I am still getting tired though, of the "it doesn't matter what camera you have" crap. Yes it does. If it didn't you wouldn't see arguments about the lack of features on the 6D, you wouldn't see the D800 threads, and you certainly wouldn't be buying a 1DX. Why don't we all go buy 20D's, a nifty fifty, have dinner together with candlelight and wine, and then go for an evening walk holding hands? Afterall, we have all we need!!
Isn't there a difference between art and hobby too? I doubt everyone that holds a camera aims to be considered an artist. Art is sure an odd thing to define these days. I guess I'm just a bit confused by what mr Rockwell was venting about, can't you create better art if you know how to use your tools and having better equipment? Would we have the Mona Lisa if you had only a cave wall and finger paint? Pretty sure you need talent and tools to create art. Maybe photography gets a bad rap because its easy and very accessible to take a photo with today's technology I'm sure there's plenty of people painting things that people may not classify as art but I bet those kindergartener's parents would love their painting! Sure you designed and built a magnificent building but I bet I could take a cool photo of it that would outlast the lifespan of the building. I'd say enjoy what you do and create, I'm sure there's someone that will enjoy what you made and if you want expensive tools to create what you want more power too ya! I love cameras and photography and I hope I have many different cameras, lens, photographs that will be with me till I die!
You're both right, and so is Ken.
Gear helps, but it's not the be-all and end-all that some people make it out to be. Artistic vision helps too. I think Ken's biggest problem is with the people who don't have any 'artistic vision', and yet claim they do.
(my biggest problem is with people who take photos of boring everyday objects with their phones, run it through some standard filter, put a fake Polaroid border around it, post it to BookFace, and think they're artists. Holgas are cheap, and you can get expired film from ebay for $2 a roll, if you want pics to look like that. They don't make you an artist either though [/rant] )
Personally, i've never called myself an Artist. Hell, I hesitate to call myself a 'photographer'.
If anything, i'm a guy who gets paid waaay too much for the amount of work he does, which gives me the money, time, and boredom to sit and buy more and more lenses (and recently, film bodies) off ebay.
Problem is, I do have atistic visions sometimes. For example, the weekly (monthly?) assignments at TDP. This (and most) times, I read the assignment and instantly have a vision in my head of what I want to submit. When I get the time (not as often as I want), I do make a lot of concerted efforts to get that shot. But it never turns out like the vision in my head.
(Maybe I'd make a better painter? Possibly, but I hated Art at high school as much as the art teacher hated me, I never progressed beyond stick-figures.)
But the one thing I never do is blame the gear, there's not one shot where I'd gone, "oh, if only it were sharper" (except focussing errors, but mostly that's my fault), or "damn this 11 bits of DR, not enough!". If I get the shot but I had to do it at iso6400 on my 7D, so be it. To me the noise doesn't ruin the good shot (yes, i'd like it if there were less noise, but I'm happy just having captured the vision)
Thing is, there's never a set reason why they don't turn out like I want. eg this week's TDP assignment got foiled twice because the sun set faster than I'd thought and I missed the light, and on the 3rd try I got there too early, only to be chased by cows.
I've had another great vision of a building I drive past on the way home from work, got there one day when the light was perfect, had the right lens and cpl and all, but the view was blocked by a damned tree.
And a lot of the time I turn a corner and think "wow, that would make a really good photo", and I don't have my camera with me (or last week I saw a great shot out of the car window, by the time i'd nearly crashed trying to park and ran back, the light was gone).
And then there's the flipside, which is when I create what (I think, at least) is a really good shot, and I've done it all wrong. Take this photo
Crappy APS-C camera? check.
Non-macro lens? check.
No artistic vision and just running outside to snap the insect that just landed on the wall? check.
Using crappy on-board flash instead of side-mounted speedlight with soft-box or ring-flash? check.
Being so close that the lens shields the flash and I get backlight off the wall instead? check.
Still, for all of that wrong gear, wrong skill, and no artistic vision, it's one of my favourite photos. (and more ironically, once I looked at the LCD and thought it looked good, I spent another half an hour photographing that very patient dragonfly in the same manner, trying to improve. Got inside, processed, looked at them all. Guess which was the best? The very first one, of course.)