Writers – carry a camera

IMG_0377I’ve blogged before about the value to a writer of taking photographs, not just how they are good to refer to or use in a blog, such this one, but how it also makes you look at the world a little differently.  Following on from last week’s blog, writing makes you an observer, I feel that taking photographs enhances that experience.  However, in this blog I’m making the case for carrying a camera i.e. an actual device who’s raison d’etre is taking photographs.

On a recent ski trip with seven other guys I was amazed that I was the only one carrying a camera.  Everyone else would take out their phone every now and then to take a snap.  I would add that none of us would class ourselves as exactly young anymore – let’s put it like this we were all adults when the first, brick like, mobile phones became available.  So we all have carried a camera (and yes, they would have been loaded with actual film).  So am I a dying breed?

Venice1Maybe it is the writer in me that persists with an actual camera.  I like the fact that this object is specifically designed with the sole purpose of taking photographs (OK, it does shoot video as well).  And just to prove I’m not a complete Luddite I love the digital camera, being plenty old enough to remember when they weren’t.  It is so much more useable and viewable (is that a word?).  Just to prove the point I have boxes of holiday slides (yes, slides) that haven’t seen the light of day, or a projector, for many, many years.  In fact, like I guess most people who took slides, they were only looked at once or twice immediately after the holiday or event in question.

rainI do take the odd photo on my phone, for facebook, twitter etc. or when I have no choice because I haven’t got my camera with me.  But, bottom line, I simply don’t like taking photos on a phone.  Somehow I don’t think their ‘real’ photos.  It’s a phone not a camera.  I don’t expect to make phone calls on my camera.  They’re throw away photos, there’s little care in them.  When I use a camera I know it is designed for that job alone.  It feels right in my hands as if it knows what it is and loves doing that job.  I make more effort to compose the photograph, which when viewed later makes for a much more engaging and pleasurable result and memory.  It’s not just a ‘snap’, I have put care into it.  I’m not saying you couldn’t take that same care on a phone, I saying you just don’t.  It’s as if all its other functions get in the way and therefore we don’t take it seriously as a camera.

Maybe it’s me, my age?  Or maybe it’s the writer, observer, me (last week’s blog again) that feels that extra care is worthwhile.  Writing makes you see the world a little differently, bringing it into a sharper focus, which is exactly what an actual camera does.  So if you’re a writer, or just someone who loves taking photographs, put the phone away and give your camera a chance to show what it can do.

As always comments are welcome.

Ian Martyn

Author: Ian Martyn

Science Fiction Writer

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