On Trust and Old, Beat Up Gear

No true relationship can be built without trust and no fun can be experienced without it. When you get on a rollercoaster, you basically have two choices. One is to think what could go wrong and be terrified during the experience, suffering from anxiety and discomfort. The other one is to let go and enjoy the ride. I presume you could kinda think of trust as “letting it go”, “it” being fear or worry. My son really enjoys free falling when I throw him up in the air. He trusts that I will catch him, and, having never experienced meeting with the floor at high speed, he’s having time of his life. Same goes for love. You cannot really love if you do not trust. And in the words of Joel Strasser, a good photographer must love life more than he loves photography.


Lately most of creatives give themselves up to GAS (something we looked at here) in search of highest resolutions, bit rates and other digital “revolutions”. We “upgrade” our kit way too often to let the old one “grow” on us.

When I came back from my trip to Japan I found a paint chip on my main camera. As I usually look after my equipment, this came as a surprise. I have not bump it against anything neither did I drop it. After a short investigation I found out that it must have happened while the camera was packed in my backpack (with protective padding) and the plastic bit from the strap must have caused the damage. Immediately I thought of a lower resale value. After few moments though I realized that this actually is a good thing. Now I can put it through its paces and use it to the fullest, without further worries about its condition. Just as I used a film camera that I picked up in Japan for less than thirty quid. Rainy weather? No worries. Snow? Cold? I will take the camera out anyway. If it breaks, I will just get another one. No tears will be shed.

Guess what, it did not break at all. It seems that decent equipment, especially one from pre-chinese-plastic era, is built much better that one could expect. Noticed how you pull back from fully using your new equipment? Whether it is a new camera, guitar or any other tool? Concerned about getting it scratched or damaged in any way? The important thing here is not to get attached to your gear and spend as little money as possible on it. This way you can put it through its paces, not worrying about damaging/braking it, and focus on creating rather than being cautious. It will also help you not to worry about it being stolen, especially if you live/travel in places with higher risk. I think this quite important, especially in the process of photography.

At the end of the day, these are just “things” (Leica shooters will jump on me here) and as useful tools as they are, not at all irreplaceable. This brings me back to what I talked at the beginning of this write up, trust and letting go, becoming unattached to the f(g)ear. Chasing latest technology and spending huge amount of money on it can cause completely adverse effect.

The message I would like to send here is:  “Stop upgrading, put your tools through their paces and let them die on you, without ever reselling them.”

On Trust and Old, Beat Up Gear - www.ditchitall.com

Just to illustrate, this is my headset that I use to study Japanese. I used it for over a year and it is falling apart. It still works and I have not even looked at a possible replacement, yet I study every day. Will to do something is the driving force. Tools are just to get us from point A to point B. As long as they do the job, the condition of them does not matter.

 Dogashima - Nikon FA - www.ditchitall.com

Dogashima. With high wind the camera was covered in salty sea water. If I was there with a few grand rig, I would probably retreat, puck my stuff and left. Less than a hundred pounds rig gave me peace of mind to stay and “get the shot” Fact, my UV filter is beyond any cleaning method, and that is a loss of about 10 pounds and I can live with that.

On Trust and Old, Beat Up Gear - www.ditchitall.com

Here’s another example, sent through by Marcin. A drummer in Gambia preparing his broken drum stick to be mended with cello tape.


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