Behind the Lens

I’ve noticed that one of the first things beginners consider becoming a photographer is the gear.  I remember the days when I wanted to consider myself a photographer and I imagined that I had the lights, the studio and of course the massive camera.  While these things turn heads and still produce quality images, the development of technology has allowed for the title of photographer to be more commonplace. Inventions came up throughout this decade that claimed to be “Death of Cameras” which have failed in their initial claim, but have introduced new ways to make images of the world around them.

This MLK day, I decided that I needed to head over the memorial to pay my respects.  The cold weather didn’t faze me or my camera as walked from the metro station.  Once I got the memorial, I learned a valuable lesson about photography in the world today.

I’ve been to this memorial many times in my time at Howard University, but I have never seen a crowd that size since I had been there before.  This crowd featured many people who had cameras in their hands.  Men, women and children all wanted to have their photo taken in front of the giant slab of stone that featured MLK’s face.

The photos the took and posted on social media weren’t professional, but the person behind the camera felt obliged to share their moment with the world.  Their smartphones guess the settings to make sure the photo isn’t too bright or too dark, leaving story-telling job to the one with the camera.

Of course, not everyone there was taking photos with smartphones.  I saw many expensive chunks of metal made by Nikon and Canon that could produce crisp photos much faster than any smartphone could.

The world of current photography is starting to blur the lines between the two devices.  The only thing that would remain a constant in the equation is the person behind the lens.

That observation I made while I was taking my own photos with my Nikon, really struck me as interesting.  If people think that big cameras are the reason an individual is a photographer doesn’t make any sense.  The decision to selecting the time, place and subject of the photo creates the visual story to share with the world.  Quality cameras can make quality photos, but doesn’t mean anything if the person behind the camera fails at telling their story.

Those were the main takeaways I made from spending my Monday morning watching the MLK festivities.

DC 1
Photo of DC Street c2017

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