Are cameras too good??

Thursday night I was assigned to photograph a band at the Metro, a local rock club. Upon arriving at the event, I noticed that there were 11 photographers in the (very small) photo pit. So I decided to stay out of the way until they were all finished with their three songs. The show started and the first thing I noticed was that the band (Yeasayer) was playing in almost total darkness. The only lights for the show were behind the band and on the floor under them. There was absolutely no light directly hitting any of the band members. But, during those first three songs, the 11 photographers were merrily snapping away (one guy was using an iPhone as his camera of choice). Once they all left, I entered the pit and began to shoot. The light started getting a little better, but not by much. Because of the amazing chip in my camera (Nikon D700) I was fairly confident that I was getting some pretty good stuff, as it is known as a low light camera.

During my drive home, I started a conversation with myself in my head (nothing much else in there to get in the way). With cameras and outboard equipment and tools getting so much better year after year,  does one need any photographic talent anymore? (last night I was photographing a play, and backstage before the performance, I was standing next to Tim Kazurinsky, a legendary Saturday Night Live comedian and writer, who was cleaning his glasses. He asked me if I needed his cloth to clean mine, and then joked “ Oh yeah, autofocus, you don’t need to see to take pictures any more.”).

The morning after the show, I edited my photos. The colors were kind of weird- when you go to high ISO, the camera doesn’t reproduce color like at low ISO, but the images were pretty nice. Not my best work, but perfectly usable images- images that couldn’t have been taken 2 years ago.

So, what does this all mean? With cameras getting to the point where anyone can shoot a picture, and with most photo usage being web based, does one need to have any photographic talent any more? Is photography getting to be like recording music, where the person sings whatever they like as badly as they want, and the engineer “Fixes it in the mix?”

I am not so sure, but those conversations in my head are sure getting interesting!

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