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HomeFilm PhotographyJust shoot it!

Just shoot it!

Growing up in a modest-income family offers a valuable perspective that shapes your later years, leading to a life of financial prudence and careful spending. My earliest encounter with a camera occurred around the age of nine. My mother, an accomplished artist herself, possessed a cherished Kodak 110 camera. This camera held significance as a gift from her mother and because it represented an affordable possession at the time used in capturing moments of my childhood.

One day, in the distant past, I stumbled upon the camera in a drawer and decided to capture a few snapshots of our neighborhood. Completely oblivious to concepts like composition and exposure, I lacked an understanding of the camera’s technical aspects and its lens. My approach was simple: point, peer through the lens, and press the shutter button. To my surprise, my mother was genuinely impressed by the images when the developed film was revealed several weeks later.

Naturally, I got busted. She confronted me, imparting a lesson on ethics and the consequences of borrowing without permission. It was a fair admonishment. However, on that day, I not only grasped the importance of ethics but also developed a fascination for visual arts and photography.

Despite my lack of knowledge, the images I had captured were outstanding in my mother’s eyes. She discerned a natural aptitude for composition, a term entirely foreign to me until then. This encounter prompted my mother to encourage my pursuit of photography. We would scrutinize the details of every 4×6 print when the film was developed.

My mother was my initial art instructor, making my photographic journey deeply personal and intimate. It evolved into a shared experience, remaining a cherished bond until her final breath. Throughout her life, we engaged in numerous conversations about classical art versus popular visual arts, exploring their connections and disparities.

That compact Kodak 110 camera opened the door to numerous life experiences through travel and cultural immersion. As I delved deeper into understanding the camera’s workings, its capabilities, and limitations, my exploration extended to the realm of lenses, where the true enchantment unfolds.

Roselyne at Arcangues 1975 © Helmut Newton ^ Helmut Newton Foundation

Over time, much like many others, I found myself in pursuit of the latest and greatest cameras available in the market – ones boasting new features, higher shutter speeds, swifter lenses, enhanced durability, and reduced weight – attributes that every camera manufacturer places at the forefront of their priorities.


In my observations, photographers can be grouped into three distinct categories. The first consists of gear enthusiasts who utilize a camera while placing greater emphasis on the technical intricacies of engineering. For them, the camera serves as a tool to create impeccably proficient images with minimal exertion.

The second category encompasses photographers who remain unaffected by marketing tactics and are driven solely by their desire to craft captivating images. Their focus bypasses the intricacies of engineering, and they are unswayed by possessing the highest quality camera and lens available; their foremost concern is achieving commendable outcomes. They seek simplicity and derive immense satisfaction from their results.

The third category encompasses photographers who masterfully balance precision engineering and functionality with their profound passion for the art. These individuals prioritize the image itself, skillfully leveraging the camera’s functions to achieve their envisioned results. They allow the camera to execute the tasks it was meticulously designed for, while channeling their creative intent into every captured image.

Your identity within these categories holds little significance. What truly counts is your ability to revel in the process of crafting art, utilizing the tools at your disposal within your means. Countless individuals have echoed this sentiment throughout time, and I am assured that the message I’m conveying here has repeatedly reverberated across the vast expanse of the digital realm.

Yet, this abundance of perspectives can perplex newcomers venturing into the world of photography. The presence of these three distinct types of enthusiasts, each with their unique areas of interest and concentration, can often create a bewildering landscape.


Frequently, I find myself engaged in conversations where individuals express their inability to afford a professional-grade camera and emulate my, or others, photography. Curiously, they assume that I rely on top-tier professional equipment. However, that’s not the case. My preferred gear, which I hold dear, can be classified as Prosumer at best, excluding my film camera—a professional model I purchased over 25 years ago.

In response, I offer a straightforward perspective: the equipment utilized does not inherently determine the triumph or disappointment of an image. Even digital cameras with modest price tags can capture valuable photographs, provided you hold a genuine appreciation for your subject.

Remarkably, there exist artists who wield cell phones to produce world-class art that garners recognition within esteemed museums and exhibitions across the globe.

Achieving a successful print is within reach using a 35mm film camera, possessing a base scan resolution of approximately 17 megapixels. In this context, a deliberate balance must be struck between technical prowess and the artist’s creative expression.


The camera you possess holds little sway over the final outcome. What truly holds significance is the lens through which you perceive the world and the creative mind guiding it. Don’t allow the intricacies of your equipment to overpower your thoughts. Instead, center your attention on the image you’re striving to capture. Remember, you acquired a camera to translate your desire into imagery, whether that be objective documentation or a subjective artistic expression.

As time unfolds, you’ll naturally acquire fundamental techniques that will seamlessly integrate into your creative process. These techniques will prove invaluable in your quest to produce exceptional images. Patience, the art of getting up close to your subject, and a deep understanding of exposure will become your allies in this endeavor, enabling you to craft the finest possible representation. Embracing these elements will guide you toward the realization of your aspirations.


This article is dedicated to Shelby D and anyone perplexed by the intricate aspects of photography. Its purpose is to inspire them to let go of their concerns and begin directing their attention toward capturing moments and enjoying themselves inside the art.

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