As a professional photographer, equipment is important. For the artist, light is most important. Without the intention of knocking either one, both have equal value.
Monetarily, stock photography is great, but you have to work really hard and obtain a great deal of images, cross fingers and hope for the money to come rolling in, and the hope for a little fame.
Experience in the digital darkroom can enhance our photos and some is truly necessary, enlightening even (literally!) for the darkroom artist.
Then there is the point and shoot smartphone artist. Technology has really produced some innovations with this, but it takes nerves of steel, as well as arms, to keep it up and not have camera shake, etc. However, I have seen brilliant work out there, capturing humanity at its best (and worst).
I am reminded of Virginia Maier, a photographer of yesterday. A nanny by trade, she died penniless. Someone bought a trunk at an auction filled with her work. Now she is famous. She went around the streets of NYC capturing humanity.
My message is this, keep working, keep taking pictures. They tell the stories of our lives.