The Real Reason Gear Matters

Photographic equipment, often perceived as the key to getting better shots, serves a more nuanced role in the creative process. Understanding this relationship between gear and creativity is not only essential for new photographers looking to evolve but also for those questioning the impact of their equipment on their work. This insightful video addresses the dilemma faced by many photographers: balancing the allure of new technology with the essence of creativity.

Coming to you from Andrew Lanxon Photography, this reflective video delves into the misconception that new equipment is a surefire way to photographic success. Lanxon, using his experience with the Canon EOS R5, illustrates that while a camera may tick all the right technical boxes, it doesn't necessarily fuel creativity. He draws an interesting comparison between his feelings towards the R5 and a plumber's practical but uninspiring van. This analogy strikingly highlights a common photographer's predicament: finding gear that not only performs well but also inspires. Lanxon's discussion extends to his personal preference for the Sony RX1R, an older camera, for its ability to invigorate his passion for photography. His insights emphasize the importance of finding joy and inspiration in the equipment we use, regardless of its age or specifications.

Lanxon also explores the emotional connection with equipment, illustrating how certain cameras can ignite a photographer's creativity. His experiences underscore the idea that the right equipment should resonate with the photographer on a personal level, sparking a desire to create and explore. His reflections offer a meaningful lesson: the best camera is not always the most advanced one, but the one that inspires you to capture the world around you. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Lanxon. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I listened and tried to understand where Andrew was coming from and ended up not just disagreeing but questioning his whole position that, its gear that excites. To my mind what should be inspiring any photographer is the subject and the desire that comes from within and wanting to create and not what happens to be in your hand. I get inspired and excited by all kinds of subjects and ideas but have never been inspired by my camera or lens or tripod, monopod or bag. They are all just things that support my desire to shoot the subject Ive been drawn to. Don't get me wrong I like my Sony A7R5 I think it's a reasonable piece of kit but not the source of any photographic inspiration. Ill look out for Andrew next time Im up on the crags...yes thats where he took the Hasselblad and convince him to see the error of his ways! While I see Andrew likes a tipple. Can I recommend to him McLeans Nose. While it is a blend and not a single malt it's a very fine whiskey from the Ardnamurchan distillery, it consists of 70% malt, with a high proportion drawn from sherry casks. Designed to showcase a classic west coast character, it's brimming with salted citrus, praline, and oily smoke. If you are ever in Dunked pop into the Whiskey Box in the high street and ask for Will. If you don't get some inspiration after a few drams.....

Can I recommend Andrew's videos on macro photography, really good stuff, well worth a watch.

I'll take your R5 off your hands, if it doesn't inspire you...haha. I figure eventually I'll buy one, but for now I can't afford one, and to buy a bunch of R lenses.

That guy is just really, really confused. I've never expected my hammer to inspire me to do woodworking. I don't expect my knives to inspire me to cook. Why would you expect your camera to inspire you do take photos? If you're only motivated by the pleasure of using the camera, then the camera is a toy and not a tool. There's nothing wrong with your camera being a toy. But being confused about your goals and motivations is concerning.

I agree with Andrew, gear does matter. For instance, I'm not inspired to take photos with my phone even though it's with me all the time. It doesn't motivate me to want to get up at the butt-crack of dawn, endure 116 degree heat, and travel for thousands of miles. Passion and gear go hand-in-hand.

In contrast to the cooking analogy above. My knife does inspire me to cook. :D As well the knife sharpening tools. There's just something about slicing through vegetables and meat with razor blade ease. Then, my heavy non-stick frying pan. There's just something about having one pan to rule them all. Lastly, my wireless meat thermometer, because gadgets are rad.