Is art heavy?

March 29, 2021  •  7 Comments


TetrisTetrisJoshua Tree National Park, California Tetris
Joshua Tree National Park, California

Does creating art have to be big and heavy? If you could trade your entire camera bag for the upcoming iPhone X28* and make the exact same imagery, would you? 

I see similar choices in the audio world. Do I really need separate components or will that all-in-one-pocket-sized music player suffice? 

If I really was in it for the art, for the imagery, for the music, it wouldn't matter. Yet...

Personally, I consider myself image first or music first when it comes to gear. I want my images to satisfy me, as I want my music to satisfy me.  Yet, I'd be very disappointed should a blind test reveal that I chose the iPhone X28 over my Nikon and Fuji gear. Why? 

Because, I like the gear. Pretty simple really.  I like the solid feel of a well-designed DSLR in my hands. I like the look of separate audio components with lights glowing while Bill Evans plays a soothing piano.  Their heft seems to equate something in the way of, "I'm DOING something here! I'm big, bold and fully capable."  So, size matters? At least for now I think it does. With size comes resolution which is key in both photography and music.  You want to see and hear detail because when you do it becomes closer to lifelike, the art is better able to express itself. 


*The X28 is my invention. I have no insights into what Apple is doing so don't bet the farm on this. 


lynn wohlers(non-registered)
Love it! I've been to Joshua Tree twice and am fascinated by the rock formations there. I'm with you on the primacy of making satisfying images and I don't get into the gear half as much as many people do, but I do enjoy it. For me it's not so much the size as the functionality and feel...clicking the iphone is nothing like pressing a real shutter!
Todd Henson(non-registered)
I was so extraordinarily disappointed when I learned the X28 wasn't real... I thought I could finally migrate to some lighter gear. :-) Seriously, though, I'm sure I feel some of what you're talking about, but I'm not sure how much I'm influenced by it. I'd like to think that if I could create the types of photography I like with different gear I'd be perfectly happy using it. But I'm not sure. I agree with Alex that ergonomics might be a big factor, as might preferring what I've grown used to simply because I'm used to it. And I've found having extra controls and not having to find features in menu systems is a big plus. It is food for thought. There is that thought that it should be about the photo and not the gear, but gear absolutely plays a part, can't get away from that. This reminds me of a trip my brother and I took. Part way into the day my lens got stuck on my DSLR. I couldn't remove it and I couldn't get it remounted, so it was dead for the trip. Thankfully, I had my iPhone and was still able to have a great day trying to create pleasing images. It was fun to then post a mix of those I'd created with the DSLR and with the iPhone and let folks try to guess which was made with which.
Jodie Hulden(non-registered)
I've got to say, Joe, that this photograph is one of the most exceptional images I've seen in a long time. It is so satisfying to look at a masterful execution of composition and tonal values. It is a masterpiece.
Whilst there are certainly cases, where a certain artistic result could have been achieved with a broad range of tools, the approach of the photographer is certainly not camera-agnostic: there is a variety of working styles that come with different toolsets, and in the end, most photographer will choose the one, that allows them to materialize their own vision, regardless of the name of the tool. Many of these ways of working are influenced by tradition, they are known to be adequate for certain tasks. New tools that come in a disruptive way tend to challenge the oldtimers, but they certainly cannot work for every artist, every way of working - it's ususally only public relations that wants us to believe that.
For those of us who know what they want to get and how they can get it, there is no reason to get nervous.
Alexander S. Kunz(non-registered)
How much of this preference might have its roots in ergonomics? There's something about the shape, size and weight of a well-balanced, "heavy" DSLR. When I had that borrowed Sony A7r in 2016, I constantly found it rather awkward and uncomfortable to use -- too small altogether, but also due to the retro design with too many sharp angles and edges. Not sure how much of that might be true for audio equipment (last time I had a dedicated amp with a big volume knob must've been 20 years ago)...
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