Article originally posted on Medium on July 23, 2017.
It’s easy to be caught up wanting what’s new.
Whether it’s the new iPhone that came out or a new expensive camera, technology is constantly changing and evolving, and we, as humans, just want to keep up.
In photography, this is a common thread: photographers wanting “better” equipment or judging themselves and others by the equipment used. But we should never allow our want for “better” equipment or gear to hold us back from our ability to create art.
As a photographer, it’s normal to believe, from time to time, that your gear defines the outcome of your product or art. Because of this mentality, many are held back from creating or don’t at all because of the gear they either have or don’t have. This was how I was for a long time.
Looking back on it, it kills me knowing that I once allowed gear to hold me back from capturing a moment or an experience and creating art. I’m here to tell you, as a photographer, that gear does not matter.
Some of the world’s greatest photographers, like Platon, use a 35mm film camera to create work that inspires millions. I often get asked what gear I use to photograph my work and have been so hesitant to tell people because I don’t use equipment that has a value of $5,000 or more, I use a beginner camera and lens, just because it’s what I’m comfortable with, I use a Canon t2i with a Canon 50mm 1.8 lens. Also, I’m a college student who doesn’t have the financial liberty to spend $3,000 on a camera. One day, maybe I will spend that money on a camera. But in the meantime, I refuse to allow myself to stop creating, doing what I love and allowing the gear I have to hold me back.
The reality is that in photography, the camera and lens that you use serve as merely a tool to help make the vision inside you, a tangible piece of work, but your gear does not and should not dictate your efforts in creating something beautiful.
“I don’t believe you should ever allow your tools to dominate the message.” — Platon
In this, I urge you to shamelessly create.
NEVER let fear hold you back from the drive to create. As artists, we not only have a duty but the privilege to create. We have the gift of revealing the world in our perspective. And while the truth is the extent of another’s perspective, we show the world our truth. While many believe that the gear controls the outcome of the product, in reality, WE dictate the outcome. WE envision and create the art. The cameras and lenses used are merely tools that help us create it, but it doesn’t create the art, WE do. So, whether you have a smartphone, disposable camera or the most expensive camera in the game, CREATE shamelessly and without boundaries or limitations. CREATE with a mind absent of critics and full of pure inspiration, full of pure self. CREATE to share the truth of feeling, connection and the things that make up the human experience. CREATE to show the world your voice. CREATE to share the emotions and experiences that define you. CREATE in an effort to shake the world and unite it. CREATE to inspire and keep others aiming higher. This is art: Design, Music, Photography and more. All necessary components to what captures the present state of the world challenge it inspires it and keeps it moving forward.
Continue creating, my friends.