There’s a good chance that you may have come across this famous quote by the Master Photographer Ansel Adams; “The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it”. In most part, what Adams is wanting to convey here is the fact that it’s the photographer who makes the photograph and not the camera. The camera is simply a tool, one that allows the user to record an image. Just because a person is holding a camera doesn’t necessarily make them a photographer. In fact, this holds true now more than ever with the ease of access we have to cell phones that possess greatly usable cameras. Pondering over the idea of ease of access and use, we could say that maybe what disposable cameras were to the prior decades, camera phones are to present times.
I firmly believe that it’s the ability to tell a good story with their photographs which helps differentiate a photographer from a camera user/operator. And in a large sense, it’s the art of seeing which makes this possible; for a photographer sees not just with their eyes, but also the heart and soul. Why so, you may ask. Well, for better or worse, I don’t really know. For those who are like me as a person, this is usually an inherent trait. We prefer to slow down and observe, in wanting to look beyond what the world around us appears to be. A simple glance or a snapshot is not something of interest to us, it’s the deeper connection with life that we seek and it’s all of this that finally allows us to make the photographs that we create.
A few days back, I penned down my take on the relevance of photography as both, a medium of art as well as communication. Taking the ideology further, I’d say that for those who possess this art of seeing, it’s not only ideal but also imperative that they share what they see with the rest of mankind. Their unique take on life combined with their image making abilities holds the power to bring about an extraordinary perspective for humanity to view our world, one that we need now more than ever.