Why Getting A Better Camera Won't Make You Happier With Your Blog

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A couple of months ago, I was at an event for People Tree and a fashion photographer said something to me that stuck, and changed the way I think about blogging. He said that getting a beautiful camera will always show you what an ugly photographer you are. It sounds harsh, but what he went on to explain was that good equipment will always highlight where your skills can be improved.

When I started blogging, I had nothing that would help make blogging easier. I lived in a boring little town, in a dark little house, and created my posts using moments of snatched cafe WiFi and a compact camera. Over the years my situation has changed and I've gathered the tools around me that should make blogging simple. Am I better satisfied with my work now then I was then? No, I am not. Back then I had to work ten times harder to publish a post, but my passion, obscurity, and complete lack of goals meant I was always happy with what I produced.

As resources increase, our excuses for "failure" become less and less obvious to us. Not having the best camera ceases to be a good excuse for unsatisfying photography when we have a new Olympus Pen sitting on the table. That app everyone uses to get perfect selfies? Well, downloading it takes that excuse away as well. As you acquire more and more tools to create, eventually you run out of excuses and are faced with a painful, existentialist question: Perhaps I am not capable? Perhaps I am simply, not talented or skilled enough to produce the work I have in my head? This is the question we are all running away from, but if we focus our energy on gathering the THINGS we think we need, instead of honing the skills that are really essential, that sense of being "not good enough" will only grow. 

It reminds me of Alain de Botton's thoughts on status anxiety; we develop depressive thought patterns and anxieties as a result of not fulfilling what we see to be our potential, or making the most of all the privileges we know we have (the expensive camera, the spare time, the extra cash, the beautiful photo opportunity). We experience guilt and self-doubt as a result, constantly dissatisfied with our efforts because we believe that someone with all our advantages should be doing so much better. The thing about status anxiety, is that it only increases as our circumstances improve.

I see a lot of bloggers going through this, and either obsessing over the perfect equipment, or feeling guilty for not producing what they wanted once they have it. I go through it with every post I write. But as with all things, awareness will take the edge off. We can't magic ourselves into feeling happy with our blogs, but we can learn to recognise what will really change them for the better. Most of the time, we already possess it.

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