The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it.
We’ve been discussing early photographers and theorists in my Visual Theory seminar, and it’s interesting to see the views and fears of men writing 50, 100 years ago concerning the medium. Some things never change. The tech-craze has certainly reached a peak right now, and I feel that there is so much pressure to have the newest camera/lens/gadgets and change them up when technology updates every few years. Reading the viewpoints of early photographers, however, makes one realize that in the barest sense, a camera is a camera. We can get caught up in pixels and file sizes, but in the end the vision, the composition, the mastery of the photographer over his machine is key. Updating your camera does not make your pictures better if you lack these abilities.