A good camera and good lenses are of course essential to reach good results, and in all cases it is always better to use a high quality equipment. However, often the photographer is inclined to give too much importance to the level of his equipment.
I remember that after I bought my enlarger´s lens, one of the best on the market, I obtained prints that did not satisfy me. For this reason I was often tempted to buy another one of a competitor brand, because I was convinced that with the new one I would finally obtain what I had in mind. But since I know that, as the old saying goes, “what matters is the foot, not the model of climbing boot”, I did resist to the impulse to buy the new lens and I continued to work with the old one, trying to improve my printing skills. One day I finally began to get the results I was looking for, and this means that the problems I had ascribed to the lens were only due to my lack of skill.
It is obviously more convenient to look for the cause of our problems in the technical equipment. But in fact things can be different, and in order to achieve good results we need a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of hard work. When I feel tempted to buy the newest technical device, with the illusion that this might solve one of my technical problems, I think about the camera and the lenses that Edward Weston used in the 1920s when he was in Mexico, an equipment I saw in an old picture printed in a book: today nobody would even think of making use of such tools – for sure the lenses weren´t apochromatic or aspherical – but those tools were able to produce photographs of unsurpassed beauty and quality.