For some photographers, their equipment is the most important part of their way-of-working.
For others, equipment is not as important as beginning photographers often think.
Yes, a great tool in one's hands is powerful.
As a boy, I played classical guitar.
I was able to purchase the least expensive guitar from a fine maker of guitars (Martin).
I didn't understand what I held in my hands until I was at a biology club meeting at a classmates home.
I borrowed his guitar, and played some Fernando Sor.
The guitar felt dead.
I loved my own guitar more.
• Yet, great tools are also cardboard boxes.
Marcia C. Sheer was a great friend.
We met when she became my teaching assistant.
In her sixties, she had been a fabric designer, painter, and was now a photographer.
She photographed and exhibited all over the world with her cardboard-box pinhole cameras.
I remember meeting her at a Chinatown (NYC) restaurant for lunch.
Marcia arrived before me, and was almost kicked out of the establishment.
They had thought she was a homeless woman because of the cardboard boxes in her shopping cart.
She had to show them that she was a photographer.
Photographers can adjust to what they have available to them, at the moment.
Frederick Sommer had an 8x10 inch view camera, but the lens was for a 4x5 camera.
The light from the lens did not reach to the edges of the 8x10 inch negatives.
Unless, that is, Sommer did close-ups.
So he photographed still lifes, and nature, up close.1
A photographer brought along a photograph when she went to a friend's dinner party. Her friend accepted the gift and admired the photograph, adding:
You must have such a nice camera.
The photographer, at the end of the evening, said to her friend:
Thanks so much. That was a lovely meal. Your pots and pans must be very nice.
In his blog, Hugh MacLeod wrote a list of creativity tips:
10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece on the back of a deli menu would not surprise me.
Meeting a person who wrote a masterpiece with a silver Cartier fountain pen on an antique writing table in an airy SoHo loft would SERIOUSLY surprise me.2