This was a really good thread! So good it made me register to the CR forum(about time, considering i visit CR everyday).
There is one person that came to my mind when i read this. The Swedish photograper Anders Peterssen.
Last summer i worked at one of his exhibition and i thought of course he had used some expensive gear for his work. But
then i found out he uses a Contax T3, compact analog camera for most of his work! Anders is a photographer who captures
the ugly moments in life and converts it into art and for him it's more what you capture and not what you capture with.
Check out some of his work at http://www.anderspetersen.se/selectedworks.html
or just Google his name.
Sorry for the bad grammar (I'm from Sweden aswell) but i'm sure you understand me anyway