Monday, November 10, 2008

technical smechnical


Mark made a good comment on an earlier post:

It is so much simpler to compare and contrast feature sets between cameras or software. Or to discuss technical issues regarding any photograph. But it is always so much more difficult to discuss the less subjective measurements of photography and maybe that is why we gravitate to the objective ones.

This is demonstrably true. Many of the well known names in photography make their living teaching the technical aspects and mostly ignoring the more interesting but harder to express subjective aspects of creativity and photography. I've only found a few rare individuals interested in talking about the harder to grapple with concepts of the why of photography, rather than the how. Freeman Patterson always touches on this in his books. Craig Tanner often teaches this in person and occasionally in his podcasts. If you are aware of other good resources or teachers that focus less on the technical and explore the more subjective aspects of photography, I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

I think it is rare, not just because it is subjective, but because it is difficult. You have to be willing to expose yourself to harsh comments and opinions on things you actually care about. Few people care too much on a disagreement about sharpening techniques or how to adjust exposure. There are well worn and understood standard approaches to composition and basics of visual language that are mostly accepted and agreed upon. White balance and aperture priority are fixed concepts, not really open to much debate. But try to talk about what matters and people will explain to you in detail and at length why your world view is wrong and doesn't match theirs. It takes a certain personality to want to share and keep sharing in the face of that, even when the rewards might be so much greater, in actually connecting with people.


Paul said...

I remember at one of the workshops with Craig where he talked about actual "hate" mail that he got. People were telling him that he was wrong about his spiritual beliefs and that it had no place in photography, etc. They wanted him to talk more about technical aspects of the shot ... of how he achieved it, as if spewing forth f/stops and shutter speeds ever made for a good picture.

Yes, it is easier to talk of the technical.