A Brief Commentary on Photography, and Art vs. Craft
Recently, someone tried to compliment one of my photos by telling me, "You have a really clear camera!" This simple statement contains an idea that surely irks any reasonable photographer: the linking of gear and skill. In response, I formulated the following three categories, which I will use to sort photographers and their work until I find a better way.
1. Ownership of a camera
If the flash doesn't go off, people in this group may get confused and have to check "if the picture took." Their response to a particularly striking image is an inquiry either on the cost of the camera or what software was used.
2. Understanding how the camera works
A lot of people like photography; it is a common hobby. Most people who buy an SLR eventually get to the point where they know what's going on. They might have just a fuzzy understanding of how changing settings will affect the image, or they might enjoy complete mastery over every technical aspect of the camera. Either way, they usually fall short of--
3. Telling stories.
Any narrative can be stuffed into the famous thousand words a picture is worth. But so many of these accounts are worthless: "Here is a tree with moss on it." "We drove to Idaho." A great photograph, that is art rather than just craft, tells a great story.
Most of us, most of the time, sleep in that second camp. Actually, sometimes feel like I've never been outside of it. But here's to the pursuit!