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The Photograph & You >

8 Reasons for Good Photographs >

24.2 - Equipment

#2: Equipment

For some photographers, their equipment is the most important part of their way-of-working.

That's okay.

For others, equipment is not as important as beginning photographers often think.

Martin Guitar

Yes, a great tool in one's hands is powerful.

As a boy, I played classical guitar.

I was able to purchase the least expensive guitar from a fine maker of guitars (Martin).

I didn't understand what I held in my hands until I was at a biology club meeting at a classmates home.

I borrowed his guitar, and played some Fernando Sor.

The guitar felt dead.

I loved my own guitar more.

Cardboard Boxes

• Yet, great tools are also cardboard boxes.

Marcia C. Sheer was a great friend.

We met when she became my teaching assistant.

In her sixties, she had been a fabric designer, painter, and was now a photographer.

She photographed and exhibited all over the world with her cardboard-box pinhole cameras.

I remember meeting her at a Chinatown (NYC) restaurant for lunch.

Marcia arrived before me, and was almost kicked out of the establishment.

They had thought she was a homeless woman because of the cardboard boxes in her shopping cart.

She had to show them that she was a photographer.


Photographers can adjust to what they have available to them, at the moment.

Frederick Sommer had an 8x10 inch view camera, but the lens was for a 4x5 camera.

The light from the lens did not reach to the edges of the 8x10 inch negatives.

Unless, that is, Sommer did close-ups.

So he photographed still lifes, and nature, up close.1


A photographer brought along a photograph when she went to a friend's dinner party. Her friend accepted the gift and admired the photograph, adding:

You must have such a nice camera.

The photographer, at the end of the evening, said to her friend:

Thanks so much. That was a lovely meal. Your pots and pans must be very nice.


In his blog, Hugh MacLeod wrote a list of creativity tips:

10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.

Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me.

Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.2



2 MacLeod, H. (2004, July 25). How to be creative.