It’s just a medium

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In 2014, I sat in the corner of our cream-twill Pottery Barn sectional and insisted that if I just had a Contax 645, my photography would suddenly be better. The inquiries would start flowing, and I would have a booming photography business in no time. I was convinced of this because all the industry leaders I admired had Contax 645 units. I believed that the beautiful, creamy photos you could get with that Zeiss 80 mm 2.0 lens would automatically make me the best photographer in the world. I believed that suddenly everyone would think I was more serious about my art because I’d spent more money on a camera.

It didn’t work.

I should have known it wouldn’t matter because I’d felt the same way about switching from shooting digital to shooting film, that somehow people would notice me, that I would just fall into the market I wanted to be in.

Why am I saying this?  Because yesterday Fuji Film announced that they are discontinuing their beloved 400H film stock, and the world of film wedding photographers went a little nuts. I saw post after post of heart break, of photographers vowing to get it back, vowing to petition the company. I saw photographers saying they would quit shooting film after they ran out of the film stock, and I saw photographers decide they now need lessons in order to learn to shoot on another film stock. And I really wanted to say, “It’s just a medium”.

The film stock, the camera, the lens, the strap, the backpack you put the camera in, the backdrop, the paint, the pointe shoes you wear, the violin you play on don’t matter. They are all just mediums. They do not make the artist. The artist uses the mediums to tell a story, to produce art. If the artist truly has the art inside them, they will find a way to produce the work that shares the story or moves someone or changes them.

I did get that Contax 645, but I now shoot on 5 different cameras all with different strengths, all with different vibes and feels. I shoot film, and I shoot digital. I shoot multiple film stocks from Fuji to Kodak to Ilford. I write. Photography is not the only medium I use to tell stories. I write, and I paint. I cook. And I dance in the living room with my three-year-old daughter. I am an artist because I do the work. I practice, and I try to make a change. I create.

Please, stop worrying about the medium. Adapt. Create. Do the work.

Photos above shot on a Mamiya 645, Film stock unknown.

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