short schrift

02 May 2014 -- click here for earlier articles

camera, clarinet

 

At first sight, a camera and a clarinet have little in common. Change your frame of reference slightly, though, and suddenly, you realize: neither will do you much good unless you learn how to use them. The camera is vastly easier to learn to 'play' than the clarinet, but from an artistic point of view, learning to take snapshots with the camera is like learning to play scales on the clarinet – or perhaps, at best, like learning to play Chopsticks on the piano. You've learned how to control it, yes, but you're only using a fraction of its capabilities and you can't really say that you've mastered it.

How does a musician learn to play an instrument? Partly through a very great deal of practice, but also, through listening to others play. You need to compare your musicianship with others: you never really know how good (or bad) you are until you are brave enough to make that comparison.

By the same token, the photographer should go to as many exhibitions as possible, whether it's the local camera club or Arles. And, of course, practise, practise, practise.