Zack Arias is not right: Photography gear does matter!
Listen to the statement of Zack Arias in this video at 38:50min:
I cannot stand such populistic statements anymore.
Words, often said, won’t automatically become truth.
This is excessive strobist hype bullshit!
Those who are telling us “gear doesn’t matter” are not sharing the whole story. Let me explain you why:
I differentiate between the technical quality and the artistic quality of a photo.
The technical quality of a photo
The proportions of influence due to technical “gear” on the quality of a photo are (imho):
- 60% lens
- 25% body
- 10% other gear
- 5% retouching software
If you are agreeing only a little with this statement you know gear is in relation with the quality of a photo.
The technical aspects are limited. But you cannot measure the quality of a photo because the biggest responsibility for the quality of a photo is lying in the artistic aspects of this photo.
The artistic quality of a photo
That’s for sure: You can boost the quality of your photos working on your artistic vision and style. The artistic aspects of a photo aren’t measurable. There are so many things you can do or combine for a unique photo.
Artistic aspects are theoretically unlimited.
Here lies the key to understand the statement of my blog post.
The truth is that without gear there is no art. Technical gear is building the fundament for your vision.
In other words: Technical possibilities are limiting your visions. So…
Photography gear does matter:
- Without a wide angle lens it is hard to capture wideness.
- It is impossible to shot a macro without a macro lens.
- Wedding portraits in a dark church cannot be shot without a great lens and a camera with good noise reduction.
- HDR visions are nothing without software.
- And for sure the possibilities in terms of speed, contrast and bokeh with a 85mm f1.2 prime lens are better than on a cheap kit zoom lens at 85mm.
Gear does matter because it defines artistic possibilities.
Photographers who are really successful with their art are not working in strobists minimalism. They are working with high quality gear!
Those who are on their way only working with a small flash, a camera and a lens listen:
You are not alone!
It is like thousands of people are drawing with the color red and thinking they are reinventing painting.
For sure all outputs will be really red.
Most strobist gurus are more selling a good idea and building a personal success on that idea rather than selling their photos. In business terms this is a GREAT idea!
But if you are on your way becoming a strobist fanboy be aware of it:
You are caught by one idea with thousand of other photographers!
Why painting in red if there are so many other colors to express emotions and visions?
The strobist gurus are not sharing the whole story with you. The truth is more complicated than you can tell it with the phrase “gear doesn’t matter”!
- Without gear there is no art. Gear defines artistic possibilities.
- The more gear you have the more possibilities you have to define a vision.
- You have to know the possibilities of gear for your personal vision to make the right technical decisions. You have to master your gear than it won’t need much gear to take your “best photo”.
- Artistic aspects are much more important than technical aspects.
- Everybody can buy gear. So everybody can buy the same photography possibilities. But nobody can buy artistic vision. Artistic vision makes your art unique.
Most of the time I will agree with the statement “less is more”, because:
- You have to be clear to decide for less!
- If you are working with less you have to work on your visions!
And I will agree with the statement:
Gear is not so important than artistic vision.
But to be precise and fair there are more words to be spoken. So, not all of the time, less is more.
What do you think about the strobist hype?