Who Makes the Pictures, the Photographer or the Camera?

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Maui Eclipse, Hawaii by Michael Reichmann
Maui Eclipse, Hawaii by Michael Reichmann
Mono Lake, California by Ken Rockwell
Mono Lake, California by Ken Rockwell

There is this debate (a non-debate, it turns out) about the importance of a technically good camera versus the artistic eye to compose a beautiful image, a discussion on the oft-repeated adage that photographers — not cameras — make the photographs.

The cerebral and highly respected Michael Reichmann (Luminous Landscape) has responded to a post by Ken Rockwell who boldly proclaimed in the title of his article that “Your Camera Doesn’t Matter.” The usually cool master photographer calls that assertion horseshit, admonishing to “send them here for a good spanking.”

Well, hold it a little, Mr. Reichmann, I read Ken’s article in its entirety after reading yours, and I found out that you were both essentially saying the same things actually, it’s just the way Ken emphasizes an argument to drive home the point.

While Ken may have been derided by some as the Chuck Norris of photography (“a some-time web writer about things photographic,” according to Mr. Reichmann, as opposed maybe to a some-time photographer who also writes his thoughts on the web), he is quite effective at communicating his ideas because of his gung-ho style, some of which we can freely disagree with (that wooden staircase is a case in point).

But we all have a place in this vast Internet space, and I would not lump Ken together with the “dogs of war” or the “clowns of clichés.” He also has some very useful posts on the Web, just like Mr. Reichmann. I urge beginning photographers as well as seasoned pros to read both Michael Reichmann’s and Ken Rockwell’s articles so that, in the words of the former, “if enough people read it we can end the mind-numbing vapidity of this pointless debate once and for all.”

[Via: Luminous Landscape, Ken Rockwell]

Published by Chris Malinao

Chris teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the FPPF, Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation. He also teaches smartphone photography.