I have a passion for digital photography and photo post production. I guess it comes from my technical background – I’ve always been a photoshop meddler, and curious about computers and hardware of all sorts. I studied computer programming and was always good with hardware – I worked for Gateway as a phone tech support rep in the 90’s. So as soon as I was able to afford one, I had a digital camera. I started off with a ‘compact’ (it wasn’t all that compact – believe me!) which dissapeared in my luggage between LA and Dublin one time, followed by a bridge digital camera which I used until it fell apart, and then finally moved on to a DSLR. The combination of using the camera hardware, lenses, flash and accessories to create something that can be manipulated later on a computer using programs such as Photoshop has always been interesting to me, and it’s brought out my creative side. As much as I’d love to, I can’t draw or paint or play music (beyond a few simple chords on the guitar) so digital photography is my single creative outlet and I really enjoy it. I’m no pro, and there’s a lot I’ve still to learn but I’ve done some nice stuff – even if I do say so myself. Some examples below.
Up until a few years ago I spent quite a bit of time taking photos with my SLR. I’d take it everywhere, take tonnes of photos (I have 68,000 in my personal collection) and spend hours afterwards cataloguing, tagging, and doing post-production work on them using Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom. I’d then post them to Flickr, and spend even more hours tagging, commenting and promoting the photos – adding them to groups, etc.
Then I bought an iPhone and it all changed. For me, the world of digital photography was thrown upside down with the advent of instagram. What I used to spend an hour doing on my SLR and Photoshop could now be completed in seconds with a few clicks on my iPhone. What’s more, I could also share my photos on flickr, twitter, facebook etc with another few clicks. From a user experience point of view, the workflow was simplified ten-fold. Sure, the results weren’t the same quality as I could get with my SLR and the options for processing my photos were limited to some preset filters and basic editing, but the benefits outweigh those limitations in the vast majority of cases. I’m lazy, and the easy route wins. Result – my SLR is gathering dust on a shelf.
However, I somehow miss the labour of love required to produce something truly unique. There isn’t that same sense of satisfaction generated from pointing my iPhone, pressing a few buttons and being done. There’s something about enjoying the output from hours of work that I just can’t get from a couple of clicks. I guess it’s probably similar to how people feel when they bake their own bread, build a house rather than buy one, fix something themselves rather than replace it or pay someone else to fix it. Maybe there’s something innate in us that compels us to feel reward for effort put in – a basic survival instinct. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it! Either way, I’m going to stop being lazy and put some more time into something I know I get great personal satisfaction from.
What do you think? Comments below…