|A Bench's Daily View|
My personal challenge of “Is Less Really More?” has been achieving exactly what I had hoped it would. It eliminated a lot of useless distractions and got me back to just focusing on taking better photographs. The essence of this personal challenge can be summed up perfectly by Thoreau, “Our life is frittered away by detail…simplify, simplify.” By satisfying only our needs and ignoring our wants we are truly achieving this simplification.
Before I continue I should let you know that the “Is Less Really More?” project actually started over a month ago; I am just late on posting about the topic.
My photographic progression has come much faster than I expected when I started this little pet project. As time progressed I found the wants slowly starting to creep back to the surface. Thankfully I had started it with a clear understanding of my needs and I could ignore the wants whenever they did surface. Nikon almost ruined the whole thing with their announcement of the new 5100, but thankfully it was missing one “need” that was a deal breaker for me so it was an easy pass.
As progression continued I began analyzing my “body of work” (albeit not very big), what I enjoyed shooting the most, and what I planned to continue to mainly shoot. If you remember when I started this challenge I knew eventually I would need to upgrade again but only when my current system no longer met my needs. This time has come. My analyzing and reflection allowed me to gain an even better understanding of my needs.
So the original challenge is kind of over, as I have changed cameras. I only say “kind of over” because the essence of the challenge is still going strong. In changing over my system I have actually simplified my photography even further. In my change I switched from Nikon to Canon but the simplification has come in my lenses. I have only been using a fixed length 50mm lens since I made the switch.
You want to talk about simplifying the process; when I want to zoom, I walk forward J I am actually loving it. By simplifying my lens down to a single fixed length it has really forced me to pay attention to the composition of my photographs.
Slowly I will continue to add to my lens collection, but I am really thinking of staying with the fixed length prime lens instead of getting a zoom lens. It is hard to explain but I feel a greater connection to my photography with them; in fact I have even considered getting a cheap all manual film camera to play around with and simplify it even more J
Of course every time I start looking for my next purchase all those beautiful wants will coming barrelling to the front trying to convince me I actually need them. It really is difficult to stay focused on only our needs when we are being constantly bombarded at every angle with wants. How many times have you gone to the grocery store to get the bare minimum and walked out with a cart full of snacks? Or gone into an electronics store and walked out with a brand new don’t pay for it for 3 month credit card and the newest gadget?
Our wants are satisfied through impulse; in fact they prey on it. The only problem is once we satisfy that want you can almost guarantee a new one is going to come along almost immediately.
I have found two things really help combating these wants. First, sitting down and honestly understanding your true needs before you go to make a purchase is invaluable; whether it be as simple as a grocery list or complex as analyzing your photography style. The second is a little rule that Amy and I have developed over the past year for ourselves. When you decide to you want to make a significant purchase, wait two weeks. If you still want it after those two weeks it is no longer an impulse buy and thus, no longer satisfying those wants. This strategy works because most of our wants are so fickle they have moved onto another want by the end of the two weeks.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a strategy for fighting off those nasty wants?