The One Lens, One Camera Syndrome

One Lens, One Camera or …

You already know that repeating story about this or that photographer that has gotten rid of all his or her precious and abundant photo equipment to be more creative free with a minimalist one lens-one camera (body) combination. It happens periodically and it is adding a lot to the controversy opposing the other extreme that propose to have the latest models and an extensive array of lenses and accessories.

But is it really better to impose you (material) limits at a level that will deter any attempt to transgress any material obvious limitations? Sure, you want to specialize your point of view that will represent your style or your picture signature. Many good photographers have already done this, but you have to remember that their working context was very different in the past because of the lack of photo equipment availability, the technical limitations in optics, in image supports (films) and post-processing were specific conditions of their time.

… Two (or more), better than one? …

Today things have evolved and are still evolving at a fast rate. We are by far a lot more photo educated even in the case of the less photo interested audiences. Ignoring those facts is simply restringing our own capacity to share our works because of the inherent today exigences.

Does it mean that you have to over equip yourself to be able to produce a successful original picture? No for sure, but it can help you if you can extend your technical versatility even slightly just to prevent an eventual succession of repetitive images. Sometimes you need a new point of view to explore that will help to flourish your creativity. It can be a technique, it can be a camera process, it can be a lens, it can be a lighting aid, etc. Because the same basic subject may be represented in such many other ways that are beneficial to our own vision.

We don’t want to encourage redundancies, material over expenses and waist, or simply working incapacity provoked by overabundance of photo equipment. And for most of us, less can be far better that more and more. And we want also to master properly what we own already to extract it the best of our photographic vision of this world. But trying something else is also part of the creative experiment.

… Or purists may ask for a fix focal lens oppose to a vari-focal optic?

Minimalism is not a bad thing by itself and demonstrate an effort to reach the finest use of a photo equipment. It helps to conceive and refine our own visual signature. It imposes to ourselves to transgress other contextual limits to our photography such our choice of subjects or surroundings. But even being minimalist must not prevent ourselves to be open to something else, something new, something disturbing that will force us to reach another creative level.

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Off-planning a photo subject


Find your subject. Be focused. Concentrate your effort. In brief don’t improvise! Is it true? Is it the real inspiration? Or it is more redundant and less provocative? That’s maybe the real factor…

What is creativity if not doing something out of the usual path of thinking and be free to improvise something that exceed the precoder limit imposed by the other’s frozen mind. Because in fact although the algorithm of all images from the past is interesting and can be inspiring for certain, it is also a closed store of imagination that justify its dogmatism by saying wrongly that everything has been already done and is now repeated in this today world.

Choosing a starting point, for example a subject, is in fact a way to motivate a new search and open a blank page that has to be written, sketched or registered. Every time it can offer a new perspective if we accept to explore the subject without (too much) pre-conceptions or pre-perceptions that are stopping our creativity. In visual art such as photography is, there is an esthetic to be found in every different subject and which can easily exceed its traditionally known profile.

Each new moment in our brief life has its own particularities. But its uptake (freeze moments) can be challenging for the observer like us. And as we want to transmit this diversity of views perceptions, it tends to vanish instantly. We have to train ourselves to be ready and pre-perceptive of what is happening and be able to participate to the endless flux of life. Because photography is a way to register a moment (action) in the chain of life.

At the end the photographer is the center subject of its contextual surrounding which will define the originality of its own personal perception. Creativity is a fragile thing, a kind of flower of your mind. And this beauty is not really appreciated by many of us that live a gray life because they are submerged by the overwhelming pathologic search of their physical and psychologic security. But it happens that somebody, somewhere, sometime will indeed open its mind and be emotively involved by our work. This why you must persist in your life search, it a human duty!

The essence of revisiting a subject in photography.

Revisiting

What we have first in mind into many artistic fields is the word “inspiration”.Inspiration can be seen as the motor or the fundamental motivation to experiment and produce a pure artistically expression through different medias or techniques. And photography is truly part of this (as for all others visual arts).

Having the motivation can be translate to a spontaneous envy to register something you have seen in the real or foreseen in your mind. This process can be pro-active or reactive and will trigger a series of actions on your part to (tentatively) produce an output that will represent your interpretation of you have seen and what, I hope, you will photograph!

Human are in perpetual evolution to try, to change, to sophisticate their ways of doing things. We can call it refinement or the search for better if not the best. When we stop doing so, we regress or die simply (or disappear) by not being able to follow progress of life.

Clock and Frame Fragmentation.

Revisiting is, in the same time, the observation what it was, what it became and what it would be. It is going beyond of a first view or a first impression of someone, something, some context or situation. It is like to try to represent less trivial aspects of it and better translate its profound signification, sentiment or motivation. Yes, we can be lucky to get at first glance the essence of the subject but consider this as a very rare event. This is also why doing professional photography (seriously) is so a difficult task considering the incapacity to revisit the subject of assignation more than one time most of the time.

