The craft serves the content.
My work is all about trying to show something that I feel, think, or see. It's ideas and emotions. Maybe I try to describe what it feels like to stand by the ocean and inhale the atmosphere, feeling good. Or it could be about an idea of something that is important but people often forget about, little reminders.
Everything, and I mean everything, that I do from taking a light metering to spotting and mounting the finished print, is subservient to that one final goal - to communicate my feeling, idea, or vision.
The moment that it becomes about a certain technique, or an idea surrounding a photographic concept, like depth of field, a certain material, or a particular type of camera, I will try to remain objective and call it a day.
Art is about expression, right? Expression comes from something that is within us and our experiences. To get that stuff out and on to paper would constitute an artistic endeavor the way I see it. Everything else can perhaps be an enjoyable thing to do, but not something that I would find worthwhile.
Finally, in what we do, time matters. The older our photographs are, the more they become impossible to revisit. Things change, but we documented something at a specific point in time. Today I notice how portraits I made of people many years ago have a different meaning, and represent a time capsule. That dynamic I find very interesting, so to be able to treat each of those moments with enough respect to preserve them the very best we can, or to describe what we saw, perhaps to remind ourselves or others some day of what happened a long time ago. Here craft really matters, because we change too. When we create prints in our darkrooms, we swing from one year or decade to the next in how we want to present our work. Lately I've been printing very dark, and some day down the road I will revisit the prints I make today, and maybe look at them with fresh eyes.
Our expression reflects who we are, and our craft that's embedded in our prints is a window to look through, to perhaps get something more than content from the experience. We owe it to our art work to improve our craft, to evolve, and to do our utmost to show what we wanted to show. That is why craft is important. Not materials, but how to use our tools.
Those are my two cents.