It isn’t only the young who let their imaginations run away with them. When I was a child, I used to dream I could fly. In my head I’d soar above the rooftops and swoop low across fields, relishing my supernatural powers. Teenagers often imagine they possess supernatural coolness and an ability to know far better than their parents when it is, and is not, ‘coat weather’. Grown men stand in pubs and clubs at the weekend convinced they are blessed with the looks and the voice of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, their fantasy inflicting unbearable suffering on the other patrons. And while there are many good photographers who genuinely believe they are not, many others are positive their skills are greater than they are. It is normal to fool ourselves about some aspect of our abilities, and it’s fortunate the consequences are usually slight.
The ability to hold a camera still is the arm-wrestling of photography; the boast, the special skill. Being able to shoot at 1/8sec without a tripod is certain to draw the admiration of one’s peers and the attentions of the opposite sex. Often this is a delusion that, on close inspection, unravels in a mess of blurred detail. Camera-shake superheroes are rare indeed.
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