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by Genghis


Few do it. Many claim to realize its importance. Some aspire to attain it. I'm speaking of becoming one with the camera, so that the instrument ceases to be the focus of the photographer. If one achieves this, then the photographer becomes one with the photographic image. If a photographer becomes one with the image, then the camera for all artistic intents and purposes---ceases to exist in any meaningful way except as a conduit between the photographer's mind and the resulting photograph. The camera as a conduit, transforms itself in the photographer's consciousness, as merely the means to the end. The photographer's mind's eye visualizes a photographic composition, and then the implementation of technique with the camera achieves the goal while the photographer is on the front lines. The camera in this case, has no social importance. It merely functions as an extension of the photographer's mind and vision. Secondarily while the photographer is not shooting, the camera is of no importance. The camera's value as an costly asset does not exist. It no longer serves as a status symbol in any consumeristic fashion. The camera's role as a prop for ego-enhancement in peer pressure-driven environments, no longer interests the photographer---this is the ideal condition for the development of one's artistic skillset, as well as an absolute prequisite for advancing technically and aesthetically.

In today's digital age where advancements in camera technology extends itself by leaps and bounds, the temptation to be imprisoned in a vicious cycle of endless upgrading of equipment, has become the subconscious primary concern of many photographers. The megapixel race has not been kind to the development of aspiring photographers. A steady game of Keeping Up With The Joneses, is a trap for any photographer who seeks to excel in photography, no matter what genre the photographer chooses to specialize in. To escape this perpetual race, a photographer must settle on one camera and realize that it's "good enough." It's the photographic image that matters, pure and simple---not the camera. All would outwardly agree with this in principle, yet the lure of newer and more powerful equipment is like the siren call of heroin to an addict. Many realize their consumeristic addiction, but cannot admit to it easily.

Rationalizations abound for the addicted. When a photographer caught up in this rat race says..."But I need a better camera to make better pictures...", it is analogous to a smoker saying..."But it calms me down when I feel stressed, and besides, I enjoy smoking when I drink coffee..." The "Newest & Greatest Merry-Go-Round" is psychologically addictive, in fact. Any photographer who is stranded on this rotating island of self-delusion, soon finds himself mired in photographic mediocrity, with little chance of advancing his technique. Composition is forgotten. The alleged end result, the photograph, becomes a distraction from the true avocation of acquiring more and more equipment. Many would not admit this, but for them it is far easier to spend a few thousand bucks for a new camera every so often, than to improve one's photography. Improving technique and compositional skills is the more difficult road to travel, because it involves hard work and determination. All "upgrading" demands, is the availability of one's Gold Card.

There is only one component of the camera that a photographer should be obsessed with, and that is the film plane or digital sensor, for this is where the photographer's vision gels and leads to the production of the image. All else is of no importance. My advice is to choose one camera and one lens and use them exclusively and extensively. Then you will become one with the camera, making the camera diminish in importance, leading to becoming one with the photographic image. It is the image that is of paramount concern. Make the photograph the centerpiece of your life, not your equipment. If you make yourself believe the stated obvious, then you will follow-through and make yourself a better photographer. Later.