Digital photography transformed image making. Not unlike the original revolutionary transformation of photography into a popular medium of the late 1890’s when George Eastman invented roll film and in 1892 formed the Eastman Kodak Company to sell cameras, film and processing as a package deal, digital photography provides the average person with instant access to images. Pretty amazing!
What Eastman did for photography and what digital image making does as well was to make the process accessible to everyone. Rather than have to lug around glass plates, heavy cameras and tripods, and portable darkrooms, all of which made photography pre-1892 the sole obsession of professionals, Eastman gave people portable cameras that, when they completed a roll of 100 exposures, they returned to Kodak. Kodak then processed the film, made prints and sent the prints and a fully loaded camera back to their customer.
Digital image making simply speeds the process of delivery. Expose hundreds of images on a data storage device, slip the device into a reader and transfer those images to your computer. Simple, quick and easy! Even your phone can send images to Facebook.
The question is does accessibility translate into excellence in image making? The quick answer is no. There is a clear difference between being able to take a picture and to make an image. The distinction is one of both vision and intent. When taking a picture (the operative verb is to take) one is documenting a scene or event without regard to anything other than the preservation of a memory of person or place. It is a simple act, one that does not require training or technique. Point and shoot and store the results. Nothing more is needed. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. It is an important function of photography to document and preserve that which once existed. But that is something different than making an image as art.
When intentionally deciding to make an image using photography as an art form, both vision and technique are needed to translate ideas from place to print. Take landscape photography as an example. Knowing when the light is right, controlling depth of field, shutter speed, focal length, when to expect haze or fog, what filtration to use and so on all play a part in capturing the vision you see as a piece of fine art. Additionally, the ability to frame an image so that it is visually appealing is a requirement of art over documentation.
The question for beginners when considering digital photography and the choice of equipment is this: Am I interested in documenting the memory of person or place as my purpose for taking pictures or do I want to both document and make art as well? If your answer is the former, a point and shoot, fixed lens, automatic camera is quite sufficient. If your answer is the latter then you might want to consider a hand-held device that has interchangeable lenses and allows manual controls as well as programmed options as well. Equipment choice is all about what you wish to accomplish.
Article Source: EzineArticles – R. L. Passman