Monday, December 18, 2006

A Photographer's Christmas Wishlist

Over the past month I've found at least two dozen websites with gift idea lists for photographers. Every single list is loaded with cameras, lenses, tripods, portable hard drives, photo editing software, and every camera or studio accessory you can think of. In short, every list I could find was focused on equipment. While every photographer, myself included, would love some expensive photography toys for Christmas the reality is that deep down equipment doesn't satisfy our inner creative urges.

To that end, here is a quick list of some gift ideas for the photographers in your life:
  1. Any book by David Alan Harvey, such as Divided Soul or Cuba: Island at a Crossroad. Harvey has an amazing talent for composition and his photos have inspired many photographers over the last two decades. Most of his recent work is done with a single DSLR and simple prime lens ... a reminder that skilled photographers (not expensive equipment) create great images.
  2. Any book by Steve McCurry, such as Portraits, The Path to Buddah or South Southeast. McCurry is best known for taking the famous National Geographic cover photo of the "Afghan Girl" but that photo is just one small example of why he is considered perhaps the greatest living master of candid portraiture.
  3. A copy of Leros by Alex Majoli. Yet another inspiring photographer, Majoli is one of the Magnum Photo Agency's best young photographers and has won many of the most prestigious awards in photojournalism ... using cheap point-and-shoot digital cameras. That's right. Majoli crafts award-winning images using some of the most "average" digital cameras on the market ... the same cameras that your relatives blamed for "taking bad pictures" last Christmas.
  4. A Video iPod. What does this have to do with "satisfying inner creative urges?" Well, more than you think. The latest generation of iPod can store digital photos, audio books, podcasts on photography and Photoshop techniques, or just stimulate creative energy with some TV, movies, or good old fashioned music. Some of the best photographers in the last century admit to being inspired by music, TV or movies. An iPod means inspiration is with you at all times.
  5. A weekend vacation just for photography (and absolutely nothing else). Whether it's a trip to a local city or a vacation to a national park, photographic opportunities are everywhere. Sometimes the photographers in our lives need a loved one to push them out the door ... otherwise they get stuck working on Photoshop all weekend or browsing online camera stores. You can't take great photos if you don't get out and see the world.
Oh, and something EVERY photographer would like for Christmas is to never hear the phrase "Your camera takes really nice pictures" ever again. Simple recognition and validation of a photographer's talent and effort goes a long way ... especially around the holidays.

What are some other ideas for Christmas gifts for photographers? Feel free to post your comments.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I can't tell you any other ideas, or I might give away what I'm giving you for Christmas! But I like this list. It's very inspirational.