Talent and tools


So often people ask what digital camera they should buy. That’s a tough question since invariably people suggest the camera they own. I tell people:

The best camera to have is the one you have on you.

By this, I mean, the best camera to purchase is the one that you’ll carry with you. If that means, you bought it because it “looks cute,” then go with it! If cute means you’ll carry the camera around and use it, then you’ll take far better photographs then most people.

I was thinking last night of my friend, Bill Tani’s, first ever blog post. In it, he mentions that real designers do not use the word “Photoshop” as a verb.

Since I’m not a real designer, that’s okay. But what he says makes sense. It is natural but naïve to think that talent can be found in tools. A real artist knows that in the end, Photoshop is just a tool, and a tool is just a conduit of the creative expression you find inside yourself.

After all, does a photographer say, I “Nikoned” that photograph?


Terry” by linoleum jet

Someone might say that “It’s easy for you to say, you shoot a legendarily (expensive) camera. But did Julie “Canon” this portrait of me? Am I “Leica”ing a photo of her?


Parting shot, xkcd-style.

5 thoughts on “Talent and tools

  1. Eh. Do ‘real’ office assistants not say they Xeroxed something? Do ‘real’ internet users not say they Googled something? Do ‘real’ parents not say the fetched a Kleenax regaardless of their actual tissue brand?

    It’s certainly not unprecedented for brands to become stand-ins for the products that they represent, or even to become verbs, espeically when they have dominant market/mind share (as does Photoshop) or when they refer to something which doesn’t have a good short form (‘I digitally altered it; doesn’t have the same ring as ‘I Photoshopped it’, does it?

  2. So you’re claiming that office assistant claim that photocopying in a creative process? internet users claim web search is a creative process? parents claim that wiping your nose is a creative process?

    There is a difference been me photoshopping a quick edit or photo processing (which I say and do all the time) and a designer using photoshop to produce a poster for a client? 😉

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