When you take photos, it can make you feel happy and act like an antidepressant. But no matter how much you love photography, sometimes it can make you feel exactly the opposite. In this video, Jamie Windsor discusses how photography can make you unhappy – and what you can do to change it.
Think about this for a moment: how much do you talk about gear and its specs? How often do you buy new stuff and upgrade or change your kit? According to Jamie, this could be the key to a photographer’s unhappiness.
Choosing the right gear is an important decision, and you should choose the gear that suits your photography needs. But as Jamie puts it (and I agree): the pursuit of gear is not photography; it’s a distraction from photography. And it’s a distraction that will ultimately make you unhappy.
The thing is: this distraction is tempting. Buying stuff is quick and easy while mastering the skill and understanding photography is hard and time-consuming. But what does this have to do with happiness? Jamie explains it further by referring to a Ted talk by Tim Urban.
Urban explains that our brains are driven by two conflicting characters – the Rational Decision Maker and an Instant Gratification Monkey. The Rational Decision Maker sees the big picture and makes decisions that are good for us. The Instant Gratification Monkey thrives for what feels good at the moment but has no long-term benefit.
If you always follow the Instant Gratification Monkey, you’ll have short bursts of excitement, but it will eventually leave you with the feeling of guilt and emptiness. And this is exactly what the “gear acquisition syndrome” is. Jamie sees this endless obsession with gear as a form of procrastination. It’s like you’re preventing yourself from truly learning, exploring and enjoying the art of photography.
How to overcome gear acquisition syndrome
Of course, gear does matter in certain aspects, and you should invest in something new if your current system is holding you back in any way. But the next time you have the urge to upgrade, have an honest conversation with yourself about it. Do you really need the upgrade, or do you want it? Because it’s not the same.
When you get caught in the loop of constant craving for new gear, think about what first attracted you to photography. What was the spark that awakened your passion? Jamie’s sure that it must have been something creative and had nothing to do with stuff like ISO performance or image resolution. Is he right?
Finally, take a look at the iconic photos made years or decades ago. And when you do, remember that the gear those photographers had was far inferior to what you own now.
[How PHOTOGRAPHY can make you UNHAPPY | Jamie Windsor]