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The Real Stuff; Want To Know Why I’m Sick And Tired Of Talking About Equipment? Buckle Up And Read On

You know what I was thinking about while I was making the photographs you see here? I was thinking about instincts and intuition, about empathy, diplomacy, and psychology. You know what I wasn't thinking about? The gear--the camera, the lens, the tripod.

All photos © 2005, Jack Hollingsworth, All Rights Reserved

Excuse me while I step up onto my soapbox and rant a while.

I am so tired of talking about tools. Not with you, not in this column. Sure, from time to time I mention the cameras and lenses I use, but mostly we talk about observation and emotion and opportunities for photography. But if one more photographer calls me up and wants to talk about why he went to digital or why he didn't go to digital or whether he should go to digital, I'm going to hurl (the phone out the window).

The message of the photos you see here is what's important, not the tools I used to capture or convey that message. Look at these people. How do you get those expressions? That's what we should concern ourselves with.

There's a tremendous imbalance in the photo community, and it's the over-emphasis on hardware and what it can do. We should be talking about cultivating personality and diplomacy, about developing people skills. If you want to get the kind of photos you admire, those are the essential ingredients. Let's talk about fine-tuning your sense of observation if you want to get great travel photographs.

Okay, end of rant.

I thought about all this after a recent model shoot. I stepped away from the camera and realized how wrapped up I'd been in getting expression and emotion; how concerned I was with working well with the models. Then I realized how little I'd thought about equipment. And then I remembered how I'd learned that emotion trumps craft every time.

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