Last week I was chatting briefly with a friend about some beautiful film camera’s he was selling and he made a comment that kind of stopped me in my tracks. We were discussing the dreaded gear acquisition syndrome, G.A.S., and he said that “New gear fills the void of not shooting enough… at least for me, whenever I get the new gear bug it usually correlates with how little I am shooting”.
Can we just stop there and say… holy shit.
Really, the more I thought about it the more I realized that he was EXACTLY right. As I thought back about all the times I lusted after a new lens, new camera body, new microphones, new music gear, etc., almost without fail it was in periods of low productivity in whatever the creative pursuit was that I was wanting gear for.
Granted, this is totally unscientific opinion and not some sort of highly researched scientific theory, but it really seems to hold up to any scrutiny thrown at it.
The only exception to this for me MIGHT be podcasting. I’m very active there, recording a minimum of two episodes every week, and STILL really wanting to get set up with the Rodecaster Pro mixer and mic setup… But I digress.
But be it camera’s, lenses, bags, or lights, typically my desire to want to buy some new gear is directly tied to times when I just am not shooting new work as much as I would like to be.
The greatest part of having him point this out to me is that it gives me a better understanding of how I can better deal with G.A.S.. I’m now able to look at these moments as more of a signal to get busy creating more work instead of as a hurdle holding me back from creating something because I “don’t have the right gear.”.
How about you?
If you think back, get brutally honest with yourself, do you find your desire for new gear grows with a lack of creative output?
What are you going to do with this knowledge? Does it blow your mind just a little bit as you realize it now? It sure as hell lodged in my head.
The worst part is that I have been in more and more of a desire mode for the new Fuji X-Pro 3 and the Fuji XF50mm f/2 lens. Do I NEED it? Nope. But I’d LOVE that combo.
Now I realize though, that while I’ve been out shooting a bit here and there, I haven’t been creating very much new work lately… Is that the SOLE reason for the gear lust? No, but it IS a driving force. I mean really, that X-Pro 3 is just a damn fine looking camera! Ok, ok, enough camera talk.
While it’s very true for me that my desire for gear seems to really intensify in relation to the amount of time I’m actually spending creating new work, I’m thankful that I’m also a VERY indecisive purchase decision maker! I’ll think through the pro’s and con’s about a million different ways, talking myself OUT of making a purchase more often than not… so at least my wallet doesn’t hate me anywhere near as much as it could!
The bottom line, the take-away from this post, is this: Next time you feel that familiar itch convincing you that you REALLY need to buy some new gear, stop and take a hard look at your creative output in that moment and see if the real problem is that you just haven’t been creating. The thing is, the new gear will help give you a boost in the short term as you enjoy playing with it while it’s “new”, it won’t fix the problem of not creating in the long term.
Before you buy anything new, spend a week or two getting busy actually CREATING something. You might just save yourself a few bucks.
David (Usually Dave) Szweduik is a photographer, podcaster, and all around geek from the great state of Minnesota and can be found weekly on his podcast Adventures in Creativity. There you’ll find him having conversations fueled by curiosity around the amazing world of all things creativity.