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Photographer - Artist or Technician?

Robert_Malcolm > Robert_Malcolm Blog > Photographer - Artist or Technician?
04/10/2012 - 10:52 PM

Unique views 325 (3175)

It's a question I was asked recently. Is a photographer an artist or a technician?

The questioner thought he had a valid point to raise, but I argued that artists in the traditional media of painting, music and sculpture all have to be technically able to achieve creditable results. So too the photographer.

Photography has become a more technical subject for many who are swayed by lens tests and sensor structures, but the real crux of suitability for purpose is in a single question.

'Is this a tool that I can understand and use sufficiently well to achieve the images I want to create?'

If we all asked that question and examined what we were doing with our images would we be swayed by megapixel ratings? Do you shoot in RAW, edit carefully and then convert to 72dpi jpeg because you only look at images onscreen and want to save disk space? Do you think that the sensor capacity race has outgrown consumer requirements for use? Have you ever created an A3 print? Did you know that canvas prints are usually done at 150dpi?

It's not a quiz. It's just thoughts from someone who came through the 70s using film and used to hire medium format cameras for jobs that called for big prints. Usually 35mm was perfectly acceptable and we lived with the limitations.

Nikon now have the 36MP D800, which is a fantastic achievement. Now someone needs to improve buffer throughput so that they can better 1.5 FPS. In the meantime, if you want 200MP images you can buy a Hasselblad and combine four 50MP images.

Am I the only one who thinks that it's all getting a bit silly?

Tags: Hasselblad, nikon D800, Pixel race


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