This blog post is more or less talking about gear acquisition syndrome, cross out if you don’t want to read about it.
Not too long ago, I chanced upon a book ‘Goodbye, things, on minimalist living’ by Fumio Sasaki.
‘Minimalism’ is not an unfamiliar term to me. I have friend who really live the minimalist lifestyle where he removes his TV set and only own a few essential items. He’s happy and satisfied.
Anyway, this book talks about why more people are adopting the minimalist lifestyle and the obvious benefits after living it.
One of the points mentioned that reflects how I feel about my photography hobby is ‘Chain Reaction‘.
In another words, when we buy an item, we might acquire not one, but maybe 5 more items.
To illustrate, let’s say you buy a Leica camera body. Then, you will buy a lens. Then, filter. You might buy several filters like CPL, yellow, red, UV or whatever. You might want to protect your camera so you buy a camera case. Then, a strap. Then, you also might buy cleaning kit.
Next, your dry box ran out of space, but all cameras are precious and you don’t want to sacrifice any of them out of dry box. You end up buying another one. Lastly, you also need to buy silica gels for all your dry boxes.
I was told it’s a man thing to like to add accessory to their stuff, so you might buy a shutter pin to decorate your camera.
So, maybe one lens doesn’t satisfy you, so you end up buying lens of another focal length. Let’s say that lens require different diameter for filter. There you go, you end up buying another set of filter.
So you see, one thing leads to another.
In my case, it fucks my mind up. I was never satisfied.
When I got hold of a Nikon, I wanted small Rollei. Then I wanted point & shoot.
Then I wanted medium format. After twin lens reflex, I pursued Hasselblad.
I bought protective filters for each lens, respective accessory for each camera body.
Every time when I need to choose a camera to bring out, it’s a headache because I have too many choices. Furthermore, when you have more cameras, the chances of spending money to maintain them is also higher.
Now, I have stopped because I know no matter how many cameras I have, I was never satisfied.
I would dream about the Makina 67 or a Contax T2 another guy has.
Then, I would compare myself with the person: How on earth can he/she always buy camera? Then, it would lead me to dissatisfaction, thinking my income is too low.
Or that my biomedical field just suck where I won’t get rich unless I am a Professor with lots of research grants. Then, I would see myself as failure if I didn’t managed to be one.
It’s a vicious cycle.
That’s why many people are unhappy even though they are high-flyer in many people’s eye. Because they constantly compare themselves to others. Just like you might think your boss is successful, but your boss might be stressed up comparing his achievement with the CEO of another Multi-National Corporation (MNC). This CEO might also be depressed by constantly comparing himself with Jack Ma?
From my point of view, even this small thing like camera can make me feel inadequate and compare myself with others… then what about everything else?
Recently I know of a friend’s friend getting into depression. I was shocked.
That person is smart, and seems to have a super bright future climbing the career ladder. However, he ended up having depression because he is constantly comparing his achievement with others to prove himself. He thinks too much and over analyse many minor things.
I don’t want to end up like that.
So, one small step is to stop pursuing camera. As I clearly know that if you don’t know how to frame your shot, no matter how good or expensive your camera is, your shot is still rubbish compared to a pro who uses a cheap plastic camera.
The next is to sell off all the rarely-used cameras, which I sold the Olympus XA and Contax TVS.
Next is to really stop being a hoarder, which is a job in progress. I have donated clothes, selling films and clearing out junk. Ideally, I hope I have the courage to finally only own one camera, one lens. And have the max 5 rolls of film in my cupboard.
It’ll be really impressive if I can lead that kind of minimalist lifestyle. Not sure if I can do it.
Now I really wonder: are people really happy owning so many cameras? Or are they as dissatisfied as I am? Or are they constantly worry about losing their precious cameras?
Or worst still, do they recognised this phenomenon?
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