If, as you read through this, you get the impression it espouses the simplification of the photographic process in the face of what seems to be ever increasing complexity, you are exactly right. The reality is that every time there is a technological advancement, the process is simplified.

As evidence of simplification, consider previous photographic developments - the mechanical shutter, manufactured dry plates, roll film, 35mm cartridges, resin-coated polycontrast papers, built-in light meters, TTL auto flash, auto exposure, auto focus, etc., etc. All of these advancements, and hundreds of others, made the process both simpler and more predictable. All of which is a noble endeavor... that is until it comes to the “art” thing.

In the 1890’s, seemingly in response to the introduction of the Kodak No. 1 and other ‘hand cameras’, professional photographers wrapped themselves in the flag of ‘art’. ‘Art’ set them apart and, more importantly, ‘Art’ protected their incomes. They began using all manner of technique that the hand-camera user (read: amateur) couldn’t. Note that it was technique that made the photograph ‘art’ and not the content. And this ‘application of technique to determine arti-ness’ has permeated the medium ever since.

So, on one hand there is the continuing simplification of the process now embodied in the digital and, on the other, there are the complicating techniques embodied in the ‘art’.

Ockham’s Razor postulates that when a choice must be made between competing hypotheses and all things are equal, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. The modern version of this time-honored principle is ‘keep it simple, stupid’. It seems then that simplification is the way to go.

Before going further however, it must be noted that although we are not interested in the now-overblown and overheated tech side of the medium, there are a few things that have to be looked at so here we go...

A quick look at cameras.

You will read all kinds of stories in the modern photographic press, both in print and online, telling you that you have to use this camera or that, this piece of equipment or that. It has to have this adjustment or that control. You have to be able to do this kind of processing or produce that kind of file. In a word- BALDERDASH!

Within reason, any camera you want to use will give more than acceptable results. The camera that you use is not the important thing. The photographs produced are what’s important. If the camera you use gives you the result you want, it doesn’t matter if it is the camera in your phone, a three-year old compact camera or the latest fire-breathing, multi-megapixel, button-festooned dslr wonder.