End of the year…. finally

2010, Photography

The year 2010 has almost ended. I usually try to avoid resolutions for new years, but I had hoped to intensify my photography this year. More street, more portraits, starting new projects and keep continuing my long-term project of my son. The first half year I wasn’t really that productive, although I had a second chance to try the Ricoh GXR. I wrote an article about my photography for a Dutch photography magazine and I was interviewed by Mookio for her Ricoh GRD book. I am still honored and grateful that I could collaborate with them both. I became a member of local photography club which gave me a good opportunity to meet other photographers. We photographed in the Dutch city Deventer with a couple of good company photographers (see the three images below).

Camera used: Ricoh GR Digital III

Last summer I broke my back which kept me from shooting a couple of months. I lost many of my photographs when my hard drive felt on the floor, but it also gave me a chance to change my back up scheme. I sort of lost my inspiration, but gave it all a rest. In the meantime I have done the typical “dpreview” thing thinking about a new camera and elaborating what I really need for my photography.

I want to continue with street photography, since that is what I have always wanted to do since the mid Nineties. I also want to focus on more portraits, probably mostly environmental portraits. Therefore I figured out that I still want a camera with a smaller form factor and either a 35 or 40mm lens. Although I really love the perspective of the 50mm I still prefer a 35 or 40mm for practicality.

Currently I am testing the Ricoh GXR again with both the A12 50mm macro lens and the new A12 28mm lens. Not too long ago Steve Huff gave a raving “real world” review of this combo, which you can read here. And I will posting another article about this camera early next year. Partly ´cause Ricoh introduced the new A12 28mm lens, but also since they introduced a new firmware which reportedly improved the AF of the A12 50mm lens. I won´t spoil the outcome yet, but I do want to share some first images from the new A12 28mm lens.

And this all brings me to my last 2010 rambling. Gear, you love it or you hate it. But I guess everyone does have an opinion about it. Even those who never talk about it know very well what serves them best. We all know too well if we have gear that we master or that we are slaves of the master. I always smile when I read a pro doing it with less, although they are usually comfortable with some of the best stuff around. And they should have the best. They need reliability and want happy customers anytime. They have bills to pay. But we? Do we really need that Canon EOS 1D-Mark IV or Nikon D3S?

You know, with digital photography we have all witnessed an incredible increase in above average photographers. Nowadays it becomes very common that uncle Joe takes his 5D-Mark II with L-glass to his sister´s wedding and is just as well equipped as the official photographer. I know of some forums where amateur photographers have truly expensive medium format cameras and all they care is the resolution and huge size of their images (be warned, large images!). Yeah sure, if you can afford it, spent it, be happy you know, whatever. But come on, be realistic sometimes too. If they can spent all that money on gear, why don´t they take some proper lessons first, a workshop, some books. The thing is, that it can become a norm too. Take a look at some of those fun image threads. Those who share their images have often good gear. You won´t see any images taken with a Nikon D60 or Canon EOS 550D, but look on Flickr for instance and you will see a lot of competent photographers with these less expensive cameras.

Most photography related websites and forums rely on gear talk and nothing else. Photography seems irrelevant and that worries me. People are worried that you are only taken serious when you have the right and best gear. Even at the photography club we make jokes that when someone took a good photograph it must have been taken with a Canon. Some photographers just drive more traffic to their websites because they use a particular top notch camera. We are concerned about something the rest of the world just don´t care. They don´t buy a Frans Lanting book, because he uses Nikon cameras. They don´t visit a Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition, because he used Leica most of his career.  They want to see the photographs, they want to experience their view of our world. And that is what matters with photography. The power of photography is the expression of our emotions, our visions, of beauty, and horror.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and a great photographic 2011.

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma