Are You a Gearhead?

I was never one for having the best of things when I was buying gear for creativity. As a teenager, when I was learning to play bass guitar, I started with the cheapest bass and the smallest amp I could find. As I grew as a musician, I bought better, more expensive gear to reflect this. If anyone asked me about this, I would simply say that I had paid my dues as an amatuer and now had to move on. With photography, I continued this mentality, starting with a cheap battered old compact before moving further into old DSLRs and to the more expensive gear I have now.

This mentality doesn't seem to be a common one though. In photography the concensus is usually, 'the more gear I have, the better I am.' In the time I've photographed gigs, which is actually a small amount of time in reality, I've seen a lot of photographers with two, or sometimes more cameras, a bag filled to the brim with lenses and a cocky swagger to just top it off. I used to find it off putting to begin with, and sometimes I'd refuse to photograph a gig based on the perception that if they had all this gear, they had to know what they were doing. But that isn't always the truth.

When I go out to photograph my street shots I do so with one camera, one prime lens. Why don't I buy a cracking zoom lens? Why don't I just bring a series of lenses? Or several cameras to switch between? I do so because having less gear creates situations where I can't get the shot I want unless I move (rather than just going, oh I'll use the zoom lens for this one). It's this challenge that means I have to think on my feet constantly, or I miss out on the opportunity, and the idea is that this will eventually make me a better and more adaptable photographer.

I'd love some thoughts from some gearheads on this...