The Greatest Tool - is it in Front or Behind?! - Photoshots - the web folio of Tony Stewart.

The Greatest Tool – is it in Front or Behind?!

If you know what I mean! I think Jenna Martin has a tremendous blog post here.

A classic refrain in photography is “What great photos – you must have a nice camera”. Amongst working photographers this always causes a bit of a chuckle. (Actually, an awkward cringe!). The classic reply is “Would you go to a chef after a nice meal, and complement him / her on their nice pots?”. Most people get it then I think. It isn’t the gear that makes the photo. The camera is merely the mechanical tool that takes the photo. Its the 15cm behind the camera that really counts.

As consumers become more tech savvy, and high quality camera kit becomes more affordable for mass consumption, it can be easy to forget the skill required to pre-visualise a successful image. The art of ‘seeing’ if you like. Add to that, awareness of lighting, personal skills interacting with subjects, … and you can probably understand what I mean.

“ You don’t take a photograph, you make it. – Ansel Adams

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” Edward Steichen

Interesting, if you look at trends in photography, you see how masters of photography now using iPhones to great effect. Take the work of New Zealand’s John Crawford for example. The camera is just the tool. In the hands of a beginner, it just takes snapshots. With care and awareness, it is a powerful piece of kit.