Does Gear Add to the Enjoyment of Photography?

Question:

(edited for length) “For most of us, photography is a hobby. I suspect, when it comes to many people, the gear provides a lot of the enjoyment of photography. Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be about as amateur photography - enjoyment?  The other thing I haven’t heard you admit or talk about is that there are some more sorts of photography that really do require more expensive and/or specialist equipment - wildlife photography for example.  You can’t shoot birds or other distant/small wildlife with a point and shoot. I’ll continue to read and enjoy your posts!  Regards, (requested to remain anonymous).”

Answer:

Gear was a tremendously fun part of photography for me, until I realized gear wasn’t about the image, it was about the gear. The image must come first, unless you want to be a collector or a maker of camera equipment, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Honestly, I just wanted a particular lens or camera and was looking for an excuse. 

Constraints breed creativity in any art form. It’s just not thought of much in photography, because bloggers like making money selling things and photographers like buying things. It’s win-win, unless you’re looking for unique images or to learn a craft.

You only have a point-and-shoot and you want to be a bird photographer? That sounds like an incredibly interesting creative problem worth solving. 

I don’t want to reduce this to an anti-DSLR argument, though. Everyone will have a different pain point, at which the brain has to take over from the equipment and produce a result. The solution is to use that pain point to your advantage and not to surrender your brain to a gadget’s automation.