Camera Shock

Camera Shock

I am trying to stay principled about my photography, I really do, but more often than not I feel overtaken by reality or some other realisation catching up. To counterbalance my previous insights about keeping things interesting here is another aspect well worth noting.

When we are younger and finances are tight, there is quite naturally a limitation about changing things around in your photo world. A new camera, a bigger camera, multiple cameras, these things are a financial impossibility and we had to save for a long time to purchase that one single camera we wanted. That also made us think thoroughly whether it would be the right move and a lasting choice. Nowadays with slightly more money at disposal (subject to wife approval of course) and also rapidly declining prices of classic film cameras and used digital cameras, it is a lot easier and tempting to jump at a piece of new equipment on impulse.

If you want to change your photographs, you need to change cameras. Changing cameras means that your photographs will change. A really good camera has something I suppose you might describe as its own distinctive aura.

Nobuyoshi Araki

While it may give us new creative impetus as I have written in the past, I have recently also noticed a very negative effect which will make me a lot more cautious in the future: Camera Shock. When I get interested in a new piece of equipment, a new technique, a new subject matter perhaps it disrupts my previous work to a great degree.

Now, this is not always bad, but imagine you have been in a good creative groove for a while, followed by a slight natural slump when you could argue the real work is starting. At that point, when things get a little sticky, it is tempting to divert your attention to something new. It is the path of least resistance. The problem is that New will absorb your energies for a time to come as you will immerse yourself with the new and naturally interesting, with the consequence to loose track of what you have been working on previously, before it had a chance to become your best.

As photographers the search of the most suitable piece of equipment will never be separable from the medium of photography itself, but unless we are fully aware of the implications and carefully manage ourselves consciously it may do more harm than good and hold us back in our overall development.

Obviously all this is easier said than done, but perhaps our ability to maintain the required discipline is an indicator of how serious we really are about our photography, whether we see it as our mission to produce imagery to show to the world, or whether we are simply entertaining ourselves.