When the medium becomes the message


General Photography

In my six years of blogging, there is one post that I started to write maybe up to ten times, and each time, I refrained from posting it. Maybe it’s time to get it out of my system. It’s not even anything particularly interesting, even though I’m sure some people might disagree.

I sometimes get an email with a link suggestion and a comment along the lines of “these photos are great, they use [add your favourite process here]”. I don’t care much about the process when looking at photography (unless the process is an integral part of the photography, which is almost never the case). What I mean by that is that whatever it took to produce a photograph does not determine whether the result is good or bad.

Using a so-called toy camera, for example, doesn’t automatically produce a great photo. A light leak or a soft lens might contribute to what makes a particularly photo good, but that doesn’t mean that if you buy a Diana camera (which are now in production again and sold for way too much money - seriously, if you want one buy a vintage one on Ebay) you’re guaranteed good photos.

The same is true for large-format cameras. There almost is a cult of large-format photography out there. It’s true, large-format cameras can lead to very spectacular results, but using a large-format camera is no guarantee for that.

Or take vintage/alternative photography processes, many of which are notoriously hard to use. But as before, using a wet-plate collodion-type process (or whatever that might be called) does not guarantee good photographs.

For me, photography is an art form and not a craft (not that there’s anything wrong with crafts - I’m just not as interested in crafts as in art). How a photograph is produced I find not all that interesting (which probably in part explains why I don’t share the wide-spread rejection of digitally created work). At the end of the day, I am interested in the image.