I grant that I have a style that isn't heavily dependent on technology or post-production, but even if I did, it would be in my best interest to make sure it was serving my needs instead of the other way around.
In a recent article in the New York Times Magazine, author Kevin Kelley described what he thought the proper role of technology in education should be. What he wrote applies equally well to photography; so much so that I've taken the liberty of quoting from his list of recommendations. Before we buy the lastest and greatest new piece of hardware or software, we would all do well to keep these thoughts in mind:
- Every new technology will bite back. The more powerful its gifts, the more powerfully it can be abused. Look for its costs.
- Technologies improve so fast you should postpone getting anything you need until the last second. Get comfortable with the fact that anything you buy is already obsolete.
- Before you can master a device, program or invention, it will be superseded; you will always be a beginner. Get good at it.
- Be suspicious of any technology that requires walls. If you can fix it, modify it or hack it yourself, that is a good sign.
- Every technology is biased by its embedded defaults: what does it assume?
- The older the technology, the more likely it will continue to be useful.
- Find the minimum amount of technology that will maximize your options.
From the comments I've received from previous posts it's obvious to me that many of you already follow many of these recommendations. That those of you who don't are often feeling the pain that comes from trying to overtake an ever-moving horizon.
If you fall into the latter category, maybe it's time to take a deep breath, relax, and remind yourself that some of the best photographs of all time were taken with cameras vastly more primitive than what you own now. Maybe you don't really need the lastest version of Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture, or that 27" self-calibrating color monitor, or that 500 terabyte, liquid-cooled RAID array. Maybe instead of more technology you need a little less, so you can spend more time improving your skills as a photographer than as a computer technician. Who knows? You might save some time, money, and maybe even your sanity.