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On #Creativity: How #Expensive is Your #Camera?

Before you #invest in #photography, buy a #toy.

I am not a professional photographer. Let’s start by being transparent, OK?

However, for about five years, I worked at a legendary photofinishing store (Fox Photo).  You learn a lot (or did in the day) by looking at hundreds of thousands of customer’s pictures.  Oh, yeah, we looked.  Good shots and a ton of really, really bad shots.  No invasion of privacy here (snicker) because we needed to insure high quality processing of your precious memories.  After all , we were professional picture development specialists. Kind of like ‘this phone conversation is being recorded for quality purposes.’

But I digress.

The price of a camera is irrelevant in artistic, quality photography.  It is all about “The Eye.”  And you cannot buy the eye.  Period.

You can develop and refine your eye, but you cannot buy it.  I used to love this one guy who would come into the shop with a big leather bag, whip out his Hasselblad and toss five rolls of film on the counter for developing.  His shots were mediocre at best.  He loved flaunting thousands of dollars of hardware, but he could hardly shoot a child’s birthday party.

Matt Larson, an photo artist using little plastic toy cameras, proves that you don’t need a Nikon or Leica.  His Facebook page is popular and he tours the country in a custom rolling gallery in an Airstream trailer with his delightful and highly talented wife, Becky.  With simple Holga cameras and homemade pinhole cameras, he transform light into art.  

Buy a cheap, toy film camera.  The economics of buying film and processing prints will force you to spend more time and energy framing, considering foreground/background, light source, shadow, and subject placement/movement/focus.  Digital cameras are wonderful, but the casual nature of turn it on, shoot it, delete, delete, delete, keep one, turn it off.  You don’t learn much when there is no economic penalty to being cavalier with your eye.

A cheap plastic camera and $100 in photo finishing costs will truly be an education worth the investment.  The difference between priceless and worthless is a very thin line.

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