I came across a short article written by Tim Clinch in <Black + White Photography> magazine. He wrote about the importance of sticking to one camera for a long time. It resonates a lot with me so I would like to share one quote in the article:
“The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it” – Edward Weston 1951.
Can you relate to this quote?
I totally do.
Do you realised how often you feel frustrated in your photography that you start to put the blame on your camera/lens? I often do. That’s why I became greedy and started buying a few film cameras, which most of the time stay in the cabinet. Because I don’t see magic occurring even after I change the medium.
New gear doesn’t improve your skill
I still hate myself for buying the X-pro2 thinking it can make my photos stand out. The truth is it doesn’t. So, I hope my ‘lesson’ can help restrict myself and maybe you from falling into the vicious cycle of buying gears after gears. I want to stop buying and I blog to constantly remind myself never to impulsively buy a new camera or lens thinking they would help improve my skills.
However, there is a difference between buying lens because it improves your skill versus buying lens because you need it. Be clear with the reason you buy.
Like the quote mentions: make your medium your slave. Know the camera functions inside out. Stick to one focal length for a long time so you can visualise the image in your head. Get away from photography friends who are always talking and persuading you to buy new lens. Or criticise your image because you use the ‘wrong’ lens.
One of the reasons I fell into the trap of ‘x-pro2 will improve my photography’ was because I was with a group of adults (I mean people in late 30-40s) in photography workshop. They are constantly talking about cameras and lenses. They always have new gears/gadgets/bags/lenses/cameras in every lesson.
For example, if they think their wide angle lens is not good enough, they will have a new ultra wide angle lens in the next lesson. Of course, at that age, they have the buying power. Imagine if I wasn’t aware that ‘buying gears doesn’t improve your skill’ concept, and I have the buying power, I would have joined their gang, buying and buying.
I really hope I can stop buying my lenses/cameras. It’s not easy because analogue camera is just so charming! But I realise even after I feed my greed with gears, the greed doesn’t satisfied but they grow fatter. Now I have a Rolleiflex and a Leica. I am so scared of what I would go for next.
If things continue to be like this, I won’t be able to master all my cameras. I will be a slave to my camera. Too many equipment choices in photography is often a bad thing.
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