Photography doesn’t start with a camera

Cameras. We photographers are obsessed with cameras, aren’t we? I mean, after all, they’re the tools that we use every day to do our jobs or to create art So the more knowledgeable we are about them, the better. So to an extent, it makes sense to be obsessed with cameras. The problem is that cameras can be bought and some of us believe (I know I did in the past) that photography can be bought that way as well We see photographers with amazing work that we love, we see what they do, we see what they use, the camera, the lens, the film stock, the developer, and we believe that all we need to create that same work is the gear that they are using or we believe that is a requirement, that we need that exact same camera or lens to create what they are creating Let me make a little comparison here Because this has happened to me a few times in my life And I’m pretty sure that it’s happened to some of you as well when we want to exercise or we want to lose weight or we want to just have a healthier lifestyle in general. What do we do? We buy clothes for exercising, we buy shoes for running, we join a gym, because we believe that that is all we need. And it works at the beginning because we are motivated and we are inspired but over time we realize that it’s gonna take a lot of dedication and effort to achieve what we want to achieve The same happens with a new camera or a new lens or a new film stock. After a while the novelty wears off and we are left with whatever we had before. That’s because the magic doesn’t happen when we buy a new piece of gear The magic is inside us. Art is a form of expression But in order to express ourselves, we need to have something to say, we need to have something to share We need to be passionate about something. In my case, my journey in photography didn’t start when I bought a camera It started when I discovered my passion for the outdoors I believe that is what makes the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer. It’s never the camera It’s never the lens. All the greatest photographers have that in common: the passion about their subjects. So much that it’s almost an obsession You can’t stop thinking about it You just can’t wait to get out and make more images. And it can’t be any other way, sometimes we don’t feel like making images because we are humans after all, we have ups and downs. It’s only when we are really passionate about something that we do whatever it takes to make those images happen. If you’re struggling with inspiration in your photography Please stop looking at new cameras, new lenses, new film stocks, new developers, don’t look at gear or chemicals They are not gonna make your images any better we need to find something that inspires us, that moves us, and if we already had it, we need to get it back. The best way to do this is to start creating, today, right now Make it easy: remove all frictions and start a small. You can use your phone, you don’t have to edit the images It doesn’t really matter. Start a project, it could be about anything. It could be selfies of yourself It could be just a capture from the same window every day… and publish it somewhere but the most important thing is to finish that project and then start another one, and then another one, until you find something that you are really passionate about. Once you find something that you’re passionate about, inspiration will come to you, and that’s how photography starts

18 Replies to “Photography doesn’t start with a camera”

  1. Ansel Adams, "The Camera", Chapter 1, 1st paragraph, talking about visualisation and the importance of "the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure". See the photo first. Cameras and lenses contribute, but they don't make the image. Anything to flex those "visualisation" muscles is good.

  2. This is a well timed video as today I was browsing some random large format lenses and dreaming of things I could create if only I had something different. I don't need anything different, I just need to actually make some pictures with what I've got. Thank you Adrian!

  3. Right on. Photographers should invest in a comfortable pair of shoes, not yet more cameras or lenses! Invest in time, getting to know your camera and in a decent pair of shoes!!

  4. Sometimes I'm asleep and wake up with an idea and cant get it out of my head until I go and take the picture I had the idea about

  5. This is so true! I loved the way that when I went to a new place and expected to work night shifts, I began to imagine all the milky way photos I could take. Actually, any gear I got was specifically to take those images I wanted to make. But I knew I didn't need the fanciest cameras or lenses. Cannon, memory card, prime lens, and a tripod. The rest was finding the landscape to frame the milky way

  6. Well said Adrian. I love your enthusiasm and passion for photography – just how it should be. Thanks for the recommendation at the end!

  7. Thanks mate, very good suff, down to earth. Like the new video style, have found the BW ones a bit "muddy". Keep up the nice work!

  8. I totally agree with you, the only way to really progress in photography, to develop own unique style is getting out and shoot more, with that being said, I just bought a new film camera yesterday lol…

  9. Great video, Adrian.  As with most worthwhile endeavours in life, it's always best to begin with an end in mind. The process of achieving the desired end result is usually the tricky bit and accepting that flexibility and a change of direction might be required (for whatever reason) can sometimes be the biggest frustration.

  10. Wise words as usual. At the start of winter, I found that with family life and work life, and the darkness, I was having little time for photography. But I realised that because I travel to London with work a lot usually for a couple of days, I should try and photograph the night scenes of London. Using just my Hasselblad and the 80mm standard lens, I began "The London Series", which I update with new photos whenever I travel to London. Its resulted in some go my best work to date and is continuing….until the summer when it won't get dark until its too late in the day! But it has been good to have a project to work on.

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