In the West we’re bombarded with advertising and selling messages at what sometimes feels like a thousand times a second.
Combined with this, many of us are old enough to remember simpler, quieter times, when our parents and grandparents had just one camera, one tv, one car, if that. Instead of at least one of each of these (and a dozen other devices) for every member of the household, which seems the norm today.
So we end up torn between the endearing appeal of what seemed to work for “folks back then”, and the mantras we’re force fed today about how we can never be happy unless we have more, and more, and more.
Back to photography, and the vast availability of vintage cameras is mind boggling.
I’d now include “vintage” digital cameras too – a quick browse on eBay for digital cameras under £25 tonight shows 5500 matches. Extend this to under £100 and you have the pick of over 12000 items!
We have an almost infinite choice for our photographic arsenal, and all at super irresistible affordable prices.
Which, combined with the waves of attack of buy buy buy brainwashing, makes it very difficult not to get drawn in and indulge.
But I like to think about this as the “All I Need” illusion.
We tells ourselves – “All I need is that Super Takumar 50/1.4 to perfect my lens collection”.
“All I need is that new Sony A7 mirrorless and all that photographic potential that’s laying dormant in me can finally explode”.
“All I need is that 60 year old Leica M3 to finally be able to make pictures like the greats”.
With this mentality, we believe that one final piece of kit in our photography puzzle can at last stop the buying compulsions, end our ridiculously overextended adventure as a camera tester extraordinaire, and allow us at last to get on with making beautiful photographs with a camera we love.
The problem is, if we get sucked into this way of thinking, there’s no end to it.
There’s always one more Takumar lens, one more new Sony mirrorless or one more vintage German machine with the mythical red dot that promises even more.
Instead we need to stop, and realise the reality. Quite simply, we need to tell ourselves – “I already have “all I need”, both to enjoy myself and to make beautiful photos…”
Go right now to wherever it is you keep your cameras and have a good look around.
Now I bet you can’t look yourself in the mirror and say “I don’t have all I need to make great photographs”.
Take back control, and shatter the All I Need Illusion.
Get out there and and love using what you already have, to practice, practice and practice becoming the very best photographer you can be.
What are your thoughts on the All I Need illusion?
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