Someone asked for recommendations on software and services for turning out very low volume books with high quality photos and text. I haven't personally used blurb, but I've seen and liked the results. When I've asked some serious art types for recommendations, there is seems to be a general agreement this is either the best or one of the best.
Digital photography has mostly eliminated the use of film, but it hangs on and even thrives as part of an artform. One of these areas is 20x24 inch Polaroid work. Alan notes a company that acquired Polaroid's old film stock and their film production process. Years ago I saw an exhibit of 20x24" Polaroid photography and can only describe it as stunning. Part of it is the nature of the film and the camera, but probably a more important component was the fact that only seriously good photographers attempt this and the shots tend to be very thought-out and deliberate.
Unless you have a specialized need (like available light photography of difficult subjects or printing large enlargements), it may be that a minimal camera is sufficient. There is a school of thought that living under the restrictions of such a camera, in the hands of a good photographer, leads to excellent photography and that learning with restrictions in a good thing and perhaps optimal.
Pros, of course, know how to find interesting images. There is a lot most of us can learn with nearly anything and the combination of the low image cost of digital photography combined with the portability of a very small device that travels with you can be powerful.
Now if I only had the discipline to learn the art properly... A friend noted that her high school had a fine arts requirement for graduation - everyone had to take one term of a music or art class - she took photography and it shows. This happened about 20 years ago - it probably couldn't happen in a contemporary public high school with the obsession on testing and a very limited number of subjects.
Speaking of repurposing, Jennifer Ouelette edits an old blog post into one on tech and fashion - notably featuring Hussein Chalayan. Some interesting exploration is going at the high end of ready to wear, haute couture (Iris van Herpen), and exploration in places like NYU and Parsons as well as small scale designers who are playing with technique and design.