chapter  12
38 Pages

Camera Formats

THE CAMERA e camera is the key component that makes up photographic vision. e job of the camera has been to make an “appropriate” and recognizable depiction, based on established visual conventions, of what was seen. e early camera, called the camera obscura, was designed to imitate the visual ideas of perspective and scale that were formulated during the Renaissance. Even today, the combination of camera and lens, whether digital or lm, determines many of the basic characteristics of the nal photographic image, including eld of view, depth of eld, sharpness, and tonal range. A knowledgeable viewer can oen identify the ngerprint of the camera used to make an individual image. Because the camera plays such a vital role in the formation of the nal picture, photographers must be sure the type of camera being used supports their personal aesthetic goals. No single camera can produce appropriate results in every situation. is is because the standard of what is appropriate is dependent on a variety of factors, including the subject being photographed, the audience, the purpose for which the picture is being made, and the desires of the photographer. Photographers should experiment with various types of cameras to learn about the dierences in equipment-their strengths, and their drawbacksso they are able to make informed choices to achieve the desired outcome. Photographer Garry Winogrand summed it up by saying, “A photograph can look any way. Or, there’s no way a photograph has to look (beyond being an illusion of a literal description). Or, there are no external or abstract or preconceived rules of design that can apply to still photographs.”1 Although a camera may shape the construction of an image, it is the private individual response to a situation that gives an image its power. Always keep in mind: e best camera is the one you have with you.