applies to anything ... is this you?
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I never made anything serious
It’s good to have all that gear, IF you do something serious with it. That was not the case in my story. I shot two rolls of film with the Fuji 6×9 and sold it with 19 rolls of Ilford HP5. The large format? About 7 shots. All that lighting gear? I even had a 90-inch umbrella! I barely made a few shots with them.
I barely have anything substantial with all my other cameras. All the personal devices? I was still not as productive as I fantasized. You see, throughout my entire professional camera owning career, I stagnated when it came to photography. I was never focused on what I could do right now but always what I could do later, when I got yet another camera or lens.
We lie best to ourselves, because we believe ourselves. I didn’t need all these cameras but bought them anyway. I had reasons, I told myself, to buy them. I had GOOD reasons too, I told myself, to sell them.
The line that always got me was “It’s an investment” — all my cameras were investments in my mind. But investments are worth nothing without commitment. Buying that 4×5 was “an investment” in my landscape photography.
Nevermind that I never really actually took landscape seriously. The only “landscape” I got out of that camera was a scene of an empty school yard at nautical twilight. That shot is still in the Readyload sheet. So is my two rolls of 120 film, a bunch of 35mm cans and all of my 110 film canisters.
I somehow believed the recurring lie that somehow my photography would be unleashed with a new camera or lens, how much better how I would be. I would think that while being oblivious to the fact that I never advanced in my photography because I was too busy to get cameras to learn anything or too shoot anything. What an idiot. I could have been 3 times the photographer I am today if I didn’t have G.A.S. So much time wasted.
Beware of making excuses to buy another camera, you will always find one. Heck, speaking of excuses some dude sued his own parents because of how bad he turned out!
Buying more and more as insecurity
I then realized what was happening, I was insecure in my photography so I was finding it in cameras. When you get a new camera you feel like you can take on Eugene Smith or something. But after the high, I needed my next fix to hide my insecurities.
That’s why I could never have enough cameras, I needed more and more stuff to hide behind, to validate myself. I needed to look at a camera and say “Don’t worry man, you’re a photographer, you have a camera, you’re a photographer.” It was of course rooted in my insecurities.
Now I am secure in my own photography because I know my intent and work towards it. I’m getting better every day. I don’t need a camera to feel secure, because I now trust myself to actually deliver.
Food for thought
The big gleaning from my past addiction, I think, is that photography and gear operate on the basis of the inverse square law. The more you invest in gear the less interest in photography. The more you invest in photography the less interest in gear.