He never got around to manufacturing tees for his popular mantra professing that “Gear is good. Vision is better” but the catchphrase has such influence, that all that’s required is for you to have heard it without have had the option to buy something tangible to prove that you agree with it.
What I get from hearing David duChemin speak enthusiastically about vision is this: Before you even think about what gear you’re convinced you need, you should spend some time reflecting first on what you want to shoot and what you want to say about the subject.
We all have our own personal reasons for making photographs but I’ll assume it ultimately comes down to one fundamental thing. We want to genuinely capture how we see something and hopefully the most compelling work we produce will stem from the things that mostly interest us. I’m convinced that vision is the phase in which thinking about your photographs is just as significant as creating them.
I recently received an email asking why the sudden decline in the amount of photographs I shared on Flickr. The easy answer to that was that ever since we had our baby, it’s become a bit more challenging to venture out as freely as I use to. On the days when those rare moments do appear, the length of time hasn’t always been on my favor which I haven’t seen as bad thing.
Less time to do something doesn’t necessarily mean your enthusiasm for it automatically lessens. Instead, look at as an opportunity to appreciate and seek more value for the days in which you are able to dedicate time to hold the camera to your eye and press the shutter button. Down time is also a good moment to think about what you’ve done so far photographically with your work and what you’ve been daydreaming to accomplish next.
Between all the excessively gear chatter you’ll inevitably come across on the web, it can be very easy to forget what may have inspired you to start photographing in the first place. If it’s to brag about how much gear you own then hopefully the dreadful question of “what should I photograph” hasn’t made you lose your composure yet. It’s like walking into a professional kitchen packed with all the ingredients you can possibly think of to cook anything. It defeats the purpose of the tools if you don’t have at least have the slightest idea of what you’ve always wanted to do even if you didn’t have all those ingredients available.
David’s forth book entitled Photographically Speaking is being released very soon which I’ve preordered already. Rarely will he bore you with technical stuff. It’s mostly philosophical which is what I mostly gravitate towards.
You can bet that even though I may not be sharing as much work as I would like to, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not thinking about projects that I will eventually take on. As ironic as it may sound, sometimes being aways from the camera helps aligns more your thoughts on what you want to do.