View Full Version : The status photographer

03-12-2011, 02:34 PM
Probably well before the "Digital Age" of photography some people have "bought" their so called status in various aspects from the marketplace. Photography is no different. Now you're asking yourself ,"What is he getting at?" Look at it this way. A $1000.00 fishing rod wont make you catch bigger fish, A ferrari dosn't make you a better driver and a High end top brand camera will not make you a better photographer if you don't know how to use these products.
Let me start off with something that happened to me just over a year ago. I was outside enjoying the summer with my camera in hand when my neighbor came over and started a chat. He noticed my Dslr and with cocked head and superior attitude said," oh you have a Rebel, Mine's a 5D mark II." I felt a little inferior camera complex starting. I just said ,"yeah". And went on my way. Now like most of us ,we all have that itch to check out and wanting the top end stuff. But that was all I could afford at the time. Now I have seen pictures on the internet that my neighbor has taken and have come to the conclusion that a high end camera to him is just a status symbol. His pictures really aren't that striking. I get a laugh now from various photography sites I vist when I see a "Product list" detailing every peice of equipment they own in their signiature line as if they feel the need to "Impress" the rest of us. All I see is that they have more money and are a potential target for theives on the internet.
Today I read two articles in one of the online photography mags. One point the first author wrote about was he was at a seminar when one father and son duo approached him and asked what type of camera did he use for the pics he was displaying . The photographer replied Leica. The father turned to his son and said" I will buy you one when you get better ". Obviously the father was ignorant to the fact that the camera was not high end. The author continues his story by telling us that he has beeen to galleries in which all the photography was done with point and shoot cameras. The gallery was full and the pictures were selling. The author even bought one himself. In the the same article the writer mentions that the magazine he works for had an issue where all the photographers assignments had to be shot with an entry level DSLR. I thought that that was an awsome idea.
In the same issue another writer was aked how to become a pro. His answer in short was that one has to have high end gear to make it in the industry. Did the editor not catch this??? I could only shake my head.
I have read that some photography students have gotten a scholarship with just using their iphone.
A store I frequent for some gear gives me the service of someone buying high end gear when in fact I'm there asking questions and buying a lens hood or a filter for a newly aquired peice of gear that i bought on the internet for a fraction of the cost. And they don't balk at my gear. I asked one salesperson if he had sold any $30,000.00 Hasselblad cameras i see on display. He said he has never seen any sales on that item. But also went on to mention that while attending a college photography course , one of his classmates had one ( his parents had bought it for him). He didn't have it a few days before he dropped it in class and destroyed it. You might think that a purchase such as this one would have insured it for such a reason. But the sad fact is he didn't and now has a really expensive paperweight. Staus symbol? I think so! LOL!!!
Once in every while i see a post in which one asks "what camera do you have?", or ,"which camera should I buy?" Every newbie has done this. i think i did as well. For me it all comes down to what i could afford and grow with. I'm not knocking the few of you that have the high end models of whatever brand you have that know how to use it. It's the people out there that buy the most expensive things in life as to show off. Don't get me wrong I too want better equipment and i will as time goes by. But for right now I work with what i've got and learn with what the limitations of both me and my equipment are. Being a member on this sight has made me a better photographer , not my budget.

03-12-2011, 03:00 PM
I started off with the Nikon D40X, one camera above the lowest on the end of beginner dslrs. That baby did me well! I still use it today when I don't feel like taking the big one out. The point for me when I decided to upgrade..was when the camera wasn't to my level anymore. I am proud to say, I outgrew the camera and was ready for more functions and abilities. With the new camera, I have more options for my shots..but who would know that if they are only using auto?

I get asked all the time what camera to get. My reply to every person (and some really don't like it) is to by a beginner dslr. When you have that camera used and it begins to have limits for you..then you can decide on your own what camera to get..because by then you'll know what you want out of a camera.

I see too many people spend soo much money on gear and personally..it makes me jealous. lol. Yes, jealous that I can't do that. Especially when I know they don't have a clue how to use it.

And with all that, please don't think I know it all. I am having fun learning my new camera, always learning!

03-12-2011, 03:02 PM
Your right on with what my point is kat! thats a great addition

03-12-2011, 04:13 PM
A familiar story and an even more familiar viewpoint! Cheers! I'll chime in agreement with everything said! :)

03-12-2011, 05:31 PM
Being the newest kid on the block, I do know that what it is costing me to enter the DSLR world, is about the same $$ as what it cost me to buy my first olympus C740 with 10x optical zoom, many moons ago :headslap: I can't believe that i dished out that much money way back then, for what amounts to a simple P/S by todays standards.

Good point though....

03-12-2011, 06:13 PM
I have said this before and say it again, it is not the camera but the photographer. I have sold two prints now that I had hanging in a gallery shot on a Kodak Z710 and I did not make less money because they were shot on that kodak. I have never sold a single print where anyone asked what camera I had. At shows I get the occasional question but I usually just say a mix of digital and analogue equipment and leave it at that.

03-12-2011, 08:03 PM
you find that in almost everything- the guitar player with the most expensive guitar but can't play more then 3 chords. I see it often in the horseworld all the time. I know someone who pay $50,000 for a horse she doesn't ride.

