PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux

30Apr/080

What’s the point of all this gear?

The obsession for quality is a barrier to creativity not only for me, but for a wide cross-section of amateur photographers. I claim this as my hypothesis today, but I’ve believed this for a while now.

Fear of questionable quality is also an excellent excuse to not shoot most of the time: no special subject, poor light, subject not sitting still, etc…


Over-exposure, camera motion, weak composition. F80, Nikkor 50/1.8, Ilford Delta 100.

I found this gem of an essay a long time ago, and I go back to it every month for a re-read.

It came to me at precisely the right time. When Petteri describes the pressure to make boring photographs, it rings true to my soul. I too could have written the part about gearheads, it speaks in my voice in my head when I read it…


Poor contrast, focus not on the eyes, no catchlights. F80, Nikkor 50/1.8, Fuji P400H.

I go back to Petteri’s essay regularly because the thought process that it (and his other essays) started is still ongoing.

Where is the gear addiction leading to – will the images from the new gear mean more to me?
Is it wrong to say that I like how fine equipment draws and handles?
Is it selfish to worry about details when, in my peer group, only I can see or feel the difference?


I must be focus-challenged. Or am I falling in Petteri’s blurry trap? FE-2, Zeiss 35/2, Fuji P400H.

I also know that the gear does matter. Yes it matters.

Yet these flawed photographs I've included here are among my all-time favorite. They were each made using suboptimal gear in suboptimal conditions, with flawed technique. But I love them.


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