MY LIFE WITH G.A.S. ! Searching for it's start, and a way towards a silent, but deadly end!
There are so many times in my life that I can think back to and in doing so, try to pin point the exact time it started. The gathering of my interests in physical form. I grew up with a Dad who loved to collect, restore and resell antiques and found treasures. I didn’t live with him much, but when I did have a chance to spend some time with him, it was like living in a Natural History/Fine Art museum and junk shop. Lovely things in the midst of a new lease on life everywhere. I would walk around, touching things, looking and tinkering, asking questions and try to understand my dads’ passion for these things, before heading outside to sharpen a stick or melt toys.
Some self Portraits with different cameras. Leica m3, HorizonT, Canon Demi, Chaika I
It was kind of over my head all in all, or so I thought. I had been bitten by the bug in many ways back then. Pokémon had made its debut, and I could be found at the local comic shop digging or wandering around town with my friend Oscar carrying my trade binder. That isn’t it though, I was also an adamant collector of Smurf memorabilia. The toys, mugs, stuffies, cups, stickers and so on. I may still have a box somewhere on the east coast just floating in time and filled with fun little blue creatures. I loved WWF, as in the wrestling federation, and so I collected figurines, and shirts and any video game that I could find used. There were a lot of things out there that caught my eye. A big difference that I can think of with Pokémon and WWF is that they were in their prime at the time, or so it seemed and so marketing was pretty dang heavy. With the Smurfs, it was mostly just about discovery. Being on an outing and finding them scattered on shelves or tables at flee markets and they just grabbed me. In a sense that’s the same with film cameras today. They are old, wonderful story telling machines. I’m unsure how many different film cameras have been produced on the face of the earth since the dawn of film camera production and sale, but I’d assume it’s within the 100’s of thousands. Speaking in terms of 1 of every make, not all the cameras on the planet, that’d be way more, doi. I’ve had the thought…what if I could have 1 of every film camera ever made at some point in my life? That would be amazing, but how would I afford that? where would they all go? Not to mention upkeep and cataloguing.
Some cameras just home from the Meetup.
Flash to the future, I moved from the east coast to southern California to live with my Grandma at the age of 12. After a while I was finding my groove and a few friends and started wading through the world of punk and skateboarding. Collecting cassettes and cds of my favorite bands and new bands I had yet to fall in love with. I would roam the small farm town I was living in and stop in at thrift stores and pick up cassettes. I’ve sold so many and continued to gather them to this day. I have hundreds now and its part of a continuation and a connection to my past. I have gotten better at being a bit more selective over the years, but there is still a yearning to collect as many as possible to keep the history of cassettes alive, the same goes for cameras and lenses as well.
A few more back from the photography Meet up.
So in reaching back and trying to think of the times in my life that I have been swooped by the urge to collect, I cannot ignore the worlds heavy lean on the consumption button. Consume. Consume. Consume. We are told and sold by endless sources what we need and why…and sometimes we aren’t even granted the why, yet we obtain more things anyway. I am not one to criticize anyone who likes to have stuff. I am a huge stuff haver, the reason for this article, but sometimes I wonder what portion of the ME pie is actually me driving myself to get more. What part is social media, down time, so much product on the face of the earth? I believe having access to the internet is the biggest one. If I didn’t have a smart phone, I would have saved so much money in the last 8 years. I know this for a fact, I’ve checked. I just ordered a Gluten Free Dominos pizza! (not sponsored..) will I get rid of my smart phone though….no. I have too much going on at the moment and living in the world we do now makes it pretty hard to carry on without one. I was recently ejected from my 3G flip phone life and forced into 4G smart phone world. Its been weird.
Some that stayed home.
I’ve gotten pretty good at coming up with finding purpose for obtaining more, the buying of cameras opens the gates to the selling of cameras. How often do I sell in relation to buying…? Good question. It’s pretty unequal…you can probably guess which side has a bigger pool to pull from. There are loads of positives to having. I love walking through my office and picking up a camera, feeling it and looking through it, imagining using it, or remembering doing so, firing the shutter a few times and re setting the lens cap and putting it back. It is quite fulfilling. For me that is….for them, I really doubt it. There is no certainty that this passion to collect will ever fade. And the likelihood that I will have the ability to create more space over time to accommodate more things seems very far off. So I have to find a middle ground before hitting a tipping point.
Cameras, Photo books and novels.
Within this realm of collecting that I’ve been in for a long time now, I have found inspiration and beauty and joy and influence and drive and its been great. So I don’t plan on dumping the whole pot anytime soon, but I have moments of listing almost everything I have online and trying to sell it all in lots. No one ever bites….maybe that’s a sign to hold on and hold out just a little bit longer. Many writers and Youtubers and so on have come up with great ways to limit what they bring into their spaces. The one in, one out rule, that’s a good one!
Photo books and a few more cameras.
There is a great article on www.casualphotophile.com written by Jeb Inge called ‘Finding Joy Through Shedding Camera Gear’. Where Jeb is using the Marie Kondo mantra of “does it spark joy?” to determine what to keep, or to dump. You could always shoot one camera and use just one lens, really get to know your gear. I have romanticized about that option so many times. The truth is, even beyond my urge to have more, the access to 35mm cameras of different abilities, such as full frame/half frame/panoramic/toy/stereo and so on along with medium format cameras of different frame sizes and access to lenses, is what keeps me hooked. This past year I have found myself fixated on this feeling of drowning in a gear swamp and I believe that getting rid of more to move further from that feeling, and skip towards some sort of open meadow of clarity will give me some time to breathe and see beyond. Find more options to feel fulfilled in this photographic journey and try and focus more on the work and less on the toys/tools and collecting.
Photo books, a peak of cameras, records and novels.
It is ok to leave the collecting up to someone else. They are there and they will continue to be there. In the shadows and dimly lit living rooms of estate sales. Driving across the country to shake hands with the vendors at huge collectible camera events. Online of course and hopefully at my next Photography Meet up or yard sale to help me thin out my collection.
There is no knowing when, only learning and figuring out what it is we truly need. If for you, that need is everything the light touches, then let your little lion body be lifted high up on that plateau of success. Where you may overlook a robust landscape, running wild and pouring over with carefully spaced rows of fresh camera gear gleaming in the light of day.
They will someday be yours and yours alone, for this is now your kingdom.
Photo book, novels, and a sneak of more cameras.