Vision vs. equipment

How much effect does your equipment have on your photography? Someone once told me that vision dictates photography, but I would be one to argue that equipment dictates a sizable chunk of the way one photographs. Take for instance 8×10 versus 35mm. Two completely different cameras and two completely different ways of thinking. Granted, you could possibly make the exact same photographs in many circumstances, unless we are talking about action/ sports photography or the likes. Not only does it change the way you shoot your images but the cameras have two very different effects on the people you are photographing (if you are a portrait kind of person).

I know I treat my digital SLR very differently from my 4×5 and I treat the images I make very differently as well. 4×5′s get scanned and stored in a laborious process so I don’t make very many images with the 4×5. I have to have the presence of mind and some foresight to even bring it along on a trip with me. My SLR I throw around like like a yo-yo often not even looking through the viewfinder. It often becomes an extension of my body and I experiment constantly with it. In some ways it is my sketch book for projects I intend to work on in a serious manner. It is also often a light meter, yes I said a light meter, for my 4×5 work. You would be surprised at how close the digital capture is at matching 4×5 slide film.

I also know of people who often go out looking for things to shoot relative to the equipment they are using. Take the Lens Baby phenomenon for instance. While I find it mind blowing that people spend thousands of dollars on a digital SLR and then slap a $2 plastic lens on it, many people enjoy the nostalgia and organic feel it brings to the photographs. It is a mere reaction to the perfection of the digital world and will undoubtedly continue. Although I would hope with less expensive cameras. Seriously, a Holga is only like twenty bucks.

So how much of your photography is determined by vision and how much by equipment? Does the equipment take over at some point?

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