WARNING: Sarcasm Ahead

As a hobbyist photographer, I never understood why someone would ask me what camera I create with (brand?, cropped frame, full frame or medium format?, film or digital?), or what settings I used for a particular image (f-stop, ISO, etc). I don’t understand the concept of pixel-peeping to judge the ‘quality’ of a particular image either.

You would think that most people would consider the overall composition of an image, but you would be wrong according to the pixel-peepers.

You would think that most people would consider the overall composition of an image, but you would be wrong according to the pixel-peepers.

This is apparently how normal people should view photographs. Preferably with a loupe, and about an inch away from the screen or the photographic print. Note the general 'softness' of the image because the cropped sensor doesn't have the resolving power of a medium format sensor.

This is apparently how normal people should view photographs. Preferably with a loupe, and about an inch away from the screen or the photographic print. Note the general 'softness' of the image because the cropped sensor doesn't have the resolving power of a medium format sensor.

As an artist/illustrator, I’ve NEVER had a discussion about the merits of the granular structure of the carbon used by the different charcoal pencil brands, or the quality of the pigments used by Staedtler as opposed to Faber Castell. I’ve also never gone to an art exhibition or museum and put my eyeballs one inch away from the surface of a painting or drawing and declaring that the artwork is no good because I can see the brushstrokes or that they clearly failed to blend the colour transitions together.

Hmm, does the typical artist concern themselves with the granular structure of the materials they use?

This image is obviously shoddy - you can see the brushstrokes! The image maker didn't bother to blend everything together! The resolution of the image is quite primitive and the colour is too punchy and way off. He should have used a full frame canvas at the very least. A medium format canvas would be the ideal.

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Vincent Van Gogh, Wheatfield with Crows, 1890

When I go out for fine dining, I don’t ask the chef what brand stove he/she uses and walk out in disgust because they don’t use my preferred brand, or that they use a brand that I think will not do a good job with the food I’m about to eat.

And yet, this attitude is often accepted in photography.

I learned to shoot with a film camera that my father gave me. No autofocus, image stabilisation, or a fully automatic mode. This is the reason why my current digital camera (which is now six years old and very beat-up) is always on full manual. Because I learned to shoot that way. I normally don't walk around with my camera dangling around my neck like an oversized necklace, although I would consider it if I could afford a Leica. I usually just use (gasp!) my iPhone.

Limited edition Lamy fountain pen or Bic 4 Colour ball point? The choice is obviously the superior Lamy pen! Why? It's got a red dot at the end of it!!

Just like I learned how to draw pictures with ‘everyday’ writing implements that were lying about the house. When I grew up and could afford fancier drawing tools, I bought and used them with no more thought than they were tools I used to accomplish the drawing goals I had. I still occasionally use the cheap Bic ballpoint pens of my childhood to execute fairly involved pieces. Oh, and no one has told me that these pieces were shit because they were done with Bic pens. At least, not to my face.

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