More often than not, I get to be asked what gear does one need to do fine art photography. So let me see what’s in my camera bag.
1 Full Frame Camera
1 17-40 Lens
1 24-105 Lens
1 4gb CF Card
1 16gb CF Card
1 Cable release
1 ND 400
And that’s it. I have had this setup in the last 4 years. I’ve had a lot more when I was starting out. I had multiple short and long lenses, a flash and lots more of CF cards. But when I decided focus on the things I wanted to do, I intentionally sold the gear that would not help. I guess that’s the key. Know thyself and align everything towards it. Know and then simplify. Focus your mind. Compose yourself. The gear would follow.
But wait, let me expand a tad more and state the not so obvious.
Light, rain, fog, mist – these are all tools. They are not gear inside your bag that you can easily control but they are tools nonetheless. You shape the shadows, burn down the highlights, look for a better angle and wait for the right time. You use them. You try to manipulate them. Whether by changing your angle or by post-processing, you try to align them with what you see in your head. All of these in the service of your vision. Being dictated by these things are somehow akin to being limited by what’s only in your bag.
While it is true that you need gear and tools to create, it cannot be denied that the only thing a creation needs is a creator. The tools are there to help – not to create. It is you that creates. You see, it is not about the light. It’s about connection. It is about you.
In the end, cameras and lenses are like pens and typewriters for writers. And beautiful light is like beautiful words.
But let me ask you; do pens and typewriters create beautiful words? and does beautiful words means poetry?