Does photography gear matter?
I’ve just recently been to Thun in Switzerland to present a photography course on the way to develop your own photography style. One of the topics I discussed as well was about the gear you needed to do photography. There was nothing technical I could teach, seeing that I am still learning about the technical ins and outs of photography, but what I could teach was what to look at that could make an interesting photograph. Now the one thing that I feel strongly about is the fact that the gear you have is not the thing that would guarantee an interesting picture. This is not easy to get such a suggestion across when someone just spent a lot of money to get the best equipment on the market.
It might have been a blessing in disguise that when I started doing photography that I couldn’t afford a lot of equipment. Well to be totally honest, I was photographing for a while with only my kit lens before I even considered buying a new lens. I had been reading a lot about the next best lens to buy and as I had a limited budget, the nifty fifty was a very good buy. With my nifty fifty I have been doing most of my street photography as well as portrait shoots. It’s my favourite lens to work with as it gives me the most natural pictures.
In a practical sense it is also a smaller lens and this makes it easy to carry around and get my hands on it quick enough when I walking around a park or in the city and I see a scene that I would like to capture. In a way it also doesn’t make my camera seem intrusive and I am able to capture moments without really being noticed. There is no need to change lenses because I can photograph almost anything with my 50mm.
Maybe it also has to do with my style of photography. I prefer the 50mm with most of my photography as the perspective rendered by this lens, matches the human eye. This idea is exactly what I am trying to achieve with my images and that is to show things the way I see them.
When it comes to portraits, the 50mm les with allow for background that could bring context to your image. I am not a big fan of the compression effects that you achieve with longer lenses. With my 50mm I can get as much or as little of the background in my image and everything still stays in the same perspective as my eyes see. But each photographer has the choice to use whatever they need to produce the type of portrait they want and the style in which they want it. I would just object to it when someone argues that a portrait would be of higher quality with a longer lens.
In my opinion, we should never be photography snobs. It has to be more about what has been captured that with what it has been captured. The value of some photographs are the fact that they have been shot in the moment, that second, and that it could never be replicated. Looking at many of the iconic photographs of the past, I would not even give the equipment a second thought, but rather value the story that’s being told by the photograph.
A few days ago, I came across a very interesting video on youtube where photographer, Ted Forbes discusses this topic about photography gear. I totally agree with everything he talks about in this video and could highly recommend anybody to watch it before going out to buy more equipment.