Rants and discussions

Happiness and photography gear

Caught on a car boot sale camera (Kodak Retinette II) and poundland film.

An old gripe of mine.  Allow me to express it again, as a warning to others.

Don’t be sucked into spending money on gear that doesn’t have value in terms of your happiness.  Most of us are enthusiasts and amateurs.  There is nothing inferior about that.  Our enthusiasm can be based on either photographic technology, or on photographic images.  In truth, most of our enthusiasm lays somewhere between those two poles – some more by the technology, some more by photographs.  Either way, what really is important – or should be, to us enthusiasts, is happiness.

It is all so easy, and very common, for novices to be drawn towards spending more money, in the pursuit of happiness.  However, they do not always get what they wanted.  They may find, that their photography doesn’t really improve much.  They might find that spending another grand, allows them to capture some images in slightly poorer light, perhaps slightly closer, perhaps slightly further away, or perhaps with slightly more resolution.  No doubt there is a short lived gratification “I couldn’t have caught that on my last lens / body”.  Wow, look at that moon surface / macro of a bug / etc.  Cool images.  However, does this expensive imagery really enhance your creativity or skill base?  Once you’ve got closer to the moon, what is next?  How much did that image cost in monetary terms?  Has it been done before?  Is someone doing it better with even more expensive, or newer gear?

How much happiness do you think that I’ve had out of the 50p camera project?  Compare it to the purchase of a new upgrade DSLR camera.  The DSLR might have cost you around £500.00.  My XA2 snapshot camera cost £00.50.  Okay, I’ve also used film, but mainly budget or home developed.  Still, how much happiness do you think that the DSLR gives you in comparison?  I’m quite proud of some of the photographs that I’ve got out of the XA2.  They may be lo-fi but some are pretty cool and even unique.  I’ve tried to be creative.  Not always an easy thing for me.  There are no attachments or upgrades for it.  For the DSLR, you bet that you are going to desire new lenses, extensions, flashlights, bags, battery grips, etc.

That is the chief message of this blog.  Think, don’t just spend.

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Olympus XA-2 - 50p camera project II

Marketeers

Wisbech Car Boot Sale candid. Olympus XA2 50p camera project. Ilford HP5+ b/w film. ID11. V500 scanned.

Continuing my theme of local anthrophotography.  I took the above at the local car boot sale.  The very same market, that I bought this Olympus XA2 from, for 50p.  The above is an example of that most cowardly candid – the shot from the hip candid portrait.  The XA2 is very good for that.  The two ladies were clearly of “East European” origin, and were busy selling goods from their stall.  I think that their dress and faces give away their origins very nicely.

The local car boot sale / Sunday market is incredibly popular with immigrants from Lithuania, Poland, Czech, Romania, Latvia, Russia, etc.  I wonder if the popularity of these sort of junk sales started in the late Soviet era?  The seeds of Capitalism.  Wherever you walk around the market, you hear so many languages.  This is what I was hoping to capture in the silver salts of this exposure.

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