Does the camera you choose influence what and how you make photographs on the day?
I was pondering that this morning following my wife’s announcement that the bathroom, where I hang films to dry, was out of bounds. “You will have to shot digital for a few days” was her less than sympathetic postscript. Now I’ve nothing against digital, I’ve several digi-cams available, but as my reader probably knows by now, I habitually use film. Mind you, having used (exposed, developed, digitised and sleeved) seven rolls of film over the last two days I thought it probably wouldn’t hurt. My thoughts shifted to what camera I should take.
I took my phone.
I still need to make a photograph every day as my picture-a-day challenge continues but the phone will be well up to the job. Had I known about the bathroom ban last night, I’d have charged a battery or two and stowed a small digital camera in my bag in readiness for this morning. As it was, I had just five minutes to decide what camera to take. However, we make the best of situations.
Once outside I photographed heavy frost on the car, explored some frost covered leaves and patterns in ice. All things the phone handles well enough for my needs. Scraping the ice off the protective screen with a fingernail I photographed the outdoor thermometer (-5°) and headed off on my morning’s errands which in large part covered exactly the same ground that I covered yesterday.
It was whilst sat in my favourite café, jobs completed, that I realised I had been looking at the world around me differently to how I’d looked at it yesterday. I further realised that this change in perspective was actually quite normal for me. I am always looking or at least sub-consciously watching, for compositions and photo-opportunities but it dawned on me that what I watch for varies with the camera in my bag.
Yesterday, I had the Holga Pan and two rolls of film in my bag. My thoughts instantly turned to architectural multiple exposures, inspired totally by friend and fellow photographer Andrew Keedle. My phone was in my pocket but it was the Holga Pan that had my attention and I photographed accordingly.
Today with just a phone for company I was instinctively looking for images that suited the “camera” in my hand. Thinking back over the past week during which I’ve used five or six different cameras, I’ve adapted my vision each day to the cameras at hand. Adding the Holga Pan on a couple of days was a conscious decision as it’s on loan and I wanted to try the multiple exposure technique Andrew demonstrated. However, going back through my archive it is clear that what and how I photograph is very much influenced by whichever camera I happen to have with me.
The fact that I probably make more images in the streets surrounding my home than everywhere else combined means that I am very familiar with my surroundings. I still manage to find something different every time I venture out however and I think that this is in part down to the fact that I look at my surroundings with slightly different eyes each time I go out.
Sometimes I go out with an idea in mind and on those occasions I choose the camera for the job. Oft-times though the camera I take is chosen quickly and the choice also influenced by what cameras currently have film loaded (normally at least four cameras have film loaded).
After a full English and several mugs of hot, black tea it was clear that I needed to vacate my corner seat as the café was starting to get busier with lunchtime trade. I’d written most of this blog post whilst sat there in the warmth but it was time to venture back outside onto the frosty streets. I thought more about the topic as I walked home and the more I thought about it the more I realised that my day-to-day photography was influenced mostly by what photographic tool I put in my bag or pocket as I leave the house.
In passing I guess that another factor to consider is the experience levels of the individual. I’ve tried most genres of photography over almost fifty years and am comfortable with quite a few of them. I am also predisposed to trying new things and experimenting, something that has grown particularly in the last few years. My familiarity with my cameras also means I generally don’t need to think too much about the technical aspects which leaves the brain free to attend to creative matters.
So, in conclusion, what I chose to photograph is generally influenced by the camera(s) I have with me. Other factors, such as the light and if using film, what films I have with me, are also contributing influences. The main exception is when I go out with a specific project in mind in which case the camera is chosen accordingly.
Hhhhhmmmm, now then, does your mood influence the camera you choose?
All images created over the last five days