Ah, love. Love is an emotion that we humans cannot live without. We need to love. We need to feel loved. Love is what drives us. Love can deliver us into situations once thought unreachable and it can help us grow. It can make us do silly things that we later laugh about. Love is above money, time, effort – everything. On the flipside, lack of love leads to inefficiency and failure. A person without love is a person who is unhappy. The emotion is not limited to the love of another person. We love our pets, we (hopefully) love our work and our place in life. And of course we love our cameras. At least I hope you love your camera.
As I was wandering about Eastern State Penitentiary with my camera last week, I met a number of other photographers young and old. The youngest were a group of high school photography students with varying degrees of interest in photography. Some obviously only cared about filling their schedules with something other than a creative writing course. But there were a few that were quite serious. One saw me setting up for a shot in my tedious but well-practiced manner and asked me to explain what I was doing and why. My hope is that she learned something from observing my procedures. But I was touched by one specific question she asked: What motivates [me]to keep shooting after all these years?
I love my camera.
I love photography as an art form. I love creating artistic photos and altering the minds of the viewers of my works. I love the meticulous nature of photography and I love editing my own work. It’s fair to say I love every aspect of photography. But I would be lost if I did not also love my camera. My camera is a dear friend, and I would be lost without it. My love for my camera – my love for using my camera – is what motivates me to shoot with it any chance I get. I am motivated to pull my friend out of its pocket and use it as it would want me to. I know every menu, every button and every nuance of that camera better than I know my own body. Love for my camera is what has kept me motivated all these years.
She was shooting with an N8008, a camera that is several years older than herself. She does own a pretty current D-SLR that she is not permitted to use for class (the class shoots entirely with film). But she admits that she prefers the N8008 because she knows it better. “It can be temperamental,” she said, “but [she]knows what to expect. Like a bitchy little sister.” I encouraged her to keep shooting with her “bitchy little sister” because she’ll likely shoot her best works with the camera she loves best. I would encourage you to do the same. Don’t get caught up with anyone’s advise as to which camera is better or which you should be shooting with. Shoot with the camera you love. And learn to love your camera.
In the comments below, I encourage you to share your thoughts on two questions: What camera do you love most? Why do you love that camera most?