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Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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2 Apr 2020 5:29AM   Views : 219 Unique : 125

An entrancing – but difficult – subject for a picture, and also an acronym to live by as a photographer: Keep It Simple, Stupid.

When I bought my first SLR in 1970, even a really keen and competent amateur aspired to an outfit with three lenses, a tripod and flashgun, and maybe a second camera body for colour film. And while there were legendary professionals who carried every lens from a fisheye to a 500mm, most got by with a battered old medium format camera, even for weddings.

Nowadays, the complication has moved on from the shooting to the processing. We’re no longer content to produce a good print with a nice tonal range: we have to do stuff to it, to show that we’re creative. And we have to start dong that before we’ve even mastered holding the camera steady.

Intellectual justification: if you can’t do the simple stuff, reliably and repeatably, there’s virtually no chance you’ll get the clever things perfect. You don’t try to cook a soufflé before you can boil an egg, and you’d be foolish to enter the Grand National if you’ve only ever ridden a donkey on the beach.

So, even if you’re a wizard with lenses, exposure, differential focus and weird effects, every so often you should go and take an absolutely straight record photograph. Make it sharp, well-exposed, compositionally straightforward and excellent. Polish it in processing, but don’t gild the lily. Keep it simple. And that’s not a stupid thing to do.


Howard2 4 3 3 United Kingdom
2 Apr 2020 5:59AM
KISS is not just for photography, either. My wife and I often find ourselves commenting, at the end of a movie whose story-line of relationships had been complicated, that for us we prefer we keep things simple! Your piece above brings Ansel Adams' observation to mind again. Namely, the most important part of the camera is the twelve inches (or however large the head may be!)behind it. No amount of gear can replace creativity. The image of the Kiss is nicely posed and exposed.

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dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1646 England
2 Apr 2020 7:02AM
Thanks, Howard!

At work, I was always suspicious of complicated schemes. I preferred to start with a simple plan - the complications accrue soon enough...
saltireblue Plus
10 10.6k 61 Norway
2 Apr 2020 7:43AM
I totally concur about the KISS method, John.
A Norwegian supermarket chain has a slogan, "The simple way is usually the best way"

I own one body and four lenses (10-24/16-80/50-140/35mm f/1.4) yet 98% of all images I take are with the one lens - the 16-80.
I know that with a little bit of flexibility, I could survive perfectly well with just that one lens....simpler than that, it can't get.
Jasper87 Plus
10 2.5k 158 England
2 Apr 2020 7:49AM
KISS...a message I kept on reinforcing when our daughter was playing cricket. If you can't play a decent straight drive forget about reverse sweeps and ramp shots!!

I like your seemless move from a kiss to the acronym.
kaybee 16 7.1k 26 Scotland
2 Apr 2020 7:55AM
Wise words Sir - wise words.
chase Plus
14 1.6k 360 England
2 Apr 2020 3:59PM
I like to K.I.S.S every now and again, it brings me back to basics, reminds me of things I thought I had forgotten.

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