Less is More
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Less is More
I was disloyal this weekend.
For the first time—I cheated. Yes, I was a downright and dirty whore.
Because, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a loyal and simple point-and-shoot man.
But this weekend, I let go and borrowed my friend’s digital SLR, the Canon EOS 10D.
For the last three years I’ve used Canon’s A60, A70 and most recently, the A520—all cameras that you can buy now for less than $150, whereas the EOS originally retailed for about $1,500, which does not include the costs of lenses that can cost more than the camera themselves.
Although, at first, I felt shameful, clumsy and quite awkward, I quickly acclimated and thoroughly enjoyed the discovery process of getting to know the first SLR I’ve ever used.
I was using this powerful camera, because I couldn’t use my own; because, once again, I’d gone and broke it as a result of tipping the bottle one too many times, and subsequently losing control of my usually extraordinary reflexes.
As irony will have it, I find it quite amusing that although I take myriad risks—close call with cars, taxis and busses, taking it into the water, balancing it on building ledges, and taking it into the rain—my equipment survives legitimate peril, but can’t withstand the forces of good times and getting drunk.
Thus, for the second time, I’m sending my camera into the shop to see if they can repair the damages of my excesses. And thus, I’ve tried out something new in the interim.
However, ultimately, I think I’ve to got stick with my cheap point-and-shoot equipment. It befits my style of photography, my budget (i.e. poverty) and philosophy of life as well.*
Besides, I feel much better knowing that if I were to bruise or lose my P&S, the price tag for my follies is significantly less expensive than if I were to invest in the equipment upgrade that so many-many people have urged me to pursue.
Yet, I remind myself that with more power comes more responsibility, and ultimately—less fun.
I like to have fun.
I also like to travel lightly.
and worry less,
and take the work that I love—less seriously. Every time I take it seriously, I find that I don’t have as much fun. And as I’ve stated already— I like to have fun.
Moreover, I like to be free of the worries and woes of greater responsibility, for god knows that with two wonderful boys, I have enough already.
In sum, I like the freedom that a cheap and light and less powerful point-and-shoot affords me.
And although I had fun fooling around with a much better model over the weekend, my fling confirmed that I am just a simple point-and-shoot kind of guy; a man with simple needs—bare bones and skin, a glass of water on the night stand, a nice breeze wafting through the window, and my winsome lover at my side—simple needs for a simple kind of guy.
Life just doesn’t get much better than that.
Granted, there is definitely something to be said about luxury though.
Because in addition to experiencing luxuries like the Canon EOS 10D, this weekend I also went to visit a friend who lives in a new luxury condominium in Hunters Point.
And I must say that being a guest in a gracious home made me feel like—I live in a crackhouse.
Of course, that is a bit of an exaggeration.
But a quick comparison might make my point:
Perfect hardwood parquet floors compared to the peeling, splintered planks I trapeze over daily; furniture that matches, obviously bought and not just picked up off the street like my random collection of discarded things to sit on; framed chrome prints of her and her mentor’s work, unlike my scrawny peeling-off-the-foamcore, hand-mounted with the copy-paper printed off-the-office-printer photos that I have covering the cracks on my walls; new appliances and marble countertops versus 20-year old chipped linoleum tops that are constantly covered with the soot that blows in from the window. And so on, and so forth. Surely, you get the picture.
I mentioned the disparity to my wonderful new flatmate Jane! and she immediately reminded me of how much I love living in our apartment. For it has character, it is wholly comfortable, it is homey and welcoming and it is filled with love, happiness, creativity, freedom and good times. And these are far greater luxuries, especially when you have been deprived of them for a long time.
Thus, it is no coincidence that I met the friend that lent me her camera, because I had shamelessly advertised myself on Craig’s List as a:
PoorArtisticGenius DesirestoSpend WealthofCreativity,Love&Affection
It’s true you know. For although, considering my situation I am rather impoverished in so many ways, I am filthy rich in others—great friends who I love-love-love to party with; wonderful flatmates with whom I have enlightening long conversations; two beautiful boys that I love more than anything and anyone in the world; and a great sense of purpose, an overabundance of happiness, confidence, heightened awareness and knowledge about life and the world I love and live in, all of which I aim and strive and would love to share with others.
How could anyone want much more than that?
The more flesh, the more worms;
The more possessions, the more worry;
The more study and contemplation, the more wisdom;
The more charity; the more peace.
— Rabbi Hillel—
(Of course, once I win the lottery this may all change; for sure, I'll be singing a different song. But for now, less is definitely more...)
It so happens that as I was scouring the internet this afternoon contemplating a replacement point-and-shoot, I came across a great site that presents the same argument I make (i.e. it’s not the size that matters), but from a professional and technical point of view.
Kudos to Ken Rockwell for his online piece A $150 Camera vs. a $5,000 Camera. I highly recommend that you read this article, as well as his site in general: kenrockwell.com.
Forthcoming! 25 Lessons: The Art of Living, to be published by Cyan Books soon...
Until then, I’m happy to share with you the original 25 musings.
Read more essays, stories, musings, poems and prose like this at Literary Central!.