Art, equipment and professionalism

Art, equipment and Professionalism

Most art collectors cannot tell an Epson 9880 from a 9900. They buy the image, not the printer.
Alain Briot

An important step in the personal development of a photographer into an artist is to step away from considering the equipment first and the work second. The minute the work comes first and the equipment comes second you are on your way to creating art.

Another important step is when you start to “lag” or “lapse,” intentionally or not, on upgrading your equipment. This lapse represents a switch in your focus from the gear to the work. While there are important milestones in equipment and software acquisition, there is no need to get each and every software package or camera gear that comes out to do meaningful work. In the end, except for the main technical components that define your work (the subject you focus on and the type of prints you make for example), few of the technical specs about the gear and software you use will make it into the memory of the people who admire and collect your art or into “posterity.”

Few people will ever know which version of Photoshop you used to create a specific image. That they know you used Photoshop might be all! Similarly, few people will know what brand of camera you used, and even fewer will know which exact model within that brand. I tend to think that it is the mark of amateurs to list each piece of gear and software they own when talking about their work. Professionals know that this information is far relatively unimportant to collectors. They know that art is about the artist’s vision and not about the gear and software they used.

Professionalism, incidentally, is a state of mind, a personal approach that focuses on dedication and the desire to create quality work. Professionalism is not a financial situation. It is not related to how much money you make, if any, from your photography. Instead, it is related to the attitude you have in regards to your photography. Professionals are committed to achieving the finest results in their work and are willing to do what it takes to reach this goal.

Alain Briot

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1 thought on “Art, equipment and professionalism

  1. Hits me right on. Sir Alain.

    I am a new graduate and eyeing to be a fine art photographer like you. And this is one of the dilemmas I’m facing. I got this 40 something 12 by 18 inches c-print lying in my room (they were part of my college thesis requirements). And am planning to have them exhibited or just giving them away to friends.

    I find myself struggling to get on to approach galleries and ask if they will be interested in exhibiting them. Because they are not “archival” or might not be good enough.

    I’m also thinking about selling them through other avenues, for example art fairs. But I can’t get myself to do it. Because I’m scared that I will not be able to find an appropriate audience for them.

    Any suggestion would be helpful.


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