Changing my approach to photography

My photography enables me to learn, to see the world differently, to be creative and to help me focus during hard times (non-pun intended).

This was especially so during the start of the pandemic and led me to create several projects to help me cope with the situation.

In a very short space of time, I set up a shop on Etsy, created my first book dedicated to the pandemic, followed by another and then one reminiscing on my travels to Thailand.

I also spent a lot of this time reading, researching, obtaining, testing, selling and trying out countless cameras and film.

I guess this is a pretty privileged situation to be in but it kept me occupied and got my interest piqued.
In the space of the first year of the pandemic, this was inspiring and exciting.

And then something happened.

I felt I had shot all the photos before and I was not interested in finding alternatives to shooting what I had previously.

I know there is always a new photo to be taken and something new to learn but I simply didn’t want to expel any more energy at the meadow (for example) where I live, trying to get another angle of the trees and light.

The pandemic also meant more people were out and about enjoying the space of the meadow whilst social distancing.

This meant I had less room to enjoy the space, to plan and to be out in the open, safely away from others.

The increase in people also brought an unsavoury element as people got wise to people going out on their own and this led to a couple of attacks and muggings on the fringes of the meadow. This ensured I was not going to go anywhere near the space on my own with any of my cameras.

We did manage a couple of days out by booking tickets for National Trust properties. This enabled us to get out, see different places and to be assured there was enough space to manoeuvre without having to deal with too many other people.

And then there are the cameras…

I think this started with the sale of my Olympus kit and the switch to Fujifilm but my need to acquire and test new film and digital cameras has ended. I seem to be free of GAS.

The X-T4 had a false start as I was saving it for days out and travels (which is mad as I have done neither). It sat in my camera bag (one I bought in B&H in New York last year and have never used!). But then I started to use it regularly and believe it is the right DSLR for me.

I then found myself on a journey of discovery and upgrade with the X100 series until I finally traded up to the X100V – I have the latest Fujifilm point and shoot camera, it does everything I need it to, so what else do I need in a digital camera?

I also have reduced the need to purchase lots of lenses for my X-T4. Mainly because of cost but also due to what I use the camera for. If I have an interest in macro photography or wildlife photography in the future, I will invest. But for now, that is not necessary.

The telephoto lens I got with the camera is superb and therefore I have no to need to waste any money on any lenses that will simply sit in the “B&H rucksack” gathering dust.

I have the Canon 7 LTM lens and a telephoto OM lens which are more than adequate for my needs.

As for the film cameras. I have settled here too.

I am very lucky with my “stash” and again feel no need to get anything new.

The Bronica ETRS is my favourite medium format camera but I don’t take it out currently as I have to set up for each shot, not great when social distancing.

My Richomatic is more portable but I have not had the urge to shot with it recently (because I do not want to waste film).

The Lecia Mini is in a drawer with a half loaded roll of film in it. I think I may take it with me the next time we go out for the day. I have no plans or need to change or sell it. It’s a great point and shoot so I am settled with it.

After all the trials with rangefinders, I can safely say that I adore the Yashica Electro 35 GX. I can use it easily, I don’t have to relearn anything when I pick it back up and am confident that 90% of the shots I take (the rest are due to user error), turn out as expected.

Black and white photo of the balustrade at the boat house on Belton House Lake.  Taken with my Yashica with Street Candy MTN 100 film.
Black and white photo of the balustrade at the boat house on Belton House Lake. Taken with my Yashica with Street Candy MTN 100 film.

Through all the purchases, the tests, the trials and tribulations, I honestly think I have reached the holy grail of my collection.

This may also be helped by the fact I have stopped using social media or YouTube. I no longer spend time reading photography websites therefore I am not enticed to try or purchase something else. Why? Because I am happy with the set-up I have. I have enough film to sink a battleship and until I get out more or the inspiration strikes, I have no need to acquire anything else.

There is simply too much emphasis on consumerism and social media in this world and at present, I have more important things to focus on.

This was one of the reasons I decided to close my store. I enjoyed setting it up, selling the books and photos and hearing what people thought of my work. But that was it, it was work. Hard work.

I made a small profit until I stopped promoting it. As soon as I started to reduce my use of social media it all started to fall apart. The cost of advertising went up and the traffic and sales went down. As an ex marketer this is not a surprise but do I want this self-made burden – no!

I do want to say thank you to everyone who supported me through this endeavour and for all of you who purchased my work and were kind enough to leave a review or a comment.

If buying kit is your thing then good for you. For me, I think it is time to move on.

I am enjoying the photographic arsenal I have at my disposal. I am not forcing myself to take photos or feel guilty because I am not taking any. I am not getting sucked in by what is being shared on social media etc. (or feeling that I have to take photos for Instagram).

Right now I am enjoying the photos I do take and am enjoying the photos I have stacked up over the years.

You may have noticed a proliferation of photos from my travels recently. I am enjoying this exercise and for now, looking back at travel memories and finding some hidden gems is enough.

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