As a (still active) singer and musician, one of the first things I realized was that I would always sing songs I wrote with more feeling than songs that weren't mine. Why ... because every word and note was a labor of love. I later learned to approach other people's songs as if I had written them which greatly improved my singing.
I find the same thing in photography. Give a proud parent an ELPH and watch what amazing baby pictures she will take! She doesn't care about the camera. She just wants to squeeze EVERY OUNCE of little baby cuteness into the viewfinder and then pray the camera will handle all the rest ... light ... focus ... white balance ... yada yada. And when you see the pictures, they are almost always precious, real and meaningful.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating we all use ELPHs and have babies. And I'm certainly not advocating we start having babies with elphs (sic). I'm just observing. Observing the fact that when the subject has meaning to us, the photographs are real, genuine ... powerful.
This concept is echoed over and again in every photojournalist interview I've been reading lately. (Side note: if you haven't been visiting LENS ... YOU MUST! It's listed in my bloglist.) It is clear that these journalists are genuinely connected to their subjects when they take their best pictures. That these images are their "babies". They cram EVERY OUNCE of feeling and message and story they can. No, I don't mean they go ultra-wide and take geo-synchronous satellite shots. I mean they use every millimeter of frame to convey their feelings about the subject.
You're thinking ... oh, frisco, shaddup already. We know all this. But do we!? Is each photo a labor of love? I'm not there yet. Ctein, in his TOP blog, suggested that we should all take a year and shoot only film through a Leica with a single lens. An underlying message there is that we should learn to focus on the subject and the frame and not the equipment. Learn to love the song!