"Your 300D is an electronic device that has a computer as its soul", thus wrote
MickeyT when we recently exchanged emails about firmware upgrades. But is he right? His statement may be factually accurate, but I prefer to think that the soul of the camera is imbued into images via the interaction of the photographer and his/her equipment; not simply as a result of the hardware that is
used to capture images.
Each OE member has two major common denominators:
- An interest in photography
- The equipment that allows for participation in the exchange of images within the
Without the indefinable and individual soul of photography, I suspect our images would be very standardised, lacking the personal stamp of each photographer, the
stamp that says, even as one views the thumbnails on the index page. "I bet that is one taken by GeneW, or
Eland, or TimNYC", for example.
Take a moment to think about the practicalities of your photography. From the
novice digicam owner to those who have graduated from the film darkroom to digital
editing, we all perform the same repeated actions. A two-way communication begins
from the moment we pick up a camera. The first glance through the viewfinder frames
the intended scene or object and that which we observe through the lens becomes an
extension of our own vision; the camera merely provides the mechanism for freezing
particular moments in time and providing us with images.
At the pc, scanning, editing and post processing allow further individualisation of
your pictures. You may see an ordinary looking image on your screen, and you have
the ability to transform it with a tweak of levels here, a deepening of saturation
there; the result will be a combination of the data the camera captured, your skill
as a photographer and your prowess with software at the computer. Most of all, your
pictures will have soul.
Your camera is your non-judgemental friend, your amenable travelling companion and
your invaluable learning resource. It enables you to see your surroundings in a
broader, more interesting way. The process of photography can in itself be balm to
the soul. I know of few better stress-busters than a planned photo jaunt to put your
problems into perspective. Conversely, if you are having a bad day pictorially,
nothing will go right, you will come home with an empty CF card and the camera will
be summarily banished back to its bag!
The advent of digital photography also provides what could be called the 21st
century desire for instant gratification. We no longer have to possess the patience
to wait for film to be developed, and this adds to the appeal of the whole process
for many photographers.
Over time, you get to know your camera and how it interprets visual information,
until it is a familiar and customised accessory to your self (try picking up
someone else's camera and taking a shot with it, and you will see what I mean).
Even two identical camera models will behave slightly differently.
Perhaps I am imbuing my camera with too much personality; after all, it is an
inanimate object, but I believe that as soon as I pick up a camera to take a
photograph, there is a unique interplay between us. I do not underestimate my own
camera's ability to continually surprise me with the images it captures. Although I
press the shutter button, there are numerous occasions when I am amazed at the
clarity or amount of detail in particular shots, that I did not realise would be
"seen" by the camera.
So then, what of the original question, is your camera's soul a computer? I love
my cameras dearly for what they represent to me, the opportunity to create and
share photographs; to discuss photography and continue to travel along the
fascinating learning curve of the associated technology. My answer has to be that my camera's soul represents my own soul, or part of it, and I hope to strike a chord with many others when I say, "My photographs are a little bit of me".