It’s Not About The Megapixels!
Time and time again I have people come up to me and say something to the effect of: “Wow, that’s a great photograph… what camera do you use? How many megapixels?” While the first part of the sentence is always nice to hear, the second part will make any photographer roll his eyes inside and just think to himself “Ah, here we go again…” I really can’t blame people for asking such a question though. Almost the whole digital camera industry keeps on pitching that magic word to the masses: megapixels. It seems to be the Holy Grail of digital photography. What will make you keep up with the Joneses. The more the better? Actually, no, not necessarily. I won’t elaborate on this last statement, however, since it’s both beyond the scope of this post and beside the point.
Consider this. Have you ever found yourself asking an oil painter: “Wow, that’s a great painting… what brush do you use? What’s your pigment/oil ratio?” Right. There might be a place for such questions, but not as a conversation starter. Reducing an artist to the tools he uses is not the right approach, trust me. I am tempted to think that this also stems from the misconception that virtually anyone can pick up an expensive camera and instantaneously become Ansel Adams. To keep the same reference point, if I give you the best of brushes, canvases and oil paints, will you instantaneously become Rembrandt?
There’s obviously much more to a piece of art than the tools used to create it. Granted, it’s extremely easy to take a photograph: you just have to press a button. But guess what? It doesn’t automatically spew out a masterpiece. An artistic predisposition certainly helps… to which you can add years of experience. Yes, years of experience are usually necessary to master ones craft, unless you’re a genius. This goes for any discipline: doctor, engineer, lawyer, you name it. You’ve got to practice to be good at it. It’s definitely important to have the right tools, but the tools alone won’t make the art. The artist will.