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Explorer

Christian Anderl

Aug18

Christian Anderl: Why emotion wins over equipment

By Christian Anderl, Monday August 18, 2014
My girlfriend Sarah. Shot with a very cheap ringlight in our living room. The background was a wooden Jalousie window with a sunset behind. Editing in Adobe Lightroom took no more than 20 minutes. It was 'quick and dirty', but I love her expression.

My girlfriend Sarah. Shot with a very cheap ringlight in our living room. The background was a wooden Jalousie window with a sunset behind. Editing in Adobe Lightroom took no more than 20 minutes. It was 'quick and dirty', but I love her expression.
© Christian Anderl

I've been reading some very interesting stuff about perfectionism lately. And guess what? I found myself guilty of it. At least from time to time. And I bet you will too, if you think about it...

We are photographers, so we read a lot of stuff about technology, new gear, new editing skills and software. We try to get the best out of our stuff every day: the best sharpness, light, angle, colours, depth-of-field... You name it, whatever it is we always try to get the very best out of it. And that is OK, it is part of our job; that is what the client expects – nothing bad about that at all. But sometimes we really, really need to lean back and remember what photography is all about. Yes, it is about technology, and about gear, and about the best results we can achieve. But mostly it is about emotion; about telling stories, collecting moments – communicating!

Recently I was standing beside two photographers in a shop, whilst waiting for my receipt. I heard them talking about a photography idea, and it was quite simple. They were discussing how to take a portrait of a woman in a black dress in front of a blue door. The astonishing thing about their chat was that one of them said: "Well, we would need this big light, an Octabox, plus a second one from behind, then we would need..." and so it continued, with quite a long list of things they would need for that shot to be THE perfect one, the shot they expected it to be.

It reminded me that sometimes we hold ourselves back from doing great stuff, just because we can't stop thinking ‘high end’. As great as it is, sometimes it is the ‘quick and dirty’ cheap shot that is the best you can do. All you really need is your camera and lens (sure, plus battery and cards too!) and that’s it. A camera is exactly like every other piece of gear we use – just a tool. Basically it has to be an emotional – not only a technical – thing.

I love my Canon cameras and lenses; I love to use them and to try new stuff too. I am always amazed every time Canon announces a new lens or body but at the end of the day, I love to create. And a ‘quick and dirty shot’ is better than thinking about it but not taking it.

Singer and songwriter Sankil Jones on stage. Far from a perfect shot, but it feels good, so it also made it onto my portfolio website.

Singer and songwriter Sankil Jones on stage. Far from a perfect shot, but it feels good, so it also made it onto my portfolio website.
© Christian Anderl

A friend of mine with his son. I only had my old EOS 350D and a 50mm f/1.4 lens with me, but the window light was perfect and the moment  I caught made it into a photo exhibition in 2010.

A friend of mine with his son. I only had my old EOS 350D and a 50mm
f/1.4 lens with me, but the window light was perfect and the moment
I caught made it into a photo exhibition in 2010.
© Christian Anderl