Tuesday, October 4, 2016

GAS is the Stupidest Thing

Walking Baltimore, on the way to some quick pizza before staffing the gallery. Olympus OMD E-M1 with the M. Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, processed (puh) in Instagram for some quick black & white hazing.

I've been experiencing bad GAS today and it's highlighting obvious elements of habit you'd think more of us would've figured out by now.

For the first month all year, I'm in a financially superfluous spot and in the position to invest in myself (through gear) and perhaps introduce new capabilities (through gear) to my wheelhouse. Lots of new stuff was announced over Photokina, but what's the point in pre-ordering something now when it's still months out from delivery. I quietly gushed over the Pen-F about a year ago, and the damn thing is on sale right now. At a similar price point, the Fuji X100T has long kept me captive with curiosity, but with the X100F still expected next year, why invest in old tech now with new tech around the corner? Or skip the waiting and just grab an X-PRO2 and Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 WR, get the advantages now and have an upgrade path for later.

All of these ideas are completely goddamn stupid.

Why in the flying f*** am I gushing over things I don't have for no reason other than the fact that I don't have them? Realistically, they provide no augmented capabilities given my standing equipment set with the E-M1, trio of PRO zooms, the f/1.2 Nocticron, and every stellar tiny prime lens Olympus has pumped out over the last 6 years. What is the freaking point?

I know I bitched about this last year. And probably the year before that, too. It's a stupid seasonal impulse to whine about wanting something transformative as an influence, but looking for it in all the wrong places. I know what images I want to be making, and I know I am capable of making them right here, right now. What benefit possibly be gleaned from throwing new variables into the mix? Am I, subconsciously, so afraid to simply go forth and produce art that I am compelled to complicate matters so as to negate the flawlessness of their execution? Choice Paralysis is already crippling enough when one is in the market to invest in a camera from the start, introducing choice paralysis as a facet of one's actual daily workflow is completely idiotic.

Frankly, I screwed up my mental approach to workflows when I picked up the PRO zooms. Those optics are absolutely incredible, but with a mess of tiny primes around, I have difficulty rationalizing a parity of systems. I'm frequently missing the E-P3 days, when my bag was simple and straightforward, the PEN, a 12mm f/2, 17mm f/1.8 and 45mm f/1.8. Minimal and perfect. It's much the same with the zooms, but with the added complication of "I don't want to carry all this bullshit around". But... I'm a fan of the capability those zooms present. Thus I am ultimately being undone by my own laziness in not sucking it up and just carrying the heavy bullshit around.

It's all just stupid. I have these fantasies of being a minimalist photographer (again), of being like the hipster-ish photographers I idolize today, strolling about with Fuji's most current X100 iteration and strictly editing photos on a phone or tablet. That escapist fantasizing is the ultimate expression of creative masochism, because I would never be satisfied with such a workflow. Such a transition of methodology would require another transformative life event, and I'm not particularly confident my body can deal with another roll into a power pole from the passenger seat of a Mini Cooper doing 80 down a back road. I had these options at the onset of my transformation 5 years ago, but I've made my bed with this Pandora's Box workflow so I'd best get sleeping. Knowing what I'm capable of producing, unfettered by technical glass ceilings, I will never not want to exercise each image to that potential, no matter how maddening the post-process may be. That awareness of every ounce of potential is a ruiner to anything less than the absolute best. That is why I don't produce art in the quantities I used to... my standards are higher.

This GAS is desperate wishing to regress to a point in which photography was a happy thing, an idle entertainment requiring little conscious effort because the end results didn't matter. I am past that point now, and my wailing about such bygone days is annoying even to myself. That period of growth that was so enjoyable is not coming back with the purchase of hipster-minimal-camera-X. The only way out of this head space is a stubborn and belligerent march forward, to the point where regularity of the High Standard Art is met with such little effort as the be considered an afterthought.

A new camera doesn't mean a goddamn thing. I'll pick up another one once my brick of an E-M1 breaks or gets stolen. Then I can take advantage of the chance for a little transformation.