To start with, photography is easy. Get a camera take some photos, get a bit better. Life is good and gratification flows. Then it starts to get more complicated. You start to want to improve. You compare your photos against images that define a generation and obviously they come up short. So your ego takes a knock, but you soldier on, and you start to research more. Hours are lost to the internet.
And then it seems so many of us get caught by reviews of cameras. Of flashes, lenses, light meters. In the search to become better photographers we take a wrong turn and obsess about gear, like that is the route to good photos. It’s easy to see why on reflection. Technology is a physical thing. You can compare one piece to another. You can say this sensor has a higher resolution than this sensor. This shutter is faster than that shutter. On the internet review and technology sites abound.
And so you get lost in the world of technology but your photos don’t really improve much. They just become technically better versions of the same boring photos that you could take before. Higher resolution. More space in your hard drive. More time invested in a death spiral of technology, but no worth in the photos you produce. And no gratification.
I think everyone who becomes interested in being a photographer runs this risk. I know I have wasted years on obsessing about which is the perfect camera and system. And wasted a very large amount of money too but still failed to be satisfied about my own progression as a photographer.
The problem is it’s easy to look at technology but hard to look at artistry.
Artistry begins with imagining what you want to say, what you want to achieve. With an understanding of your materials. With research into other works, both in your field and outside of your field. It develops through repetition and refinement. But it begins with finding a voice. And that voice isn’t on the internet, and it certainly isn’t on a review site.