03-12-2011, 11:26 PM
My first digital camera was an Agfa plastic piece of ****e and I was thrilled with it, 2.3 mega pixels! The camera broke down within months but I was hooked. A friend then gave me a Minolta dimage 4 MP point and shoot and the addiction continued. My first DSLR was an Olympus E-500 with two kit lenses...Now I'm a junkie:laughing: I eventually ended up with an Olympus E-510 and E-3 which I stuck with for quite a while thinking I had the two cameras I was going to stick with for a long time. As I got more involved I realized the cameras though good had shortcomings that I regarded as Limitations. I looked for a camera system at that point which would remove those limitations and also fit with the vision I had as to where I wanted to take my photography. I ended up choosing the Nikon D-700 and D 90. At that time I was done with bodies or so I thought. The D90 started to bother me though because I didn't like the lightweight plastic feel and the menu was completely different from the D700 so I replaced it with the D300s, there and then I knew I was done with bodies. These are the two cameras I'll use until they burn out or I burn out:laughing: I consider myself a fair shooter with miles of learning to do and while the window of finance was open I wanted a system that would not limit my ability to be the best I could be. I'll be the first to admit that with the D700 I'm like a Cessna pilot at the helm of a 747 :laughing: but it has lots of room for me to grow into it and every time I get the itch to try something new, I know the camera can handle it so I'm never looking at a camera and wishing I had one. I look at the D3 and the D3x and have zero desire to own them. I have what I need to go where I want to go and then some. Now if you want to talk about glass, I'm still itchy:laughing: but with economics being the way the are I'm very much having to come to the realization that the four primes and one telephoto I own are going to have to suffice for quite a while. Again, I picked out the lenses I though would serve me best as I grow and so far I'm happy with my choices. You can make a good image with any camera iphones and pinholes included but important to me is the ability to have creative control as the stuff I want to do will demand it. So the long and short of it for me is I have the system I always wanted and if I fail to get where I want to go it most certainly won't be the gear that failed me. containing the excitement of the possibilities makes it hard to sleep some nights though. I could have thrown some pretty cool parties, bought a way cooler car or traveled to some pretty exotic places with the money I spent on my gear but I saw a window open and made what I feel was a good choice:)

03-17-2011, 09:37 AM
Fab post KB and of course I agree!

If people have money to burn feel free to burn it. A 5D mark 2 is a better camera than a rebel in the hands of someone skilled, not so much for a rookie or a dabbler.... Most people though do not have money to burn and that 5d mark 2 may be as useful as a gym membership on February 1.

75 – How to buy your first DSLR | Photography podcast blog and forum - Photography.ca (http://www.photography.ca/blog/2009/12/11/how-to-buy-your-first-dslr/) just posting this again in case anyone wants to take a listen...but one of the summary points is.... Save your cash for lenses and a better body until u know what you are doing.

Wicked Dark
03-17-2011, 04:07 PM
It pains me every time a good photographer friend admits with feigned chagrin that he chose Canon for the white L lenses. That Nikon might have had equal or better glass but that no one else would know he had them because they're all the same color. I really want to smack him with that obnoxious white "status" symbol when I hear him.

03-17-2011, 05:10 PM
I personally had a related incident quite a few years ago that I never forgot. I was out in a location known by people as a good clear place to sight in your rifle prior to hunting season. I had a WWII .303 Lee Enfield that had been sportorized and had used it for many years. Some guy drove up with a friend of his and waited until I was finished at which time we started chatting and he asked what rifle I had. When I told him he chuckled out loud and so his friend could hear, asked if I didn't have any pride. When I asked what he was talking about he started on about my rifle being an old .303. I asked if he was a lawyer or engineer and he asked why. I said "because you think money buys pride". He didn't say word so I knew I'd hit close to home. I turned and walked down-range to get my target and stand and as he was walking down to put up his target he kept it up jabbering at his obviously newbee buddy about the cost of his rifle. When we got down to the end his buddy looked at my target and said "WOW". Mr big man shut his mouth and didn't say a word the whole walk back. The point is, as with any tool, the skill in use comes from the craftsman wielding the tool. I don't care if it's a cabinetmaker, jeweler, carpenter, welder, photographer, whatever...you need the skill to get the most out of the tool. Yes there are times when superior skill warrants superior quality tools but only those at the top can truely consistently benefit from the capabilities of their tools. The rest of us buy the best quality we can at the time and hope we gain the skill to use them. While some of us have different needs for what the tools can do, very few of us have skills that surpass the capabilities of those tools.

03-17-2011, 07:00 PM
Well said Andrew. And I'd prize a WWII Lee Enfield over a new one any day of the week. That Moron should have basked in the glow of such an Iconic peice!

03-20-2011, 03:36 PM
I found this recently:

Buying a Nikon doesn't make you a photographer. It makes you a Nikon owner. ~Author Unknown

I am, at least, a proud Nikon D90 owner, if nothing else. This quote does, in a pretzel logic kind of way, support the sentiment of the OP.

03-20-2011, 06:38 PM
I like that quote Gremlich