Like many photographers I regularly meet people when I’m out capturing images who also enjoy photography. Often times people ask each other what gear they are using. I’m frequently surprised when I hear folks begin their answer with the phrase “I’m only using a…” It causes me to wonder how gear elitism may be affecting photography in general and the camera market in particular.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Saying something like “only using” has always stuck me as an apologetic beginning to a reply about one’s camera gear. Why should any of us feel embarrassed about our camera gear? After all it is just a means to an end…the tools we use to create our images.
The equipment each of us uses is not nearly as important as the passion we have for our craft and the creativity we bring to our images. What is in our mind’s eye is far more important that what is in our hands.
Unfortunately camera gear elitism is alive and well. Like expensive cars, jewellery and watches some folks seem to have a need to ‘strut their stuff’ when it comes to their camera gear. They can often be observed talking more about their gear and showing it off to other people rather than actually using it to create images.
What I find really bizarre is how some people seem to think they know more about someone else’s camera equipment needs than that individual knows for themselves. I’ve heard, or read, many statements like, “I’m surprised that you are not shooting with better equipment….”, or “There are much better cameras out in the market that you should be using…” or “You’d be able to take better photographs if you used….”,
At worst, these types of statements strike me as being terribly arrogant, and at best are misinformed, or simply juvenile. How can anyone know what is the best camera gear for someone else? The truth is we have no way of knowing the answer to that question. The selection of camera gear is an intensely personal choice based on the very specific needs of a particular individual.
I really wonder if being exposed to camera gear elitism has turned away many potential photographers from buying camera gear. What are people who are considering their first camera purchase supposed to think when they hear, or read, that only very expensive camera bodies and lenses are worth buying and that everything else is junk? I guess if one doesn’t have a huge wad of spare cash one simply doesn’t bother buying at all.
Some statements become quite ludicrous when some people actually say things like, “Well, if you really cared about the quality of your images, you’d spend the money needed on the best quality gear.” That’s a load of egocentric b%$$&@#+ if I ever heard one.
All that matters, and ever has mattered, is our passion to bring the creative visions we have in our minds to life through our photography.
The number of people engaged in photography will only grow when their visual creativity is stimulated, not through the restrictive thinking of gear elitism. Creativity doesn’t grow through embarrassment. It grows through encouragement.
Regardless of the camera gear you own, grab it proudly and go out to capture some images with it! Let it be the key to unlock your visual creativity and capture your experience of the world around you!
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