Monday, February 6, 2012

The Medium is the Message...and stuff

"The medium is the message."
-             Marshall McLuhan

The best camera is the one that you have with you and for most people who enjoy photography that maxim is nothing remarkable. How you approach taking pictures though, is heavily influenced by the camera in your hands.

My educational experience has a lot of communication in it especially considering that I have a degree in English. (Will that be paper or plastic?)  We speak differently than we write. We write differently depending on the subject. If I was writing a formal essay my tone and style would not be the same as how I present my words here.  In the ends its just words but the medium still matters.

The same applies to photography. Oddly enough, this very topic came up while I was learning how to develop film with Heather Simonds and Samantha Chrysanthou under the guidance of Hiroaki Kobayashi. We all agreed that when you're walking around with a roll of black and white in a Holga you see the world a heck of a lot differently than if you were to walk around with ... I don't know...the new Nikon D4? (In case you're just tuning in I shoot Nikon.)

When I shoot black and white I tend to look for dramatic skies and I like to look for very strong lines such as those found in architecture.

If I shoot slide film I try to look for bright punchy colors. It might actually be the one time I go out of my way to photograph flowers.

With Polaroids I tend to take pictures of people just being people.

So where does my SLR come in? Being digital the result is far more malleable.  It can create looks that approximate the film look but it doesn't quite get there. I tend to try to go for  a technically sound image when I shoot with my D90. Sharp focus, good exposure. I'm in the driver's seat and I have full control of the whole creation. With film, the creation process tends to end for me with the release of the shutter. With digital, its just the beginning.

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