One of the best things that the guys at our site thedigitalcamera.net have done is the “What Do You Have In Your Backpack?” section. The most recent episode starring Sergi Camera should be taught in photography schools.
It exposes that the camera does not make the photographer. In other words: neither having a vast array of f2.8 lenses nor wielding a 6000-dollars camera guarantees quality pictures. And there’s more: as the Spanish photojournalist suggests, there are times that carrying a professional camera may even be detrimental to the picture’s quality.
Photographers are kind of weird. No one would use a racecar to drive to their job, yet we photographers strive to use the latest and most expensive equipment whatever the circumstances. Landscapes? A plate of food ? A portrait? Whatever. The point is feeling powerful. As Fernando Roi, a photographer, once said "you have to get horny taking pictures”.
When the DSLR fever began, we were told that a professional camera was the one that offered you a good image quality under any circumstance. And that is true. Clearly, to make certain photographs, it is necessary to have a fast and accurate focus or a camera that can get things done even in dim light. But that does not mean we should always use the most expensive stuff we can get our hands on, and it certainly does not mean that using low-end or cheaper stuff makes us bad photographers.
There’s a tool for every time and place. We tend to judge based on the looks. Think of any meeting or event: the photographers who carry the more expensive equipment attract more looks and get the most praise.
We have to understand that sharpness isn’t everything. We hardly accept that it is much easier to shoot random people in the street with a compact camera than with a monstrous and expensive SLR. We struggle to understand that using a simpler camera is better for quick and casual pictures. We refuse to accept that on many occasions it is preferable to sacrifice some quality.
Photographers are open-minded at galleries and events, but when push comes to shove we’re all traditional-minded. Using a camera phone for a trip? Sure, why not! But not my trip, as I take my arsenal of lenses with me.
What do most photographers have inside their backpacks? Some use what they can, others what they want, but the sad thing is that some of those who have freedom of choice choose without thinking sometimes.
Have you ever been too tired to take a picture because of your bulky and heavy backpack? Have you ever felt wary of entering somewhere because you were afraid of your expensive equipment being stolen?
It may sound obvious, but it is worth remembering that being a photographer only means one thing: taking pictures.