible. A 500mm, no, a 1000mm. Problem was, I couldn't afford an expensive one, and I certainly didn't understand the importance of aperture or light-weight lenses.
Looking back, it was fortunate that I couldn't afford this lens because I finally understudied a true professional who took me under his wing. Here, I learned more about what kit was really important. My tutor was a great photographer, multiple winner of the Kodak Gold Award, and quite outspoken. When he saw an amateur with a camera supporting an 800mm, f16, made out of Russian tank metal and sticking out like a phallic object, he would frequently approach them and say, "You know that you can get that surgically removed now?"
Pretty quickly I started to understand lenses, how to read light, hold a camera, and the beauty of a wider lens vs telephoto. And so to the point of this blog, photographic snobbery. Just like a car-meet, too many photographers are concerned about who has what kit rather than what they can do with it.
Here's a short chronography of my photographic snobbery:
My first SLR, a Russian Zenith tank, I wanted a Canon
My first Canon, I wanted a ten-foot lens
Got a Canon A1, I wanted a Hasslebald
Digital photography came on to the scene, not 'true photography', you get to see the result on site. We 'film pros' have to trust our skill.
Photoshop, that's cheating!
Smart-phones. Now everyone is a pro – not!
Apps, rescuing poor photography.
Good to get that off my chest! So, what's my point? Over the years I've come to appreciate, and allow, photography to evolve. The basic principles of spotting an opportunity and light still apply, whether you hold a Box Brownie, Hassleblad, or iPhone 5. Here's three examples from my kit bag:
So, to wrap this up, the single most important point about being a photographer is the ability to spot the opportunity. Thereafter, understanding light and the right kit follows as a close second but will never beat the former.