Monday, March 27, 2017

It Doesn't Matter What Gear I Use

Ilford 35mm Film - South Weber, Utah
When people find out that I'm a photographer, the very first question I always get asked is, "What camera do you use?" An alternative question is, "Do you use a Canon or Nikon?"

I'm not really sure why anyone cares what gear I use. They'll ask me this without seeing even a single picture of mine. Maybe it's just a canned question when you don't know what else to say. Typically (but not always) it's non-photographers who ask.

What gear I use matters not. It's completely unimportant. I'd much rather be asked something about my images. Ask me something about my art! Don't bother me with nonsense about my gear.

My camera is just a tool that I use to make an exposure. I could use any camera. I could use Canon or Nikon or Sony or Sigma or Fuji or Pentax or any other brand under the sun. I could even use my cellphone. I could use film or I could use digital. I could home-make a pinhole camera. Tools are just a means to an end, and any one of them could get the job done.

The differences between gear makes and models isn't huge. In fact, the gap shrinks every year. They are all quite capable nowadays. Nobody is making junk anymore.
The Wonder of Film Photography - South Weber, Utah
I can't tell just by looking at an image what camera brand captured it. A long time ago I could tell if an image was film or digital, but that was many years ago. I could probably spot a photograph from a Holga camera, but, then again, the Holga look can be artificially manufactured with software. If I can't tell the difference--and I look closely at pictures all of the time--then the casual viewer won't know what gear was used.

The only way anyone knows what gear was used to capture an image is if the photographer says. Otherwise, it's a complete mystery. Was it film? Was it digital? Was it Canon or Nikon or some other brand? Was it expensive? Was it cheap? Was it a cellphone? You can't tell just by looking.

If I can't tell and you can't tell, why does it make any sort of difference what gear was used? It doesn't. Gear is much less important than most people think. What is critical is what the photographer does with his or her gear.

Use whatever gear you have available to you. Don't fret over the tiny and completely insignificant differences between camera makes and models. Be happy with what you already own. Use your gear to the best of your ability.

It doesn't matter what gear I use. It doesn't matter what gear that other person uses. It doesn't matter what gear you use. What matters is what you do with what you've got. With whatever gear you have, make great art with it.

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