Photographers or Tool Operators?

Those who put so much attention to technical stuff to the detriment of their vision are not photographers; they are technicians, engineers, tool operators.

Photography is about vision; the technical stuff that it involves are peripheral, adjunct to the cardinal interests of photography, which is — to me — to express our vision, our visual responses produced by the interaction between ourselves and the world around us.

There is always you, your soul, your essence in a photograph that you make in a way that is not different from a poem or a prose is to an author. A photograph is your personal and individual vision, response to the world around you that you express in a medium called photograph, much like a piece of literary work is to its author.

Yes, we use tools to enable us to make that expression in the medium that we have chosen. A writer needs a pen, a typewriter, or a word processor. But those things don’t determine the work — not in a direct and essential way. An admirable piece of literary work does not depend on the quality of paper or pen or typewriter or word processing tool with and on which it is written. Some writers may prefer the typewriter to a modern word processing tool or vice-versa, but it is just a tool; the ultimate results of their works have no direct relationship with the tool they use, but their soul, their mind, their vision, and what’s boiling underneath their individuality.

There is a danger in letting yourself be absorbed by the technicalities of the tools. They can make you forget who you are; YOU can get sidelined and ‘obliterated’ by the fascination they offer and forget the fascinating things about yourself, your vision, your ideas, your soul; about the world that gives you the raw materials for your creative impulses, by your interactions with it and your responses to it.

Great photographers, I have learned from their confessions and biographies, are self-made; they always follow themselves first and their tools later.


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