Monday, April 16, 2018

Rainy Wednesday Blabbering in NYC

It has been 4 years since I first came here to New York and it was a turning point in my journey in photography. Back then I was lugging around a good amount of camera gear - 3-4 lenses, a tripod, 2 DSLRs, and various accessories. I was still doing a lot of landscapes that time although my other foot was stepping into the world of street photography. I started to be enamored by the complexity and beauty of the arts by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alex Webb, and Ami Vitale.

I do remember a day during that last visit that I was trying to shoot the streets of New York, walking around the touristy places sticking out like a sore thumb with all the gear I have on my neck and back. It was frustrating and I was frustrated. My young self blamed the gear and arrogantly gave up. It was a stupid way of thinking. Immature in many ways.

My wife and I were staying at the New Yorker building back then which is a block away from B&H Photos - arguably the biggest photo store in the world. Being a gear nut back then I was practically a kid going to the candy store every day for a week. It was heaven.

After trying to shoot street and be frustrated about it I, immaturely, thought that maybe I do need an upgrade and should take advantage of being so close to B&H. As I've mentioned I had been curious and had been peeking through the world of street. I hurriedly did some research, tried different cameras and repeated that cycle for a couple of days. After the fourth day, I made a decision. I went to B&H's Trade-in office and sold all my gear. After that, I went to B&H's used section and bought myself a used rangefinder.

As you've heard time and time again, it's not about the camera but the person behind the camera. And what I did then was a direct negation to that saying. I actually had a pretty decent setup before I sold all my gear. A couple of decent pro cameras, several pro lenses but still I didn't execute. I really thought that it was affecting how effective I was shooting. It was stupid.

However, I don't take it back. I'm actually incredibly happy to have been stupid back then because that immature decision led me to a realization of that mistake itself. And that realization led me to much pondering on what actual photographic goals in life I want to be and want to achieve. I had also not much of choice really. I can not continue to "upgrade" as I had just recently moved to Chile and was preparing for married life. I wanted to have some security savings and be smarter with my financials.

4 years later I'm continuing to strive to achieve my goals with a vision that guides me with my decisions in photography. I've put into practice general guidelines on what I want to shoot, how I want to shoot it, how it's presented. I've set out plans on how I can continue doing so to as long as I can, being consistent on building a style of my own.

One reason I'm here in NY is actually to help myself lay the groundwork to be able to continue that vision in the far future. And guess what, it involves buying a camera. Not an upgrade, but the exact same model. The last camera shop I visited to buy a gear was the last time I was in B&H and now I'm returning to buy the same thing. Mind you that my current camera is working great, I just wanted to continue on using the same camera as long as I possibly can, so what I'm essentially buying is a stock for my vision.

In some ways, I guess, with me buying this is still somewhat immature. I'm still being "held back" to execute my vision by the tool. I guess this time is that it's a conscious decision with the future in mind. I may seem to be locked into the ideology but I feel freer because I'm content with what I have - technically speaking, I just need to secure it for the long term.

- Yel