Les Miserable. Zach Theatre.
It seems fashionable these days for bloggers to share their weaknesses, addictions, foibles and idiosyncrasies. I think I'm generally transparent enough for most of my readers to discern that I'm indecisive; long term, and too decisive; short term, when it comes to buying cameras and lenses. What seems like a brilliant strategy in the moment seems like a blunder when I look at the long game. I think you can also tell that I can ignore logic, in the service of immediate gratification, better than most. Otherwise I'd still be shooting with the two Canon 5Dmk2 cameras I bought nearly ten years ago, along with the selection of lenses which, in hindsight, I did not appreciate enough. Those cameras would have served me just as well as the never ending conveyor belt of new camera models and brands I've dallied with over the years.
Maybe worse than others I subconsciously believethat I'm not an adequate photographer or creative person and it's my ongoing and fervent hope that in buying camera after camera I'll find the magic camera model that creates great work in spite of my lack of talent or tenacity. If finding the right camera promises to be the secret to success the next glitch in the logic becomes, "How will I know that this camera is the one?" What about the next one?
I recently bought, and started to use, two Nikon D800 series cameras. I had previously owned a D810 and, par for the course, sold it to invest in yet another exploration in search of magic camera models. Selling the D810 was a dunderheaded move as the D810 was, and is, a great picture maker. And a decent video tool. The image quality out of the D800s is as good, to my eye, but in tossing away the newer camera I also tossed away good video capability and a more mature and elegantly handling camera body.
So, what do I attribute this self-destructive and financially costly behavior to? Hmmmm. I've been afflicted by anxiety for decades. The decline of the commercial photography marketplace in 2008-2009, and beyond, had a disastrous effect on my emotional well being. I started having panic attacks which were truly debilitating and caused me to question everything. It also made (and continues to make) some of my camera purchasing more erratic that it should be.
Looking over the last ten years I've spent an inordinate amount of time doing what I consider to be "non-photographic" busy work. I spent a fair amount of time researching, writing, photographing and producing five books about photography for Amherst Media. I finished a 465 page novel. By which I mean I wrote a 465 page fiction book, not that I read one.... (I do read at least one novel a week and have for decades....)
I worked hard to maintain the status quo in my business because of my almost compulsive desire to put my kid through a great college education and to have him emerge from the experience with no debt. All of this busy work helped (at least partially) to keep the anxiety at bay. I acquired the skills (through $$$ therapy) to talk myself out of trembly, paralyzing panic attacks and learned better ways to deal with the pervasive current of anxiety that most of us afflicted with the disorder have come to accept as routine. Even the blog is a tool for distracting me from anxiety and giving me the illusion of some control over my life and my trajectory.
So here I am on Monday morning. I've just gotten off the phone discussing the tax consequences of something in my father's accounts with a wealth management advisor. I've made an appointment for a phone conference with my father's CPA. I've made adjustments to some accounts to preserve principle in my father's investments without absolutely killing growth (I hope). And I have to say that ensuring someone else's financial health and wellbeing is an added level of anxiety shoveled on top of the garden variety. Maybe that's why the thought of buying a used Nikon D3X popped into my mind this morning and presented itself to me as a rational thing to consider. I guess this particular blog is an admission that I buy (and consider buying) gear for all the wrong reasons --- no matter how convincingly I can spin my rationales.
The bane of having too many choices is being able to make too many choices. I know the itch for this ancient camera is really just another look under another rock in vain search for talent, acceptance, photographic competence and more. I'm thinking this is a dangerous business to be in and maybe it's time to consider a business that doesn't require (emotionally) the constant upgrade mentality. Does anybody know of one?
At least everything I look at these days (cameras and lenses) is used, with used gear holding more interest for me than new. Perhaps I'm looking back at cameras that were proven by "better" users and convincing myself that the older generation of gear is really Excaliber. Who knows?
Heading in the house to toss my credit cards in the blender. But certain the banks will only send me more...