Through the Lens

Looking through the lens using the aperture of a camera

I capture moments forever frozen in time. The very essence of life is paused for eternity as I gaze upon its image. It’s through an external lens that I can grab a piece of your soul and tell a story. Photography, much like the act of writing, reveals a version of the truth through someone else’s perspective. The surrounding setting, the way I angle and pose the subject, and the pieces of information I use to create a work of art can drastically change the way you see something.

We are in a new age now where anyone can start their own business and try something new. The tools for a new hobby or a new career are readily accessible. With my smartphone, the incorporated camera, and my series of social media platforms logged into through applications on my phone I can create new content and join the ongoing conversation with the rest of the world online. However, can the advent and the improvement of the smartphone camera replace the need for mirrorless cameras, DSLRs, or professional photographers?

I received my first camera flip phone in 2004/2005. I was a freshman in high school, and I used up all of the phone’s storage on terrible renditions of popular songs re-recorded as annoying beeps for ringtones and fuzzy images of my friends and me hiking and camping in the woods. I wouldn’t print any of those images if my life depended on it. The photos were pretty awful.

By the time I entered college I was gifted my first smartphone. The photos looked a little better, and I ended up storing even more vaguely fuzzy images on my phone. My brand-new Facebook account would get flooded with uploaded mobile images of interesting pieces of art I encountered, photos of my architecture models, and selfies with friends. It was around this time that I also got my first DSLR and quickly phased out the use of the generic camera embedded into my bulky phone. However, over the years I can admit that I used my DSLR less as the cameras on smartphones developed into better tools for quick and easy photography.

I was recently gifted a more up-to-date DSLR that I have since used to snap photos of items for projects, images of landscapes, and some events and I was reminded of how the images produced by DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are significantly better in quality compared to even the best smartphones. There’s obviously more skill required to capture altered images the way that you would like on a better standalone camera, but the upside is that you have the option to stray from the fixed settings that can ruin moments of opportunity to collect beautiful frozen moments in time.

I’ve instructed non-professional friends and family members to take photos of me before either on the go or during vacations. In my head, I have a vision of how I want to see myself standing against the background setting. What I get as my smartphone is returned to me is something nothing like what I had hoped to see. You can tell the difference between people who know what they are doing compared to people who just point and shoot. There’s something missing in the image, which is okay for a quick Instagram or Facebook post, but for more important situations I tend to turn elsewhere. It is because of this that a professional photographer with the right equipment is still also necessary.

Photographers have an eye, the knowledge of the required equipment, and skills for editing raw images and creating gorgeous works of art. When you hire a photographer, you hire an artist with applied technical skills. You hire someone that is more likely to capture the best version of yourself or any given subject. A photographer, much like an experienced writer, can take a seemingly ordinary moment in time and turn it into a masterpiece.

3 thoughts on “Through the Lens

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