If you care about gear, you might be missing the point of photography. While some argue that gear matters, I would say its significance is relative to your perspective. In truth, the moment, subject, and light are far more critical than the camera you use.
Certainly, there’s an argument that a better lens or camera can lead to better photographs, but I see this argument as primarily technology-related, focusing on sharpness, resolution, and medium. However, if you strip away the moment and the subject, the photograph becomes empty. Change the camera, but capture the moment, and the photograph’s essence remains the most important, not the gear that captured it.
Consider it this way: is it the chef or the oven that makes a meal exceptional? Similarly, is it the photographer or the camera that creates a remarkable photograph? Tools are necessary, but the quality of those tools often offers diminishing returns. Think of challenges like Kai W’s camera challenge series, where photographers create impressive images with subpar cameras. Consider Warren Richardson, who won the World Press Photo Award with an outdated Mark 2, or Devin Allen, who documented the Black Lives Matter movement with a cellphone and graced the cover of Time magazine.
All these extraordinary moments were captured, and the significance lies in the moments themselves, the subjects, and the stories they tell. High-end camera equipment may enhance technical aspects like sharpness and resolution, but it can’t replace the creative and artistic aspects of photography.
While having quality gear can make your life easier and help you capture your vision, it should not be the sole focus. If you’re fixated on spec details, you may be more of a tech enthusiast than a true photographer, and that’s okay. Such individuals play a crucial role in driving technological advancements for photographers.
If you aspire to be a great photographer, shift your attention to the moments before you and worry less about the tool in your hand. A truly great photographer never stops taking photographs, regardless of the camera they hold, because it’s the moment in time that truly matters. Photographers are archivists, documentarians, the custodians of time, sharing the stories of others. This is where the essence of our craft truly resides. Prioritize the art of photography, hone your skills, and focus on storytelling, rather than getting overly consumed by the latest gear. While gear can be a valuable tool, it’s ultimately the photographer’s ability to capture and convey stories, emotions, and moments that defines greatness in this art form.
About the Author
Alexander Ben Korako Watson, best known as A.B Watson is a photographer based in Auckland, New Zealand. You can find out more about him on his website, follow his work on Instagram and Facebook, or reach out to him through X . This article was also published here and shared with permission.