Jul 5, 2011

Point and Shoot Philosophy

Since going digital back in 2004, I've had four cameras.  They've all been Sony Cybershots, all point-and-shooters, and all great cameras.  With the exception of the very first one I owned, which I dropped and mangled the lens, I've held on to these cameras as prized possessions.  The newest of the bunch being my DSC-W570.

What I love about a good point and shoot camera is that there's nothing very ostentatious about it.  People don't take you too seriously when you're pointing one in their direction, and when you're not using it it can sit comfortably in your back pocket.  In a world that's become riddled with overnight photographers and cell phone journalists, the point and shoot camera is somehow more genuine.  It says you care enough about your photos to own a dedicated camera, but that you're also willing to be part of the moment - not constantly holding it like your phone, or in your face like an SLR.

As I've said many times before, I use an SLR on an almost daily basis for the web photography I do.  It's great to work with and I have nothing but appreciation for those who live by the high-end equipment they use.  There's joy in simplicity however, and it's easy to forget how much the advent of digital photography has changed our relationship to the process.

Take your point and shoot and capture your friends and family.  Photograph the obscure, snap a sunset, and document your favorite things.  Outside of another Instagram app on the iPhone or another polished SLR exposure, the point and shoot is to photography what the Bolex camera was for me in film school.  It's a starter piece, a standard, and a simple work-horse that produces amazing results.  The subtle imperfections of a point and shoot actually show more character in my honest opinion.

Step back from your preset iPhone filters, your racking focus, and precise exposures for just a minute to take a genuine snapshot.  Consider it a creative exercise.  Like we used to do when trying to finish a roll of Kodak, grab your point and shoot and play.

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