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Submitted on
May 16, 2013
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I was looking through a well known photographers portfolio recently. 
I felt bad.
I wanted to respect the persons experience, and investment. I mean I do, but the more I looked at the images
the more I was feeling that the only factor that set the images apart from others was economic.
Not amazing emotional connection, or vision, or anything based in creativity.
I really dont want to sound like a dick here. Especially when you are talking about people that have been shooting for much longer.

Im not sure if I just have a tendency to distill things down to black and white, but I believe that what makes a photograph valuable is scarcity. Something that you dont see every day. Something that makes you feel or think about something that normally does not find its way into your consciousness on a day to day basis. Im also starting to believe that there are two primary things that make a photograph rare which are not always symbiotic in nature. Artistic scarcity, and economic scarcity.

What struck me about the featured image in this photographers portfolio was that what set it apart was entirely based in how expensive the equipment being used was. There is nothing wrong with using expensive equipment. Its awesome.
But what I am discovering is that it can often be used as a substitute for actual artistic vision and innovative thinking.
What is also interesting to me is that the expensive equipment being used in the shot exists because some photographer somewhere decided to do something totally different that the norm, and used weird materials to achieve a result that had never been seen before, and it became popular, and businesses popped up around the innovation saying "You MUST use this over priced equipment or your not a "serious" photographer." 
But then historically, that is how it has been. The innovators create, then their innovations become the norm, an the very mindset that created the innovation is replaced by something else. 

Ill make it more practical, and invite some inevitable criticism.
I am going to shoot some action sequences next month. The current expert advice for this kind of shooting says I will need the following:
One or two high powered flash units with grids for focusing the light in a 60 degree beam.
A power pack. Not the cheap ones mind you, but something that can recycle at a super fast rate so you can catch the action sequence at a high enough shutter speed to not get motion blur. And you dont want to use cheap flash units because the color of the light can change from shot to shot. You need something that can throw out enough light etc etc etc.
If I just followed the economic scarcity model without questioning it, I would probably just give up and shoot senior portraits.
But what if you question the economic scarcity barrier? How do you do that? Is that ok? what if they laugh at you and tell you youre stupid? 

Really??? You arent even going to try it???
Try to break it down into questions that aren't influenced by what you "shouldnt" do, and instead ask how you can accomplish it using all available resources....no matter if they aren't "traditional" or not.
If i need a 5500k light source, that is bright enough to keep the background from getting blown out, and can be used at a distance without losing to much intensity, do I have to use a $5000 dollar light set-up, or could I use two super high intensity LED bicycle lights with sanded glass hemispheres stuck to the front to diffuse the light into an amazingly smooth and even quality? Wait, Im not supposed to ask that question? It makes me not a "real" photographer? 
Huh. Well see if that is true in a month.

What I am saying is, dont be afraid of trying something different. And dont be afraid of being excited about it. And if people discourage you from trying things that "cant be done", listen to the reasons politely, thank them, then reasearch and test whether or not what they said is true. I mean its all worth testing. IF you think you can do it, then TRY it. And if and when you succeed, you will have gained confidence in your ability to risk.


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:iconsalmaashraf:
SalmaAshraf Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2013   Traditional Artist
I've very much enjoyed reading your journals (as I'm only just catching up with my messages); you have some really interesting points :) I'm also guilty of feeling like having a better camera will result in better photographs. While it will to some extent, you have to remember it's about you and how you see the world and capture it that makes your work stand out.
I also admire how you allow anyone to use your photographs and make commercial use of it, they're extremely beautiful photographs and I'm hoping to get round to drawing one soon :)
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:iconplumes7278:
plumes7278 Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Student General Artist
" What I am saying is, dont be afraid of trying something different. And dont be afraid of being excited about it. And if people discourage you from trying things that "cant be done", listen to the reasons politely, thank them, then reasearch and test whether or not what they said is true. I mean its all worth testing. IF you think you can do it, then TRY it. And if and when you succeed, you will have gained confidence in your ability to risk. "

I think you has just changed my mind in better,, i was in need of these words.
I'm one of those discouraged people sometimes, and sometimes I stopped at the " You can't do it." comment, but is there's someone like you telling this, i think i can really do it. I think I'll try and enjoy trying new ideas.
I am a bit afraid about showing my work carried out trough weird ideas, but i'll try.

Thank you so much, I agree with you.
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:iconaarontyree:
aarontyree Featured By Owner May 20, 2013  Professional Photographer
It takes all of 5 seconds when looking at your page to see the depth of your vision, and love for what you are doing. If we knew each other, I would sit down with you, and say " For the next 30 days, what ever scares you, whatever you think wont work, whatever you have been putting off, do it. You are beautiful, talented, and have gifts that not everyone else gets. Stop hiding, and risk. You are worth it."
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:iconplumes7278:
plumes7278 Featured By Owner May 21, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh, you're really a kind person, i have no words to thank you for this.
I'll go on using my camera and studying arts, no doubt about that, thank you for all the support, I'll remember your words in future.
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:iconcalof:
CaloF Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
I agree. Fancy equipment breaks down in the middle of a project, then what? The standard procedure would be to get a replacement, either bought, rented or borrowed, but not everyone has deep pockets or big contacts to ask favors from.

Maybe that is why the younger ones tend to make more breakthroughs than the established outfits. Barely starting up, with little to no experience and resources that the orthodox processes call for, they don't have a choice but to experiment with what their can get their hands on.

In any field, a sign of a professional is the ability to make do with whatever it is they have. The thought and care put into the process is what makes it stand out in the end.
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:iconcalof:
CaloF Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
blasted auto correct!, *"they" can get their hands on
:D
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:iconadravis:
Adravis Featured By Owner May 16, 2013
It's an interesting point. I mainly focus on film but I think it's very similar when you look at the cost of steadycams, dolly's etc the corporate manufactured equipment costs huge amounts but the dolly for example is a replica of a system invented for Nazi Germany propaganda films (if I recall my modern history lessons correctly)

I shoot on a canon 5D Mk II and I remember when I bought it I had a few photography friends who were actual photographers and shot on much worse cameras. One in particular was a little shirty at the idea that I, who could be best described as a unskilled hack when it comes to stills photography, had a pro grade camera when they didn't. The thing I always noted though was that my photo's look pretty average at best, I'm not a good photographer and the equipment seemed to play a very small part in what I was able to output compared to them. I guess it's situational as some areas the skill of the photographer is be all and end all but in others the expense of the equipment is what makes something possible.

I think the other thing that fits in to this is location. If you've got the money to go to places with exotic ruins, or amazing mountain ranges, or see rare animals the photo you get may not be skillfully or technically great but being the right person in the right place gets you an amazing photo.

I'm a pinko-left wing "let skill not money decide people's fate" kind of person so I love what the internet is doing to these industries and publicity, you don't have to be established and asked to print in a magazine, you can share your work online and while it's not perfect you'll still get a lot more exposure than a no-name photographer trying to sell pictures at a garage sale. I think it's still got a long way to go but I also think that if you keep the mentality of it's your mind not your equipment that make you the photographer you are, then you'll always get the best photo's that you can do at your budget, where as someone focused on budget will not always be achieving their potential or growing their skill if they think "I've got the expensive equipment so I'm done and have achieved being pro now"
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:iconlone0wolf:
lone0wolf Featured By Owner May 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
it's the real true...

the photographer in'st the equipment that he had

is the creativy (not only for the shoot, the background the highlights, the scene count too), the realism (in some cases snapshots, feelings, persons, animals, etc)...

the photographer is "the moment" caughted in a picture...

well... you give me a hope to keep taking pictures of those "moments"...
thanks for the hope.
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