Anyone can take a picture

“Anyone can take a picture.” That complaint was made by a young photographer worrying that his photographs would not stand out in against those taken by so many other picture takers in this popular, expanding medium. His goal is to produce images that are visual statements of how he feels and are more than just of document of something.

The medium of photography has become very accessible for everyone. The days when a photographer had to be an engineer and chemist are long gone. With modern technology, today’s supercharged camera, machine-gun-like shutters, and seemingly speed of light focusing, many photographers get away without any knowledge whatsoever of photography. At one time photographers actually had to understand the combinations of shutter and aperture for a properly exposed image, and worried about camera shake and film choice. Photographers would carry more than one camera because they wanted the resulting photographs to be in both color and black and white.

The photographer holding his old 1980’s film camera that says, “all this digital isn’t real photography” must remember that a few short years ago photography needed large glass plates, hazardous chemicals, bulky cameras and wagons to carry everything.

I am not sure that the photographers of the late 1800’s or early 1900’s were interested in photography as a creative medium as much as they were interested in a way to document reality, whether it was convincing some person to sit as still as possible for long time periods or setting up unwieldy photographic equipment on a cold mountain top to photograph the view. I expect many photographers that loved the advancements of the 1970’s and 1980’s would never have tried photography if it had remained like that.

There are those that are intent on complaining that with the end of film comes the end of photography. Personally, I don’t think film is going away any time soon. (Film is just one part of photography.) The big box outlets may not carry it much longer, but there are lots of specialty items artists use that are only available in specialty stores, and I think the return of film at camera shops is a good thing, as, at least, the chances of getting the correct advice from the person behind the counter will be more likely.

Yes, anyone can take a picture nowadays. That’s a good thing and not something to complain about. There are lots of nice photographs being taken and most of them fall into the category of documentary or snapshot photography. People just want visual memories and today’s cameras are perfect for that.

I look forward to seeing photographs made by that young photographer and others like him. My advice was to use all the exciting technological advancements (because photography has always been about technology) he can get as he strives to make his photographs more than just a picture. He will work hard producing images that will be technically perfect visual statements about what he feels or wants to say. There are many photographers, myself included, who are interested in the resulting photos no matter how the image is produced as long as the final photograph has something to say, shows control over the technology used, and is visually exciting!

His critical comment “anyone can take a picture” shouldn’t make him worry about competition; and he should look forward to the future of this exciting medium.

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