I put this thread squarely in the Leica forum because I'm certain that most Leica users have spent their share of time justifying their gear choices to themselves and all-knowing perfect strangers willing to take a shot at their gear choices.
Most of the time, however, the gear choice rationale seems much easier to summon than the defense of one's own style. I don't know about anyone else, but I can tune out a hundred nice shot opinions. Utter a dissenting critique/common, and that's the one I remember. Perhaps it's human nature or even a predisposition to earnestly evaluate all relevant criticism.
We've all discovered that people are certainly willing to express their negative opinions in the age of the internet ... and with ferocity.
My question is: Are the great photographers the ones with the thickest skins? Do they have an inherent ability to find relevance by ignoring nonconstructive criticism to emerge like fiery phoenixes with their shiny own visions?
It seems that the more people that embrace photography, the more it has become a spectator sport where gangs of new wave 'traditionalists' and leather-helmeted old schoolers are trying to dictate the rules of the game. Shoot with short lenses they say, shoot with film, shoot at f8 or higher, carry small lenses, and on and on. Only the brave are willing to color outside of the lines.
As I get older, I'm finding that I'm beginning to worry less about what anybody else tells me is the 'right' approach. I simply try to use what is in my camera bag to find the connection I'm looking for. And for me and my gradually thickening skin, I'm finding that's good enough.