Friday, January 24, 2014

Photography Advice: Don't Have GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)

Steadfast Movement - Mojave, California
A photograph of the effects of wind.
Don't have GAS. It's not healthy. In fact, it stinks to have GAS.

GAS is an acronym for Gear Acquisition Syndrome, coined (as far as I know) by street photographer Eric Kim. I call it camera envy. This is a serious problem for most photographers.
Most photographers are constantly thinking about cameras, lenses and accessories that they convince themselves they need. They'll spend countless hours researching these products. Comparing different brands, doing endless internet searches, browsing camera forums, buying up magazines--all of that adds up quickly to lost and wasted time. The most frustrating part of all this is that once you drop a large sum on the product you finally decided on, some new piece of equipment that's just a little better is announced.

GAS can be quite painful, as it will certainly cost you time and money that you'll never get back. And you'll notice that your camera bag becomes bloated with unnecessary and seldom used equipment.

Interestingly, cameras are devolving, so GAS doesn't actually get you anything better. It just gets you more junk. It just gets you more of something you'll tire of in a few years or even months.

So what is the cure for GAS? How do you rid yourself of GAS? You FART.

FART is an acronym for Feel, Ask, Refine, Take, coined by photographer Ken Rockwell. I call it photographic vision. When you FART, you realize that you don't need GAS. You discover that great photographs are never about equipment, but about the photographer himself.

When you FART it relieves GAS, because you slow down and truly understand what you are trying to create. You feel the scene, you ask yourself what it is about the scene that you like, you refine your composition to that vision, and then you take the picture. It has nothing to do with gear.

Don't have GAS. Be sure to FART. You'll be much happier for it.

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