Today i read a thought provoking article discussing the ubiquity of images and its affect on our memory. There are many interesting points and it is well worth a read.
The writer concludes the article with the following:
Do we need to a particular camera to foster a particular way of image making?
There is no doubt it makes it easier to do so. The majority of photographers defend and establish their way of working through equipment choice. Perhaps this is the yoke of the technical image maker, as technology will always inherently define the aesthetic of the final image.
From Niepces to Muybridge, photographers have been limited to what and how they photograph. The decision maker in this process has however changed from that of technology to photographer. Photographers consciously choose to limit themselves with the technology they use. Another past defence of equipment choice was aesthetic and technical quality of images produced. This has also shifted; in the digital age tangible aesthetics and technical qualities (i.e. resolution, colour) are often either nuanced or unnecessary or easily reproduced. Photographers are no longer making the camera choice for the tangible aesthetic but for an intangible way of working.
This way of working is eluded to in the quote from the article. Photographers talk about using a camera to 'slow them down'. From an non photographic viewpoint this may seem nonsensical. Can we not simply slow down our way of working or turn off the screen on the camera.
I will admit that like many of my fellow photographers, I enjoy the limitations that come with using different cameras; whether it be an iPhone or a 4x5" camera. But is this necessary, surely ways of working should come from a mindset, not from putting on a different technological hat. What would our photographic ancestors think: those frustrated and limited by technology. Would they be aghast at our extravagance, or charmed by our recognition of interface between man and machine in the photographic process.