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Self Reflection: Decluttering to Focus on Photography

Recently on the Fred Miranda forums I responded to a post that asked; “Anyone else done buying gear?” My response was:

Another member on the forum commented to my response with a compliment that really humbled me: “Nicely put… BTW, I love your website… Many moody, sensitive, and beautiful images.

Its moments like these that matter not the gear

Choosing Humility Over Ego

His response and deep soul searching started an internal conflict as I pulled out all my gear and started going through it. I have most of my gear in pristine collector’s condition. Excellent to mint condition in fact!

It got me thinking, what am I doing with all this stuff? Am I admiring it for the hope of becoming better at photography one day? Am I turning into a Nikon collector? All this gear for what?

Over the course of a few days, I mulled this over. Next, I went through my Flickr account.

As I looked at my work, I noticed that it had evolved into a photographic style that is who I am.

Photographs like those weren’t created by a Nikon D800 or D200, but by my eye, my imagination, light, and composition.

Slowing down time to count your blessings

Time to Lighten the Load

Taking a look through my bag again, I realized I hadn’t used many lenses or accessories or film in at least 6 months. Have I become a Nikon hoarder? OH MY GOD, what was I doing? The thought of sitting on all this gear sometimes makes me anxious, but I just justify it by saying there’s so much out there.

But self reflection can be an eye opener if you’re honest with yourself. And I was honest! So I sent my D200’s off to Photo Start.

If you haven’t heard of them, they are a 501(c)3 Public Charity that teaches valuable professional and life skills through photography. Based in New York the organization was created by David Lehman, an attorney and pro photographer. Photo Start provides new opportunities for success for young people through photography and digital media arts. By imparting 21st Century Skills, they aim to facilitate economic advancement, creative talent, and personal development among under-resourced students.

Next, I divided up my gear into two piles. First pile included all the “stuff” I hadnt’ used in six months or at all since it was acquired. The second pile included what I actually enjoy using!

I dont think gear when I see the beauty of a photograph

Letting Go!

Without hesitation I packed up that first pile of gear, loaded it into my truck and off I went to Kenmore Camera.

This was the best idea ever! Because I knew that if I put all this gear on eBay I would get second thoughts about keeping it. Walking into Kenmore Camera, I was loaded down with so much stuff the sales guy, who’s name was actually Guy, gave me look and then came over to ease my load.

I then spent the next three hours at the used gear counter going through as Guy inspected all this “stuff!”

Coming home all that was left on my shelf was a Df w/58G, my go to lens and the setup I have taken the most photos with. I also kept my D700, a 85D and 28D lens, and 2 mirrorless Fuji’s along w/ 2 XR lenses.

All the film gear is completely gone except my Nikon F3. I’ve decided to wait on selling it. If I don’t use it or have lost interest in film completely over the next year, then I will decide.

Capturing the beauty of everyday life

I came home and put a bunch of 35mm and 120 film along with my Yashica Mat 124G on ebay just because I knew I couldn’t trade in store.

I still have a few accessories that I will have to sell on eBay just because they weren’t trade worthy. But eBay is the place for “what’s one man’s stuff is another’s treasure.

Getting Back to Photography

Making New Memories

This past week, I have photographed much more than in the past few months and I feel its because I’ll refined my selection.

I’ve always disliked restaurant’s with a four page menu. It makes you indecisive and I think having all that gear did the same.

Now my bag is sufficient for all my needs. I realized I don’t need a high megapixel camera, a heavy telephoto lens that’s used twice a year or a bunch of lenses that honestly I didn’t like using. It was simply G.A.S and it left me bloated!

Since purging my atmosphere, I now walk into my office feeling much lighter and at peace. I walk in knowing that it’s about photography, not the gear!

Moving forward, I want to switch my focus to being a photographer and not a collector. Here’s to looking for those moments that spark my imagination, create and honor beautiful moments and celebrating my daily blessings. Because at the end of the light I have enough to create extraordinary from the ordinary.

By AniT, February 18, 2023
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