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A Message To Photographers | Direct Advice On Making Truly Great Images

By Wendell Weithers on July 3rd 2017

This may be the most important video you watch on photography for some time to help you reframe your approach and what’s really important. Photography has the unique attribute of being accessible to anyone at any stage of life. For some, it is a life long passion; for others, it can be the beginning to a new phase of life. It can be the bridge that connects people who would not normally meet or be a cornerstone of a meaningful relationship.

Photographer Jesse James Allen  has a created short a tribute to the mentor that inspires him, Charlie Howse. In this short documentary you will receive a glimpse at his approach to life and the art of photography, and perhaps pay particular attention when Charlie speak about the difference between a snapshot and portrait, and perhaps even more importantly, when Charlie stresses how lopsided most ideas of a good photo truly are:

“For far too long I thought a great image had to be technically great, but I’ve come to realize that the technical aspect is less important than the artistic or compositional aspect.”

He goes on to speak about the other critical things that make up a good photograph, from the interestingness of the subject, to the connection felt, and you won’t hear him say, “You have to shoot it on that Zeiss.”

Mr. Howse displays an enduring desire for self improvement and an admirable willingness to embrace  challenges that we should all adopt. He deliberately chose the large format because it is uncommon in today’s photography landscape. In a day where so many of us, myself inlcuded, chase the latest photography trends, Mr. Howse has deliberately ventured onto the road less traveled.

As we revel in this summer’s impending camera announcements, Charlie reminds us again that it’s the photographer that creates images and not the camera.

“I’m convinced that a good photographer can take a current phone or point and shoot camera and go out with someone who has just recently gotten their new Nikon, their New Canon with a 3,000 dollars lens and the 3,000 dollar body and go out and come back with better images…”

[REWIND: Anatomy of a Photoshoot | Dispelling Myths That Are Holding You Back]

If you are interested in learning more about the line of Cambo cameras Mr. Howse uses in this video you can find them here.


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Wendell is based in Atlanta where he shoots events, portraits, and food photography. He also supports his wife Andrea as she runs their cake design business, Sweet Details.

Instagram: Wendellwphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Photography Rogue

    True true.

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  2. Mircea Blanaru

    Pure truth even I don’t have the experience of the author, I totally agree with him. Of course, a 2000 $ camera it is much too much for me, but I think he is right in his choice because a medium format camera is something totally different than a full frame or a cropped sensor one. I recently bought a SLR film camera with a 35mm f2.8 macro objective for less the 40 $ and the results are extraordinary in my perception… Of course, I can’t print the images more than an A3 format, but who cares? I am watching these scanned photos on my old PC display and I am amazed. Of course, this is my perception after being active with modern electronic sensor cameras on more than a decade on the internet on various artistic sites, even winning some prizes and even being a curator of course, how else, for free…

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    • Kishore Sawh

      It really is inspiring to hear him. I’m fully on his side when I hear how he speaks of cellphone camera shooters. I’ve been preaching this for a while (to much typical pushback from the prototypical gear head), but frankly, the creative constraints forced by having less gear often makes you think more about the image to make it compelling. A technically immaculate image doesn’t mean anything, but one that feels and shows something….

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