Saturday, February 16, 2013

Appreciating On Technical Merits

     It seems there's a trend happening that I find quite irritating.  I welcome and appreciate technology's fast evolution and making life more easier.  What I don't like is how people hype and over advertise products when it's not called for.
     I'm talking about the eternal battle of a gadget vs SLR.  At every corner, there always seems to be a comparison against the big cameras.  Whether a small point-and-shoot, or a phone with a camera, or a media player.  Anything that has a decent camera functionality in it.  I wonder, why each ad or forum can't resist comments like, "better than your DSLR" or "get rid of your bulky DSLR" or "just as good as your DSLR."  When it comes to performance, I agree that there are many out there that can be used as an alternative to the big cameras.  But why does the target always have to be DSLR?  I can't remember anything that says, "This phone's camera can beat the crap out of your point-and-shoot."  It's always an attack towards the big and bulky DSLRs.  What have they done to deserve this?  I rarely see any ad or conversation where DSLRs attack the small cameras.  As almost all photographers know, it wouldn't matter much which camera you're using.

     Almost every experienced photographers are overexposed to the cliche` quotes and they themselves say it, more often than necessary.  Quotes like, "The best camera is the one that you have with you." or "It's not the camera that makes good photos, it's the one using it." and many more.  These are fine quotes and are true.  They're over-spoken, and if you mention these to another photographer, it's shrugged off.  Why?  You're preaching to the choir.  But what sometimes gets on my nerves is when non-DSLR owners use these quotes to someone using a DSLR.  A friend of mine once showed me some of those stuff on Facebook, and although I agree with whatever those stuff are saying, I'm also a bit irked.  Two things came to my mind:
  1. Either you think I made bad photos and you can do better.
  2. You're just jealous and simply want to feel better by making my feel bad.
     But since he's my friend, I just gave him the benefit of the doubt and agreed with those.  I never told anyone that I could take better pictures now because I have a DSLR.  Yet somehow, some of my friends give me sour-grape comments by owning one.  It's annoying.

     On a forum I used to hang out, someone expressed his frustration towards these phone owners talking bad about his DSLR.  Keep in mind that this is a photography forum where almost everyone has a big camera.  The person opens the thread with what phone owners tell him about how bad his big camera is.  "It's bulky."  "It's heavy."  "Just because you have a DSLR doesn't mean you take great pictures."  "My phone can do better."  "My phone can do this and that." and the common stuff we hear, and often even say.  As we all know the negative sides of a big camera.  This person then proceeds to what he thinks his DSLR can do that phones just can't.  Speed, reliability, accuracy, resolution, sensor image, and what not.  Again, let me remind you that this is a forum populated by DSLR owners.  As I nod and empathize to this guy who just want phone owners to leave him alone, I was taken aback by the replies.  "You must have a really really really nice camera then... /end sarcasm."  And others to that effect.

     In my experience, with my very small acquaintances of SLR owners, I have not seen one who boasted his camera specs against the smaller ones.  I have never heard or said, "Your phone sucks and my DSLR is better."  So I don't understand why some people give me such a hard time with my camera.  It pisses me off sometimes that I just lose interest on sharing the photos I've taken... or write about it.

     And then comes when I come to Facebook and comment on some of my friends's pictures.  Some of them have big cameras, some of them don't.  But what I like is that they share.  What I don't like is when they reply to my "liking" or commenting on their shared pictures.

     It's mostly my Filipino friends whom I have issue with this.  I see a picture I liked, I hit like.  If I like it quite a lot, I leave a comment.  And then comes their reply:
"Thanks.  You know I only took this with a Nokia 3310."
(I'm paraphrasing and the phone model is just symbolism.)
     This happens a lot.  And although I could give merit to them using whatever camera they have, I'm also insulted.  Photographs are mostly appreciated because of the content.  I know, I do.  I am aware that they didn't use big cameras and that's not why I'm liking the photo.  I never mentioned composition or exposure.  I just liked the photo as a person, not as a photographer. 

     Do people really expect their Facebook photos liked on its technical merits?  I don't think so.  I know I don't.  I appreciate their sharing a photo that makes me relate to them.  And since I'm in an eternal long distance relationship with these friends of mine, I'm happy with just a simple snap shot of them.  I automatically look past the blurriness, poor resolution, bad composition, distasteful lighting, inaccurate focus, and unappealing exposure.  That's because I just like their shared pictures as it reminds me of the days when we were together/young.  It also updates me of how they are nowadays.  Or just that I simply like it.  So unless I'm asked for my opinion as a photographer, I really ignore the technicalities.  This is what my friends don't seem to understand.

    I hope this reaches out to my friends without offending them.  It's not my intention to find them at fault.  But it's just (recently) getting on my nerves whenever I give credit to their photo, and I get an insult in return.  So, my friends, please keep taking pictures and keep sharing them.

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