I fall into the latter category. I not only refrain from wearing "the vest," I don't own one-- Never have and, most likely, never will.
Whenever I see shooters wearing those spiffy photographer vests, I perceive them as photo-snappers belonging to a special group, a tightly-knit club, a secret fraternal order. One I've never been invited to join.
In my mind, vest-wearing shooters are to photography as those guys with shaved heads and orange robes are to Buddhism, "colors" wearing Hells Angels are to motorcycle enthusiasts, or kilt-sporting highlanders are to the Scots.
I sometimes wonder if these guys have secret handshakes, use mysterious symbolism, and attend nocturnal meetings in round, lens-shaped, temples. More than any other group of photographers, those who wear "the vest" are members of a cult: Cult of the Photo Vest.
They're like the Freemasons of photography.
The Cult of the Photo Vest reveres things like film, rangefinder cameras, German optics, and landscape and nature shooting. They are all, universally, well-versed in the art, craft, and
When you go to sites like photo.net and ask a difficult technical question, a question whose answer seems to defy Googling, it's more than likely a vest-wearing photographer who will provide you the answer. These are guys, after all, who not only quote the Sunny 16 Rule and the Inverse Square Law, they can explain these things in infinite detail. When it comes to all things photographic, they are bi-pedal Photo-Wikipedians: Photo-Wikis for short.
While many vest-wearers seem to belong to older generations, I do occasionally see younger initiates at various events where photographers gather. I'm not accusing the cult of refusing admittance to women but, thus far, I've yet to see a female photographer wearing a photo-vest. Maybe I simply haven't looked hard enough?
The cult doesn't appear to actively seek new members. I'm not sure how someone joins or becomes a member. Invitation? Borg-like assimilation? Simply purchasing and proudly wearing a photo vest? I have no clue.
We need these guys. They are the keepers of photographic truth. If slinging the latest dSLR on one's shoulder says "photographer," wearing "the vest" says, "photo zealot." And I mean that in the nicest way with the utmost of respect.
My next update will return to regularly scheduled programming. Programming that focuses on examining the forces that results in pictures of scantily-clad, or unclad, pretty girls-- Pretty girls like Monica, below, shot in my (former) studio, 3 or 4 years ago. (Once again, I hopped in the way-back machine to dredge up a an older PG photo for this update.)