It's not about the camera


I took 4 trips to South San Francisco this weekend and attended the 2nd San Francisco Photo Expo.  I was there last year and wasn't sure if I wanted to go again, until I saw Bambi Cantrell, Jim Divitale as the keynote speakers.  I was super excited!

Bambi has been in the industry for over 30 years and was the WPPI photography contest judge (note: WPPI's annual photography trade show is the largest in the industry and this year alone was well attended by over 14,000 photographers in Las Vegas).  

Jim Divitale, needless to say, is a "celebrity" (also with 30+ years experience), and has won so many highest awards by manufacturers such as Canon, Kodak etc.  A digital photography "guru", Jim is a go-to-person for software leaders such as Adobe, Nik Software, X-Rite etc before any new product releases.  He's an artist, educator and a writer, and his opinions influence the photography industry.

I was fortunate enough to meet Bambi and Jim, and a few other accomplished photographers, and experience their passion in photography, and LIFE!   The beautiful images they created are not about the camera (or lenses), but the person behind the camera.  

When you cooked a great meal for others, few would ask what stove you use...
— Bambi Cantrell

"When you cooked a great meal for others, few would ask what stove you use..." as Bambi put it, "but how many times people would ask 'what camera you use' after seeing a beautiful image?"

Interestingly, in my own photo journey, I used to travel with SLRs, both film and digital, far less advanced than what the market offers right now.  I knew nothing about photoshop and had no clue about "retouching" or "post-processing" for years.  As I matured, practiced, and gradually defined and redefined "beauty", "quality", "lifestyle", and "happiness", I noticed the difference in the images I captured, even for the same subject, or at the same place.  It was not about the camera, but about how I managed the camera and lighting, and more importantly, how I observe and interpret...  about life!

I believe every artist has his/her own unique path, and thus the images we capture are mere reflection of ourselves.  "There is no good or bad histogram", as Jim put it... Similarly, there is no good or bad interpretation of life.  We simply capture who we are, and what we are connected with, be it a look, a place, an emotional expression, a spirit or soul deeply hidden inside a human being...  Maybe that is why I have been deeply in love with photography for so many years.  

There are so many things, places and human beings to discover, and each new discovery to me means something, and brings me to a new level of understanding and appreciation of life.

After the expo, I came back and dug out some pictures I took in Evanston/Chicago a few months ago and posted some on my personal website.  Most of the pictures were taken at my school campus in Evanston - I have possibly photographed the same place many times over the last 10 years, but each time I discovered something new, something different.  

Bambi, Jim, thanks for the new inspiration! 


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