Several years ago, I saved up for months and then spent a small fortune buying my first “real” camera: a good, sturdy “state of the art” Nikon SLR . I then proceeded to save up for a few more months and spend a slightly bigger “small fortune” to buy different kinds of lenses: wide angle, telephoto, etc along with a host of accessories.
Whether this interesting saving and spending pattern was a reflection of meager means or lack of parsimony though is not the point, point being that I thought I could become a “good” photographer by owning proper equipment, learning how to use said equipment and then simply keep taking good photographs until National Geographic came knocking. Of course, “back then” taking a photograph was a process that involved buying film, being careful (really careful) with the framing, timing, exposure, aperture and light settings, using up the “roll” and then expectantly waiting -days in some cases- while the prints were developed into photographs which then made their way into ornate photo boxes or photo albums .
Fast forward a couple of decades. I saw a rainbow on my way home from work this evening (no I am not going poetic on you – I literally saw a rainbow!). I whipped out my phone and tap, tap – seconds later, the memory was captured forever and on its way to my email inbox where it can be archived, indexed and retrieved at a moment’s notice.
Now I will not even try to pretend that the accompanying pictures are photographic masterpieces. However what the camera in my phone allows me to do is, quite literally, capture the moment. And increasingly I have found that to be very compelling – to chronicle life as it happens rather than wait for the perfect confluence of superior optics, electronics and circumstances. I value these ad-hoc pictures as much as I do my finest “pro” attempts, so much so that I only use my own handiwork on these pages to go along with my words. I will pick a fuzzy rainbow –but one that happened in my life on my terms- over the finest one that graces the cover of National Geographic any day. Beauty may only be skin deep, but it does lie best in the eye of the beholder.