My Mum and her new Nikon D60
Well, that is something I never thought I would see - My Mum with a Nikon SLR in her hands. But I will tell you this much. She loves it! My Dad, Nathan and I gave it to her as part of their recent wedding anniversary celebrations. The following day, my Mum and I spent an afternoon together doing something I never thought I would - walking around Queenscliffe seeing everything and taking pictures.
Having a DSLR in her hands has given my Mum new eyes. Suddenly she sees the shadows that form on the footpath as the afternoon light sprays through a picket fence. She notices textures and shapes and even the drip forming on a tap in a park. Yes, she has found photography in the truest sense. My Mum has always enjoyed photography but never felt that she could do it 'properly' like her son does. But the 'point and shoot' ease with which she takes pictures now has made the entire process so much easier and so much more enjoyable.
There was a time when photography was difficult. Those were the days when cameras required that you knew what you were doing, that you understood metering - both incident and reflected and knew how to set the camera to match. They were the times when you needed to count the cost of film and processing and thus each image was a financial investment and needed to be worth the materials, let alone the effort.
However, digital has changed everything about that. Cameras are designed with such automation that nowadays you can’t even capture your subject with so much as a grimace. The smile technology makes sure of that. Exposure is automated in more ways than we ever thought possible and if you still don’t get it right, you can delete the image and take it again without it costing a single cent. So far, so good.
From my perspective, this also has its distinct disadvantages. The foremost among these in my mind is the lack of understanding that is perceived by the masses as no longer being required. I mean, after all, if the camera is going to do everything for you, why learn anything? However, it is that kind of thinking that not only prevents many gifted photographers from improving and reaching their full potential but also deprives them at core level of the absolute joy of having created the image and controlled its creation at as many levels as possible. That part of the joy of photography should never be overstated.
Conversely, as I say, my mum has just become the proud owner of a new Nikon D60. Once upon a time a Nikon SLR camera would have frightened her beyond thinking. But you see, its all different now. The camera is a point and shoot DSLR with the ability to remove all the confusion of exposure and focus and simply allow her the fun of taking photographs. She is allowed to see and to shoot without any problems of cost or the frustrations of not completely understanding the technology. In fact the technology exists for the sole reason that she doesn’t have to understand it.
Will my Mum ever get past using the camera on the ‘little green camera on the dial’ setting? I doubt it. And if she does, it will be slowly and with limitations. This is not to say that my Mum is unintelligent. In fact the opposite is true. But there are some things you perhaps don’t want to learn at her age. I might have to give her a complimentary membership to my photography tutorials website! In the meantime though, she is enjoying her new found love of photography immensely.
And that is good enough for me.