Hard to express with words the feelings in me right now. It is 3 in the morning, and I just woke from a dream, and am still under its effect. I had similar dreams many times but now… it was somehow different, much more real, much more emotional. How these dreams always start, is that I am at some amazing place, usually in a city with lot of beautiful, atmospheric old buildings. Then I just notice something worthy of a photo, so I took out my professional camera – that I have in my dream, as opposed to reality – and start taking pictures. But the dream is always rough, I don’t even really feel, see the camera or the image. This time however, it was extremely realistic. I felt everything as clear as possible: the touch of the camera body, the grip on it, its shape, its weight, the pressure on my fingers caused by the weight shifting as I lift it up… I remember what I’ve seen through the viewfinder, how I adjusted the settings, how I set up exposure… But the most important is, that the camera in my dream was not just any generic camera – it was one given model, one only saw on pictures yet, but I expect it to change my life.
I started photographing as a kid, with a cheap point-and-shoot, but at that time it was just a fun thing to do, nothing serious. But I already enjoyed looking at artistic photos. When I was small kid, my grandfather excited me with his old Soviet Chaika camera which had interchangeable lenses. I grew interested in doing more than just shooting a picture of my friends sitting at a picnic. Many years later I got a new point-and-shoot, this time a digital one, capable of an – at the time – wonderful 1 Megapixel resolution! First the first time, I experienced the wonder of seeing the real picture, through the small backside LCD. I started taking photos of everything: people, flowers, animals, and lot of sky and cloud shots. Some years later somebody lent me a 3 Megapixel camera which also had a few settings, so I could try and experience how it feels like to do more than just point and push a single button.
Even more years passed, and I think it was 2006 when I took all the money I saved up, and my mother generously added the missing amount so I could buy a Fuji Finepix S5600. It isn’t really a good camera, rather it is a low quality one with some added extras, and dressed up in the shape of a DSLR – but it doesn’t offer any of the functionality of real DSLR cameras. It has a single built-in, non-interchangeable lens, no focusing ring or anything on it, everything is controlled by pressing buttons, and it has a tiny, low quality sensor like point-and-shoot cameras. Still, it gave me some control, and let me for the first time, to feel like I am doing real photography. That was one of the happiest days in my life.
I started to experiment with it. For the first time, I learned what is depth of field, shutter speed, bracketing… for the first time I had a camera that was actually capable of manually changing these settings. I was amazed at the 10x zoom and the “huge” 5 Megapixel resolution. I started black and white portrait photography with that camera (The first picture in this post, titled Memories was one of the first shots taken with that camera.), as well as landscape and animal photography. This same camera served me for many years, and was my companion in India and West-Tibet as well in 2011. I realized already years ago, that I grew it out. But finally in India it broke down, leaving me with no working camera.
And now, I have a new dream… few months ago I started to dream about an entry-level DSLR camera, and soon I found the model I desired, the cheapest once capable of fulfilling my artistic needs. This camera was the Nikon D5100.
Photography is a very special art. And if we do it from the heart, it is much more than art, it is a spiritual path. Through the pictures we look for answers to our questions. What is beauty? What is a dream like? What makes a picture talk?
In the end, the photographer’s work is very similar to that of the painter (say I, who draws and paints as well). Many people think, it is all about the camera. They think if you have an expensive camera, it is child’s play to take amazing photos. But they are wrong. Maybe a high resolution, a neat effect, a high dynamic range (HDR) shot or a fast exposure of something moving fast is enough for the superficial viewer, but in reality, photography is much more than that. As the best brush and paint of the World is worthless in the hands of someone other than a painter, the same way, it is the photographer who takes the picture, and not the camera.
The painter can paint anything he or she desires, but the photographer can only capture what is there, and has to use reality as the paint, to tell any story. And one can of course use a cheap camera and take pictures that have something special in them… but these otherwise great pictures then will be enclosed, imprisoned in a low quality image. Their real beauty, their real power fades into the noise and lack of sharpness. So just like the painter needs the proper brush and canvas, the photographer needs the proper camera.
And I need too. My old Fuji wasn’t proper ever, and now it is broken down in addition, being pretty useless. So I need a new one. But rather than a loss, I shall look upon this as a chance, to get a camera that can open up a whole new world for me, to get an entry-level DSLR, with that I can take photos I could only dream if before – to get that Nikon D5100.
But there is something in my way, which the words of William Butler Yeats can tell better than I can:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
I cannot afford such a camera, nor can my family afford it. Thus, for now, it is nothing but a distant dream. Not only a young artist’s dream to get to a new level, but much more. It embodies the photographer’s dream, to create and share. The photographer takes photos, because that is what they are – because the lens of the camera is the photographer’s rainbow bridge that connects them to the sky. Through photography, the photographer becomes free.
And this night, in my dream, I held a camera I was dreaming about. A DSLR, that can serve my artistic needs. The camera I held, was the D5100 I was dreaming about. I remember clearly every little detail, the touch of the surface, the weight… for that few moments, my dream became real.
I can only hope that this dream was foretelling the future. Yesterday, I started a fund-raiser campaign to acquire that camera, but noz only to do that, also to walk the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage path. My dream evolved, and connected two dreams into one greater dream. And now, having dreamed about the camera just the night before starting the campaign gives me hope.
And hereby, I ask you, dear reader, to help – to become a part of my dream. First, read about my project on this website, and then, please
have a look at that fund-raiser* as well.
Dream with me the dream of the photographer.
*EDIT: It was a bad and early idea. I was so excited about my ideas and dreams that I forgot that some things have to take time and I have to be patient. It wasn’t a good idea to ask people to support me when I am still unknown and could show so few of my works, it created the false impression that I expect others to give me money because I don’t want to work for it. But that wasn’t my intent.