Sunday, July 13, 2008

Photo Wise Part 3

One of the things you learn pretty early on with alpine climbing is that shiny gear doesn't make you a good climber. I'm surprised therefore on photography forums with the total obsession with gear. Even photography forums on climbing sites fuss over which camera will transform the poster's pics to the near exclusion of every other aspect of image making.

Last year I had a days shooting with the modern day climbing legend John Dunne at Ilkley. I'd never met John properly and was looking forward to making the most of the privilege of working with him. Imagine my horror when I opened the boot of my car to find my full array of lenses but no actual camera to attach them to. Apologising profusely to John, we rang around mates of his in the vicinity trying to blag a spare camera to save the day, but to no avail. Eventually I bit the bullet heading down the hill to Ilkley town and managed to find a pocket sized compact.

I felt a little as though I'd let John down hanging on an abseil rope waving around a tiny "happy snappy" when John was much more used to pros with multiple bodies weighed down with long lenses. The results however were far from a disappointment - as the magazine used 7 pages of shots including a double page and the front cover. It really went to show that interesting subject matter, nice light and a decent eye come well before how many expensive toys you have.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the magazine article was that I heard that the double page spread (above)had inspired Gaz Parry to go and repeat the route Reservoir Dogs, an E8 that hadn't been climbed for many years. That's when you know a photograph really is successful.