Sunday, May 29, 2011

Seven weeks without a bathroom

This weekend we had reason to celebrate, as we finally - after seven weeks - have a bathroom at home. It took a long time to get the renovations done, and all this time we had to find ways to cope without a bathroom. As an example, we went one weekend to a hotel in Hämeenlinna, and you can guess what was the first thing on the agenda when we arrived at the hotel.

But now we have a bathroom, and a sauna, once again. There were big and small problems all the way, and some still remain, but at least we can finally get a shower and use the sauna. It is surprising how easy it is for things to go wrong when doing renovations, mostly due to miscommunication: things are not clear between the plumber, the electrician, the tile-installer, the painter, etc.

Coming back to photography, I have read and re-read the posting by David duChemin, who didn't like it when someone claimed that "The x100 is just a $1200 point and shoot camera."

I think I mostly agree with what duChemin writes, especially this part: "But as far as I know, beautiful photography has been created with pinhole cameras, antique rangefinders, and iPhones, as surely as a Ltd. Edition gold-plated Leicas and $10,000 pro-bodies have produced an astonishing quantity of crap." The camera does not make a photographer, that is for sure.

But here I have to disagree: "Leave the pointing and shooting for others. Your photographs are judged on their own merits, not the tool you used to create them."

Namely, my approach to photography can be summarized as point-and-shoot. I guess I have to explain. There are two types on automation here: one is the one where the camera decides what will happen when the shutter is pressed, using all kinds of "intelligent" automatics. This is something I hate, really, deeply, profoundly. Don't give control to the camera!

I use aperture priority and turn of all the unnecessary automatics, so that the camera is easy to handle, and I'll know what will happen when the shutter is pressed.

But at the same time, I'm trying to avoid too much thinking when taking photographs, preferring to take photographs intuitively, so that the conscious mind doesn't manage to get in between the intent and the act. So, I "point and shoot", trying to make decisions below conscious level.

This is not easy, and most often I need first to take 50 or 100 photographs when I'm getting "into the flow", and only then things start to happen. Well, there are exceptions, and sometimes it may be the first photograph taken after stepping out of the door which is the best of the day, but this is seldom indeed.

In summary, I would say this: Don't rely on the intelligence of the camera, and not on the intelligence in your head either. Embrace the flow.


Anonymous said...

Juha, don't be overmodest: Your line of action might be pointing and shooting, but your subconscious skill and intuition make the results of pointing artful - and your way of photography probably will work with the 10k € Leica as well as the LX3, and maybe even with a phone camera, the latter albeit introducing more obstacles that have to be cirumvented by intelligent pointing.
In the end it does not matter if your call your way of intuitive composing "pointing" or not, but it's the results - and here duChemin is right - that counts.

Anonymous said...

Re. the flow I found an interesting article on another blog:

Stuff to read - not that dead simple to understand.

Juha Haataja said...

@Markus: Nice article, many interesting references and stuff to think about.

And the comment by "anonymous" was hilarious: 'OMG. The drivel. Go take a photo! Get out of the House! LOL OMG (again) [...] Sometime it is unfortunate photography is so "accessible" to the masses. This is what happens...'