Here’s Why I’m Just a Photographer

by | Jul 26, 2021

Today’s thoughts by Joe Farace

“A technically perfect photograph can be the world’s most boring picture.”—Andreas Feininger

There are all kinds of photographers out there in the world and I’m not just talking about portrait shooters, landscape photographers or astrophotographers. All of these genres also include (at least) four major categories of photographers that I’m about to describe. So lets get started:

Pixel Peepers: A photographer/friend once showed me a portrait that he made of a strikingly beautiful model and proudly told me, “look how sharp her eyelashes are.” I guess they were sharp but the expression on her face said, “when is this session ever going to be over?” I’ll confess to shooting pictures of brick walls but, here’s the important part, only when writing a lens review. When it comes to lenses or even cameras that get used for my personal photography I just shoot’em and use’em. Ditto for DxO sensor scores; I never look at them for myself.

Let me tell you something else: The best hands-down, all-world best mirrorless camera that I ever tested was the Samsung NX1. When I looked at the images on my 5K iMac’s screen I was blown away by their stunning visual quality; it was better than anything that I’ve ever or since used. But Samsung didn’t get the memo about camera size for mirrorless cameras and the NX1 is as gone as quickly as the Nimslo.

How I made this photo: It was shot with a Nikon 28ti film camera using it’s panorama mode. While smarter photographers than me have said, “The most useless feature of the camera is the panorama mode,” I loved it and photographed this historic home in Georgetown, Colorado using it. Exposure and film type unrecorded, I traded this camera for a Contax G1, and while I loved the Nikon, I miss the Contax more.

Camera Collectors: Speaking of Contax, there is no doubt that some people admire the elegance and construction of the hardware, seldom take pictures but care if the camera is the latest or “the best.” I once wrote in Shutterbug back back when it was a real magazine, “if carpenters could hang a belt sander around their neck, they might not treat it as the tool it is” but that’s not they way it works out here in the real world. But lets face it, we’re all camera collectors to some extent.

I currently own a Leica M6 TTL, Zeiss SW, Seagull TLR, Minolta Prod 20 and Hasselblad XPan, none of which I would part with after going digital, even though I seldom use any of these beautiful cameras—although that is about to change. But it’s called, photography not cameratography and it’s all about making photos and not just collecting beautiful mechanical and optical Objet d’art. Although I think that’s no excuse for making ugly-looking cameras.

Happy Snappers:  We are all snapshooters to some extent. I’m not talking about using cell phones to make selfies but shooting pictures, like I and everybody else does of birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. And for some people, like my friend Renee, it’s all they use their camera for and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s one of a camera’s best uses and something that makes photography the universal language. Selfies, excepted, I think.

Photographers: I suspect there’s a bunch of people, much like me that just enjoy making photographs. Yes, we love cameras and lenses, although as tools not as objects of worship and make pictures of birthdays and anniversaries but also try to make images that are technically and aesthetically pleasing.

There are probably more different kinds of picture takers out there and if you can think of any—or you are one—please click that ole Contact button and tell me what you think. Or maybe you’re just a photographer yourself and want to talk about what you kind of images you like to make. Either way, I’d love to hear about that too. Best replies win a small prize.

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