Digital Photography and Electronic Viewfinders are Augmented Reality

Today I walked around the streets of Mexico City, shooting with my Lumix G9, Leica 12mm f/1.4 Lens (24mm full-frame equivalent) x Henri Wrist Strap Pro, in 4:3 ratio, medium-JPEG (vivid color preset, with max color and saturation), with the electronic viewfinder (EVF), and had so much fun!

Augmented reality

When we walk around, we see reality as it truly is. However whenever we shoot photos with an electronic viewfinder or LCD screen (especially if you have some color or monochrome filter on), you see reality AUGMENTED (made MORE interesting) or seeing the world differently.

Does reality need to be augmented?


Now this is a more interesting philosophical question:

Is reality perfect the way it is? Is it desirable to ‘augment’ (make it greater)?

My desire as an artist

I love reality the way it is, but as an artist– I desire to TRANSFORM and TRANSFIGURE reality according to my own artistic vision.

What I mean is this:

I wish to use reality as my visual play-dough, and use these visual building blocks to create my own artistic vision of the world.

So in short, I love reality the way it is. But as an artist, I derive most of my personal joy TRANSFORMING reality into something else (my artwork).

Experiment shooting more JPEG (with electronic viewfinders)

As a simple tip, I encourage you (if you already have a digital camera with an electronic viewfinder) to shoot more with the EVF! It is a totally different way to see the world.

Optical vs Electronic Viewfinder

With optical viewfinders, you see reality as it is. With electronic viewfinders, reality becomes augmented (it becomes transfigured according to your own reality).

Why I enjoy shooting with electronic viewfinders

The great joy I get from shooting with an electronic viewfinder is this:

Reality becomes different (more interesting) through the EVF.

For example on the Lumix G9, the electronic viewfinder is quite epic. There is different ‘viewing modes’ (which adjust the magnification)– which is great, because I wear glasses. This means I can see the whole scene as I’m framing.

Furthermore, when shooting with an electronic viewfinder, you become 100% focused on whatever you are photographing. Reality stands still for a second, and nothing else exists– except you and the photographic moment (encapsulated inside the chrysalis of the electronic viewfinder).

It is a very interesting and unique experience. It won’t necessarily allow you to make ‘better’ photos, but it changes your experience of reality.

Why is photography so enjoyable and fun/interesting?

Mexico City, 2019 #cindyproject
Mexico City, 2019 #cindyproject

Perhaps the joy of photography isn’t just making photos (shooting photos), but also changing your experience of how you see, perceive, and interact with the world.

The world is made more interesting via photography.

The benefits of photography

Thus it seems there are many benefits of photography:

  1. Good for your physiology (mind/physical) health: Walking is beneficial for your mind and soul. To walk more, and shoot more will improve your life.
  2. To see the world differently: If you ever get bored of reality, photography will render it more interesting!
  3. To create artwork: We cannot change reality, but as photographer-artists, we can TRANSFIGURE reality– use reality as our visual putty to create artworks.


Ultimately it doesn’t really matter what camera or equipment you shoot with. It seems that photography is most fun when you approach photography as a new mode of experiencing the world– seeing the world, and transfiguring the world.