Firstly, there are no shortcuts. A camera is a simple recording device. You point it at something. Click. It records what you aimed at, and that's it. Simple as it sounds, improving photography is only about improving what is happening in that rectangle, whether you're looking through the viewfinder of the most expensive camera in the world or a box brownie. All through the age of photography from the first cameras through to film and then digital cameras, beautiful images have been made. Images that have stood the test of time and are as exquisite today as they were the day they were made.
Ever complained about the weight of your camera. You need a transit van rather than a camera bag to move this Hunter and Penrose camera around. Never mind slipping a Smartphone camera in your pocket. As big as two fridges Hunter and Penrose camera was carefully restored by documentary photographer, Ian Beesley, and is now displayed alongside his exhibition of photos at Salts Mill.
The truth is a camera; whatever brand or type will not improve one's photography. The latest technology gives us superb image quality, beautiful colours, pin-sharp images, big files that you can print poster size (if you are so inclined), easy modes to save you working out exposures and fast shutter speeds to capture the action. The latest cameras do one thing. They make it easier to get a technically high-grade image. But they do not make it easier to compose a shot, see the light, choose a moment and capture something meaningful, emotive and beautiful.
Photography is an art. The camera lens looks both ways, outwards and inwards, revealing the artist as much as it shows the world we see. You can get lucky and make a great image once or twice but to consistently make exceptional images takes much more. More than experience, more than technical knowledge, more than an eye for design, although all of those contribute. Great photos are the result of a passion for perfection and a deep understanding and love for your subject matter. They are an expression of who you are as an artist, your experience and your world view.
Enjoy the journey because none of us ever reach the destination. There is always more to see, improvements to make and things to learn. If it were easy, it wouldn't be interesting. Everyone I know who is at the top of their game in the world of photography feels the same and the older we get, the humbler we are and the more we understand how vast this world is and how little we know. Yet it boils down to standing in front of something interesting and making sure that every element in that small rectangle is meaningful.
Thanks for reading.