Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Faith and Photography

Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing something you know ain't true."

I think there's much truth in that observation. While Twain likely wasn't speaking about photography, his words still ring true if you apply them to it.

These days, the faith many photographers have is that gear, be it the best cameras, glass, lights, software, whatever, will make them better photographers. That definitely takes a lot of faith--especially since that faith is being put in inanimate objects--but if there's one thing humans are particularly adept at, even humans who are photographers, it's having faith.

The apostles of gear-faith are, of course, the manufacturers and marketing people who hope to sell you all that faith-inspiring gear. They go to great lengths to foster and promote your faith in equipment. If photography had its own bible, one that was similar in form to Christianity's New Testament, it would include the Books of Canon, Nikon, Sony, and so many more. These books would all be saying, essentially, the same thing: The path to photography heaven lies in the tools you use. And, of course, each book would convey the words and ideas of each apostle--Canon, Nikon, and more--and reveal that truth according to themselves and in such a way that it sets their words (and gear) as gospel.

This kind of faith isn't too hard of a sell. The apostles are well aware the masses of photographers yearn for this sort of faith-- They continually hope their prayers for better and more god-like gear and tools will be answered and that it will take them closer to photo-heaven. They seek the light and the light lies in the words of the photo-gear apostles and the equipment they evangelize.

All this is likely the reason why so many believers, so many of the faithful, continue to make offerings to the instruments of photo-God by buying into (and then actually buying) all the new gadgets and gizmos, cameras and more that photo-God, through photo-God's infinite wisdom as spoken by photo-God's photo-apostles, makes available to them. They look at everything new as if it's a gift of photo-God's bounty and they have been personally invited to sit and partake of photo-God's bountiful table.

Far be it for me to be a heretic or to blaspheme or to question the wisdom of the photo-apostles, but it seems to me that the God of Photography already abides in you, not in your gear. And all you have to do is seek the photo-God that's in you.

As usual, I'm just saying. Actually today, it's more like I'm just preaching. Sorry about that.

The model at the top, one who truly speaks beauty and sensuality and more, is Madison. (Click to enlarge.) About a month ago, I worshiped Madison's allure with my gift of photo-God's bounty, in this case a Canon 5D. (It wasn't actually a gift. In fact, it was fairly expensive when I bought it.)


John said...

Does this apply to Photek Softlighters and their knockoffs?


jimmyd said...

@John-- Absolutely! I'm not saying we don't need gear and equipment but we often fall into the trap of believing "better" equipment is the spiritual answer to our lack of improvement.

Speed Nut said...


Now I'm heading off to worship at the alter of Time as he's a real stingy SoB.

(I'm a new reader of your blog, thank you for all of the informative and entertaining entries!)

WildePics said...

I buy better gear just so I have fewer excuses for my crappy photography thus more incentive to improve....wish it worked though.

jimmyd said...

@WildePics: LOL!!!!

Fred said...

Very funny and onformative post. The marketers always seem to appeal to our techno-photographer geek side, shoot at higher iso's no noise, more focusing points, faster shutter speeds :-)

Digital has definitely turned photography into a disposable culture, of buy the latest and the old is useless. The time taken to release new camera models keeps reducing.