A couple months ago, I got a message through my Instagram page from a young man who is an aspiring photographer asking me about my equipment. It took me back to when I had just started out and I was asking every single person I saw with a camera for their advice. I think without the advice of those people, I wouldn’t have gotten to the place that I’m at now. So I replied to his message and we started a conversation. Somewhere in that conversations he implied that my photographs were god because of my equipment and for some reason that comment hurt.
Photography isn’t just the equipment you carry and the settings you use. Of course, those two things are a major part of creating great images but there is so much more.
Take this image for example. This photo shoot was done in an old warehouse in the back of Chaguaramas that had been taken over by Trinidad Skateboarding Development. There was a combination of dust and rust on every surface in sight. When we arrived that morning we also came across the “tenant” of the building who thankfully left us to our work. My model, professional as ever, lay down on this rust, rickety bench and I perched precariously on top of the rusted out bench rails.
To get this photo, I lay down on hot asphalt and was left with burns from my chin to my knees for the better part of two weeks. When you look at a photograph you’re not just seeing the image in your hand or on your screen. You’re seeing the hours of thought it took to come up with that concept. You’re seeing the sore arms that carried the equipment that set up the shot. You’re seeing scraped knees, sunburnt bodies, bug bites. That photograph carries within it the years that photographer took to hone their craft. You’re looking the editing that took hours behind a computer screen.
Photography is so much more than just the photo you’re seeing and the equipment and settings that were used.