I own a lot of photography gear, far too much by some reckoning. I still have some old and in the way film cameras, 35mm and medium format, mostly just gathering dust. And, of course, my digital cameras, a handful of DSLRs and a small but useful mirrorless system. So I guess you could say I’m covered, but no photographer worth his or her salt ever rests contentedly without longing for just one more thing, and boy howdy there’s always more cool stuff I’d like to own.
So this winter I traded in my trusty iPhone (for the record, a 7Plus) for the wickedly alluring XsMax, Apple’s biggest and baddest bad boy. I certainly didn’t need one; no one on this planet does, but that’s hardly the point. I had lust in my heart for its capable camera.
And therein lies my uneasiness, fully of my own fault and failings. Whether through laziness or expedience, I have let it take over nearly all my photographic adventuring. No, not in the studio, nor in the clinic, but I do less and less of that work now anyways. As I wind down my daily grind in preparation for an honest retirement, I’m out on walkabouts and wandering more and more, and exactly for those I bought my mirrorless camera a few years ago. Now, however, I find that I leave the house with nothing more elaborate than that iPhone, and it usually carries the day.
Does it do a great job? Of course it does, but … not always, and it’s that not always part that sticks in me. Sure, it’s the camera that’s always with me, and I’ve captured some spontaneous and serendipitous images I might never have been able to beforehand. But that’s not necessarily why I’m a photographer, nor, I suspect, are you, mis amis. Candid is fine, but what I seek is a more thoughtful creation of an image, the building of a photograph. Its resolution may not be evident to me for days, even weeks maybe, but its discovery will thrill the hell out of me. I need lenses to choose from, robust RAW files, and the facility of exposure and color and focus at my command. I need my eye pressed up against a viewfinder, the rest of the world blocked out and silent. I have to stand behind a camera to get there.
I have lust in my heart for that capable camera, too.