I like to say that the photographer makes the photograph, not the camera. A camera is just a tool.
That is absolutely true. Cameras don’t create photographs by themselves. The photographer chooses what to point the camera at, the framing, the settings.
It’s also true that the camera influences the photographs you make. It’s not possible to make the same photographs with every camera out there. A pinhole camera is going to create a different photograph than a dSLR. An iPhone is going to create a different photograph than a large format film camera. Each camera has differences.
So the photographer makes the photograph, but only within the range of parameters available from the camera.
When I choose my tool, the iPhone right now, I am choosing a range to work within. I am choosing both the limitations and the options, the advantages and disadvantages, of the specific camera system. That in turn influences the images I create.
I tell people the iPhone changed my art. It changed how and when I take photographs, it changed what I take photographs of, it changed what I do with them. All this fundamental change, because of the tool I use.
The camera I am using influences me as much as I influence the images coming from the camera. It’s a give and take.
As much as photographers might get frustrated with the ever-present gear obsession and the question, “What camera do you use?” As much as we might want to say the camera doesn’t matter, it’s the photographer…
The reality is, the camera we use does matter. How could it not? It’s the fundamental tool we use to create our art.
Your turn: How does your camera influence you?