Are You Jack White, Jimmy Page, or The Edge?

Started Aug 11, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Are You Jack White, Jimmy Page, or The Edge?
Aug 11, 2010

Greetings guys

I just published this post on my website.  It might make for an interesting discussion.

Last week I watched a movie called It Might Get Loud.  The movie chronicled the history of three very well known guitarists: Jack White, most notably from The White Stripes and The Raconteurs, The Edge from U2, and Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin.  Much of the movie revolved around their fascination, and continuing love affair, with the electric guitar.

What irked me throughout the movie, however, was how Jack White purposely wanted to struggle with the guitar.  He even went so far as to purchase poor quality plastic guitars, damaged ones, and defectives ones.  He felt that in order to get the most out of his instrument, it was important that he battle with it.  At one point he even said, "Ease of use is the disease that you have to fight in any field."  At first, I didn't get it.  Was this guy into making life more difficult than it needed to be?

A few days later it hit me.  What the guitar is to Jack White, is exactly what the camera is to me.  I want to be constantly confronted by the imperfections and limitations of the gear that I use.  I don't want the perfect lens and body combination (not that there is such a thing), I too want to struggle with my equipment.  As White said with regards to electric guitars: "pick a fight with it...and win the fight."  Through my struggles with the camera, I believe that I'm forced to be unique and creative in my approach to photography.  That may explain why I haven't upgraded camera bodies for the last few product cycles.

I want photography to be a struggle, and a challenge, because that ongoing fight will push me to experiment.  I want to conquer the obstacles that my gear presents me with, because I've found that that's when there's more authenticity to my images.  Imperfect gear forces me to think on the spot and come up with creative solutions to gear deficiencies.  Moreover, if I'm constantly on my toes, I won't become that lazy, predictable, and complacent photographer that has an over reliance on the newest technology.  For myself, I've come to realize that it's not about near perfect scores on resolution charts, as much as it is about character.

If you've seen the movie, or plan on seeing it, ask yourself: "Are you Jack White, Jimmy Page, or The Edge, when it comes to your approach to photography?"


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