I find it a never-ending source of amusement that anyone might think the making of a photograph using traditional film methods is complicated.

Every camera I own requires the adjustment of only four things, and only three of them on a per photograph basis. Speed (of the film, set once per roll or sheet), shutter, aperture, and focus. That's it. The end. No more to do. Or to worry about. Only four. Move along now. Nothing more to see here...

On the other hand, a friend once showed me the owner's manual for his DSLR. Good grief. A tome the size and weight of one of the single volumes of Encyclopaedia Brittanica. A dizzying, mind-numbing dissertation covering endless buttons, switches, modes, settings, menus, and advanced computer science. All designed to attempt the correct adjustment of... the speed, shutter, aperture, and focus.

When I asked how one would go about setting everything to simply allow the photographer himself to control only those four basic essentials, the earnest reply was, "Why would you want to do it the hard way? Using these settings is so much easier."

Easier than just those four?


I think the issue of perceived complexity in traditional photography is at least partly one of a marketing-conditioned response in an entirely new generation of practitioners who want desperately to simply be told what it is they should do. In photography as well as the other aspects of their lives. A corollary of the principle I don't want to know how it works, I just want the answer. Even if that answer is orders of magnitude more complicated than knowing how it works.

It's less a photographic issue, I think, and more a cultural one.