'Cameras have attitudes' - David Bailey


'Cameras have attitudes' Wonderful quote from the David Bailey interview I posted yesterday. And I guess that can be seen as shorthand for cameras give us attitudes. So, true to form, Bailey has succinctly summed up our relationship, as photographers, to our cameras in three words, which is typical of the man.

And the more I think about it, the more true it becomes. I certainly think in a different way if I'm taking out the A7 with Sigma 20mm f/1.8 lens attached to it pictured above, rigged up for video, than I do if I take out the GM1 dwarfed below it. I could even say that I'm looking for different kinds of pictures and I most certainly see myself in a different light. And I fully expect the people I pass to see me in a different light as well. So are the cameras we use an extension of our photographic personality, or are they in fact shaping that photographic personality?

Bailey says that he equates using a 10x8 camera as being in a Cathedral, 35mm as being in a nightclub. It got me thinking as to what 'attitudes' the various cameras I've used have and what I feel when I'm using them.

DSLR's AND CSC's WITH BATTERY GRIPS AND HUGE LENSES.


Using a camera like this (and it doesn't have to be a DSLR, just look like one!) certainly has a totally different feel to using a very small compact camera. They imply solid, ready to do the job. 'Get out my way, I'm here to shoot pictures.'

'Keywords'

Professional, Sturdy, Reliable, Fast, Efficient, Solid, Control, Reputation, Fee, Job, Commercial, Client, Zooms.

Where and how I would imagine using them

Weddings, Events, Studios, Portraits, Commissions, Shooting that Vogue cover.

How I actually use them

Wandering around shooting stock photography.

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RANGEFINDERS AND PSEUDO RANGEFINDERS



These cameras imply a sense of history, an appreciation of the long tradition of social documentary and reportage. And yes, the fact that you can afford them.


'Keywords'

Classy, Expensive, History, Street Photography, Photo-Journalism, Prime lenses, Manual Focus, Metal, Chrome.

Where and how I would imagine using them.

The streets of Paris.

How I actually use them

Wandering around shooting stock photography.

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SMALL COMPACT STYLE CAMERAS.



These are cameras for those with busy fun lives, who document their exciting encounters as they make their way through an endless stream of sex, drugs and rock and roll. Tripods, camera bags and heavy camera bodies are not for these hipsters. For people whose clothes go out of fashion every time they cross the street.


'Keywords'

Young, Fun, Modern, Fast, Instant, Social Networking, Fresh, Exciting,

Where and how I would imagine using them.

When I'm out clubbing, On holiday in Ibiza, Getting down with the kids, Party Time, Selfies.

How I actually use them

Wandering around shooting stock photography.

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OK. A bit of fun. But you get the idea. David Bailey is right however when he implies that different gear creates different mindsets. And like musicians and their instruments these are our tools for expressing ourselves. And the notion that we feel the same if we are using a Canon IDX or an Olympus Stylus 1 is plainly ridiculous. How could we?

And for those of us who own more than one camera and indeed more than one kind of camera, we all know that what we use impacts on our photographic personality when we are out using the various alternatives we own. And if that improves our creativity and leads us to explore different options and challenge ourselves, then that is no bad thing. Assuming that the option we select gives us the quality we need, then it's stimulating to try something different. I've shot 'Street Photography' with a big DSLR and huge zoom lens, landscape with a tiny compact and family get togethers with an expensive rangefinder. And why not?

David Bailey is famous for apparently deciding which kind of camera to use on an assignment almost on a whim. A 'What will inspire me today' approach. I remember him shooting a Pirelli calendar on a 35mm film camera with a huge great telephoto lens. Not what would immediately spring to mind. 

So the gear we use isn't the sole reason for our existence as photographers, but it does impact on us, and we'd have to be robots for it not to. Because ultimately it's what we create with this stuff that's important and our audience sees only our pictures and not what we created them on. But just like it's important to Eric Clapton what guitar he picks up to play a solo with, it's important to us what we choose to create our images with. And while cameras and lenses don't have souls and personalities, they certainly have character and if they nudge us in certain directions then there's nothing wrong with that. In fact it's something we should embrace surely rather than avoid. 

Why not share your camera 'attitudes' in the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group.

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Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 

Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  


N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.


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