For sure you can train yourself to photograph similar subjects and gain a precious experience and knowledge that will serve you in other critical moments. But very often during a professional assignment you may be never really able to explore, experiment and revisit your subject after giving you some time to evaluate your previous work and to plan a new approach to it. That is the beauty to be an artist (amateur or not!) because these factual constraints of commercial photography don’t exist anymore.

A personal favorite among others: The chair.

How many times will I revisit a specific subject? In fact, it never ends because there is always something to observe, to select, to interpret a different way. This on-going eternal sophistication of our life is infinite and even after our own death, someone, somewhere can retake the torch to pursuit our path as we may have done ourselves for works from preceding photographers. That is the beauty of revisiting a subject and enhanced it ad infinitum.

Compacité et relativité (des appareils photos)

Un géant parmi les tout-petits…?!
La compacité est une chose bien relative car elle dépend essentiellement des perceptions. Par exemple, pour plusieurs, le Fujifilm X-H1 est un appareil professionnel compact même si on le combine avec un objectif Fujinon pro comme le XF 16-55mm F2.8R LM WR. J’ai eu l’opportunité de posséder brièvement cette combinaison boitier-objectif et bien sûr j’ai apprécié la qualité exceptionnelle de construction, d’ergonomie et des images exceptionnelles obtenues avec. Cependant je dois ajouter que mes membres porteurs (mains, bras, épaules et dos) l’ont perçu d’une toute autre façon surtout en comparaison de ma sélection habituelle du Fujifilm X-T20 avec l’objectif Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4R LM. Dans ce cas précis, la différence de poids et de dimensions passe du simple au double.

Un compact comme le Fujifilm X-E3 répond bien
de cette définition de petit format ludique

Ce qui m’amène à ce débat sur la compacité relative des choses. Prenons un autre exemple de l’appareil cellulaire dont les dimensions d’origine éléphantesque sont passées au micro-format pour ensuite se rétablir dans leurs dimensions actuelles s’apparentant de plus en plus à une mini-tablette numérique, le format de poche étant réservé maintenant aux peu fortunés dont je suis! Évidemment je conçois aisément qu’il n’y pas à proprement parler de forme, de format et d’aspect idéal aux choses puisqu’elles s’adressent à une diversité d’utilisateurs aux caractéristiques ergonomiques très différentes.

Mais revenons à nos appareils photo numériques d’aujourd’hui, un créneau de produits de plus en plus spécialisé un peu à l’image d’un passé moins récent car l’instantané est devenu très justement l’adage des appareils cellulaires multi-fonctionnels. Il y a donc un certain nombre de catégories de ces appareils. Les plus petits se glissent dans la poche et utilisent une optique fixée définitivement au boitier. Il y a aussi ces appareils possédant des objectifs zoom à très grande amplitude proposés dans des boitiers tout en un qu’on appelle “bridge” et donc qui font le pont entre l’ignorance et la compétence.

Bien qu’il mimique l’esthétique des anciens boitiers reflex,
le Fujifilm X-T20 est véritablement un appareil de faible encombrement.

D’autres proposent l’interchangeabilité des objectifs tout en se contentant d’un plus petit format de capteur d’images. Ici le débat prend toute sa verdeur si j’ose dire opposant les différents défenseurs de la veuve et l’orphelin sur la base de performances techniques particulières à chacun de ces formats de capteurs dont l’utilité générale reste à prouver même un cadre professionnel. Et la nomenclature des catégories en dimensions d’appareils se poursuit jusqu’aux plus grands. Et bien entendu certains modèles continuent de se prétendre des compacts au delà de tout sens raisonné.

On a associé même certaines technologies comme les appareils n’utilisant pas de visée réflexe optique  mono-objectif, qui requiert un miroir et un penta prisme ou penta-mirroir, pour les assimiler à la catégorie des appareils dits compacts. Aujourd’hui avec les derniers modèles offerts par Canon et Nikon, il faut se rendre à l’évidence que le choix d’une technologie n’entraine pas automatiquement une réduction de poids et de dimensions. De ce point de vue j’ai tendance à considérer ces deux dinosaures du marché de l’équipement photographique comme … de prochains fossiles!

Mais la question se pose. La tendance à la compacité l’emportera-t-elle sur la résurgence des laideurs et de l’encombrement des prétendus “plein format”? Je dois avouer que ma foi profonde pour le petit, bien fait, pratique et esthétique vacille parfois devant l’agression actuelle de ces tenants de la version du machisme matérialiste. Mais j’entretiens l’espoir que la raison l’emportera sur l’absurdité et l’ignorance. En un mot, restons compacts et concentrés mes frères et soeurs!