Just curious what the general reactions of photographers are when they're looking at photographic images from an art appreciation point of view.
Over the last 30 years I've shot everything from 4x5 view cameras to simple cell phone digicams. I've been obsessed with gear off and on, but have gravitated over the last few years to simply looking at what an image conveys and how I feel about it. I really don't care as much about pixels, noise, gadgets, etc. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it seems to me that all the manufacturer emphasis on gear and the tech side of things, including painstaking pixel-peeping camera reviews has shifted the user/viewer's attention away from the vision of the photographer and more on the gear itself. As if the photographer doesn't matter so much anymore if you have bought the latest and greatest version of some new gear.
Of course I know this isn't true, but it seems like the meme has taken hold and it likely sells a lot more cameras. Still, it's painful to hear, "Hey, that's a really nice image. What camera made that image?" As if all one must do to make nice images is buy the fanciest, most expensive, most sophisticated machine and then push a button.
After again lugging Nikon dSLR gear and a small Panasonic LX3 compact on a U.S. motorcycle journey http://www.kaleidoscopeofcolor.com/galleria/go-west-color/
I discovered getting back to just using a simple compact appealed to me. My intent was to work on publishing a book of my photos and journaling from the road to capture more of a LIVE feel http://amzn.to/hE9KNG
So, I figured I better make myself shoot more sophisticated dSLR gear for the extra resolution. However, I found that I actually ended up using just as many images from the much easier to shoot LX3 stuff in the book. Sure, you can tell a difference between the compact and dSLR images, but I don't believe there's much difference in how the images emotionally convey what I intended.
I recently backpacked for a month in Mexico. I've spent many years traveling off and on in Mexico. Have lugged 35mm gear through the jungle, and heavy dSLR gear all over the country on motorcycles, backpacking, buses, etc. So, at this point I figured I had plenty of satisfying images of Mexico (from a 2009 Motorcycle/Mexico trip:
) and could leave the heavy gear behind at home for a change and force myself to simply use only an iPhone 4 and apps for editing and uploading. Also published short MagCloud magazines from the road via my travel blog http://www.kaleidoscopeofcolor.com/mexico-2011
(sorry, it shows me still in Mexico but I got the flu on the way back and haven't got around to wrapping it up yet)
After I got home and noticed how well the iPhone images actually held up and printed, I was fairly shocked to be honest: http://skip-hunt.artistwebsites.com/art/all/mexico+winter+2011/all
So, my question is this... when photographers look at images in general do they now mostly study the image for pixel quality and make an aesthetic decision whether they like an image based on how much resolution and lack of noise there is? Or whether or not the image was obviously made with the state of the art full-frame camera? Or, if the photographer managed to make something nice with the simplicity of an iPhone, Holga, or a toy camera?
Or, do you first look at an image and decide how you feel about it based on how the image effects you without regard for how and what camera was used to create it?