I was listening to the latest episode of the Because We Make Podcast by my friend Vincent Ferrari and he was talking with woodworker Steve Ramsey about, well woodworking and building a shop.
One section fairly early on stood out to me. Vincent and Steve were talking about the obsession with makers being so focused on specific brands of tools that they were no longer actually MAKING anything. Rather, they spent all their time chasing sponsorship’s and developing an almost elitist attitude towards their tools.
Long story short, too many people don’t get the tools they need to let them focus on making actual work. They spend all their time collecting “only the best” tools just so they can say THEY use XYZ brand and if you don’t also then you are somehow not as good at your craft.
Hey fellow photographers, sound familiar?
I’ve seen first hand from a lot of photographer friends that have, and still do, preach about how it’s not about the gear, not about the tools, it’s all about the vision… yet every 3rd post you see is referencing one camera brand or another, or why one type of tool is superior to another.
It’s like they are blind to the fact they even do it.
Worse yet, it’s possible they don’t THINK they are doing it because they’ve fallen so deep into the elite tool collection trap they THINK they are somehow above all of that. Also known as… they’ve told the lie so much they not only believe it, it’s now a part of their “creative process”.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with someone giving an honest review of a favorite tool or bit of gear they use. Heck, look down below and you’ll likely see the most popular post on this very site is regarding gear. A sharing of a favorite tool doesn’t have to equal an elitist attitude however.
I can’t control what the rest of the world is doing. Doesn’t make it any less annoying or frustrating to see people preach that it’s all about the vision not the gear while out of the other side they are so wrapped up in why THEIR gear of choice is the only REAL choice if you want to be a REAL artist.
Hell, I don’t even care if you talk about your gear because you love it that much and it really is what you are most concerned about regarding photography or your art. If you just love collecting new gear, that’s awesome.
Just maybe get rid of the condescending attitude of elite photographer status you’ve built up in your mind because you think your brand is better than someone else’s. Or because your ego and love of your tool of choice has convinced you that you are somehow better than someone that uses something different.
Like I said, I can’t control anyone else.
And while I’m sure I’ll talk about gear here and there, my goal, my focus, is simple.
Get back to creating interesting work… regardless of the tools used to make it.
Sure, I tag my camera brand of choice in my online work. Not to claim superiority, but to get my work in front of the audience that camera brand carries with it.
My tools of choice DO. NOT. MAKE. ME. A. BETTER. ARTIST. THAN. ANYONE. ELSE.
Sure, you can buy the fanciest tools. Owning fancy tools doesn’t mean you know how to use them to actually SAY anything.
Only when you can realize your gear is just a means to let you use your creative voice to actually create something, can you actually create something worth looking at.
Are you a tool collector or a creator?