Photographer Chase Jarvis recently began a campaign encouraging everyone, professional and novice alike, to shoot whenever the moment strikes. Pleasantly free of technical constraints, the philosophy is simple: the best camera is the one that's with you.
Perhaps a year ago, a friend and colleague said, "all you need is a box with a hole in it." That elicits the vision of a pinhole camera (which is becoming an oddly, perhaps ironically common-place scene mode on compact and micro 4/3 cameras), but I like to imagine that there's an APS-C or larger sensor on the other side of that hole (which is filled with a prime lens), or maybe even a 35mm or 4x5 negative, if not something even sexier to the camera obsessed crowd. But, a chimp could wield a set-up worth twenty grand and never produce the insightful images a thoughtful artist may create with the simplest point-and-shoot. Given the chance, perhaps we'd get some interesting results if a hundred chimps were let loose with a hundred systems, but, who would want to clean up?
When someone asks my opinion I'll gauge the content of our conversation but try to remain true to the point, although certain equipment may be more versatile, what counts is the person behind the camera. "You be the zoom. Use your feet." "The camera isn't always right-- it doesn't know what you're shooting." And so forth. I can be snobby about lenses until the cows come home but that doesn't change the fact that wonderful imagery can be made via the cheapest equipment.
Last night I attended a pal's birthday bash at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis. The opening band and Ada Jane played great sets, cupcakes were on hand, dancing was had, and I cursed myself for forgetting my pocket camera. But, I made an image anyway. Even though the resolution makes me weep (well, at least wince)--and please, honored viewer, for the love of all that is upheld as proper in digital photography, please don't magnify the image with your handy loupes or command-plus key strokes--remember that this is posted because the idea is where it starts, and sometimes visual impact is possible without smooth tones. The aura hits close to the vision.
Gear: mobile phone LG VX8360