- The images always come first
- Images are subjective, and like/dislike is personal. There are no absolutes or right and wrong.
- This site is and always has been about images, photography and education
- Photography is a technical pursuit that is not fully separable from the equipment, so we must also consider the equipment – but to a much lesser extent. Note that fewer than 5% of the posts here are about hardware
- The hardware is always subservient to and nothing more than an enabler for the image
- Cameras are tools, not a religion, so there’s no reason to act like it
- Lenses matter far more than people give them credit for
- A tool is a tool and a skilled photographer can make a decent image with anything – similarly, a tool is limited by the skill of the operator
- BUT a skilled operator can do more with better tools
- Education and practice make for a better operator. And it gives far better returns than new tools.
- The sharper the tools, the more likely you are to cut yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- The output must be considered: if you cannot understand why, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason for it. Instead seek to understand why before criticising something
- You’re not going to replace anything else unless it does something better than what you have now – why compromise with cameras?
- We can agree to disagree, and readership is 100% voluntary.
- Lastly, the internet is virtual. But there are still real people behind it, some of whom give their time for free for your education and entertainment, so be polite. Before you post a comment, consider if you’d say the same thing to somebody’s face.
On the face of it, this seems like a very obvious statement of intention. For most people, this is not even something that gets called into question (see this article on why we photograph). Perhaps it’s an odd issue I’m personally facing, but the discussion of all things photographic and creative is the purpose of this site after all. Of late, I’m stuck between four places: photographing the commercial, as specified by the client; photographing what appeals to me personally, which is almost always not commercially viable at all; photographing what the audience of this site wants to see and photographing what the art world dictates I should be doing.
I believe it’s very important to have a sense of purpose as a photographer. If it’s not clear exactly why you’re photographing, or what the aim of your output is, you run the risk of not only making weak images, but not knowing they’re weak, or even worse, not being able to step up and move on. However, only you can decide exactly what that purpose or aim is; and in the past couple of years since starting this site, I’ve realized two things: firstly, you’re going to evolve, so don’t be afraid to say ‘my objective has changed’; secondly, you’re not going to satisfy everybody (and some of those people are bound to be extremely rude and vocal about it, but really have nothing more than hot air). The latter is easy to rationalise but difficult to accept if you care about your work.
I actually wrote something like this quite some time ago – it’s still on my flickr ‘about’ page, I believe. It’s actually interesting from a strange self-analysis point of view to see how my views of photography have morphed in the last few years, partially as a consequence of experience, and partially due to the shift towards commercial work. So, perhaps I’ll revisit this post again in another few years and see how things have changed again…