Tilting Toward Irrelevance: The Problem With Gear Chatter

There's a new thing going on in photography these days and I'm not quite sure I understand it. 

Ever since the dawn of the modern DSLR, Canon and Nikon have easily edged out all competition and shared the number one slot together comfortably. Some DSLR shooters take the time to mention on their website which brand they prefer, but most don't make much fuss of it - and in the end, it doesn't really matter. Both systems work great, and clients don't care one way or the other. 

But with all the amazing new cameras hitting the market these days, it seems that it matters now where it didn't before. 

Every day a new photographer is talking about making the switch to all Fuji or selling their DSLRs and going iPhone only. There are a surprisingly large number of professional photographers out there who advertise themselves as iPhone only shooters, and even more surprising is the number of photographers being hired for work strictly because they are iPhone shooters. 

Now, I'm a big fan of iPhones and Fuji gear. I own both and shoot them alongside my DSLRs often. The images coming out of these little cameras are simply amazing and they certainly have a place in the professional photographers bag (or pocket). In fact, every camera ever made has its place depending on the style you're going for - Holga, Hasselblad, Polaroid, pinhole, everything. 

What I don't understand is why photographers are talking about it all so much now. Sure, I love a nice chat about gear with a fellow photographer, but it seems like there is less calm discussion going on these days, and way more senseless name dropping. 

Aren't the images supposed to speak for themselves?

Should I respect an image more knowing it was shot with a Fuji?

Or is this about respecting the photographer?

Photography is a tough game. Most professional photographers have to take just about any job they can get to keep putting food on the table, all while maintaining an air of ironclad success to the world around them, and sometimes that means jumping on whatever bandwagon drives by at any given moment just to stay alive. We've all done a shoot in a field with an old couch and vintage suitcases, haven't we? We know the game. 

There's always going to be a new thing that generates buzz, and sure, it's fun to watch where the buzz ends up, but in the end - it's all about the images. 

We will all get better if we keep shooting and keep trying new gear and new ideas, but the photographers that will stand the test of time will always to be the ones who simply go about their work, letting the world see it and judge it for what it is without exposition.

I'm excited about the future of photography, but what excites me most is what we can do with all this new gear on the market, not the brand name written across the front of it. The "iPhone Only Photographers" and the "Fuji Only Photographers" will fade soon away when people get used to the novelty of it, and they will end up just being photographers like the rest of us, quietly using whatever gear suits them and hopefully making a good living with it. 

I see a lot of chatter like this on social media these days, and some of the leaders of our industry are not only encouraging it but actively participating in it. This tweet below (retweeted by Zach Arias) says it all:

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I mean, who cares? 

Let's start using whatever cameras we enjoy using, and start letting the images speak for themselves. Canon, Nikon, Phase, Fuji - they are all just ways to take a picture. The only thing that matters is the photographs we get out of them. 

Take whatever camera you want wherever you want to go, but let's see more pictures and less chatter. It's better for all of us, even the big dogs.