10 Thoughts On G.A.S.


I’ve included this photo of myself so you can imagine who you wanna punch in the face after reading this. At least I’m doing the Asian PEACE!

To try and reduce the risk of my snapping on the next person that asks my advice about buying a camera when they already own too many I’m making a list what should be said in this situation:

1. You don’t need another camera. The idea that a camera will make you better is nothing more than an admission of laziness to actually learn how to use the one you have. FULL STOP.

2. Buy a photo book instead. One of the funniest things I ever hear from photographer friends is how they actually know NOTHING about the masters of photography. I mean NOTHING. They spend 100% of their time on forums talking about gear and on flickr looking at photos they think to be inferior to their own. “Wow! Look at this shit Josh! How can this guy think this is good.” Newsflash, after thinking that about the last 30 photos you took I’ve decided to save my time commenting and look for photos that inspire me. (I half stole this sentiment from Charlie Kirk – two cute dogs)

3.  STOP looking at reviews from dudes that like every fucking camera they try. Like really? These idiots have worse GAS than you but at least they aren’t spending their paychecks on this ridiculousness. Or if they are, they are even more stupid.

4. If you MUST look at reviews of something, look at the problems with the camera, not what it does well. EVERY camera does shit well, check out the shit it can’t do first. If I have to buy some kind of gear I only wanna hear what makes it shit. I almost never buy anything after that. I know what makes my gear shit. One of my friends showed up to meet me with the Nikon DF (short for Daft FUCK or Dumb FUCK depending on where you come from) he had just saved up three paychecks for. “Well, DF (better than using their name), don’t you find it annoying there isn’t something simple like an AUTO for the ISO on that dial that took four years to make? How’s that mode dial, did the FM have one of those? For that matter, does the X100?” After ten minutes he broke down and told me he actually hates the camera and has been trying to sell it for the last week. He didn’t know about any of the annoyances because he “didn’t think they were serious” when he was reading the reviews. He might as well have said he didn’t look. He later told me he read Steve Huff’s review every day for two weeks. *Speaking of guys that love every camera but don’t pay for any. He is also an expert on paranormal activity. Did you know that?

5. Ask yourself this: when did you last buy a camera and how long did it take before you were bored of it? I used to be like this. I’d buy a camera that I HAD TO HAVE and use it for two or three weeks or maybe even a couple of months. Soon after, the initial “inspiration spark” I had tricked myself into thinking I needed had worn off and I was already on the review sites looking at something else. Find a photographer that inspires you or a book. That’s what I do now.

6. Don’t take shit too seriously. Watch Digitalrev TV to get your gear “fix”.. Say what you want about those dudes but they are funny and tell it like it is.

7. Are you a pro or do you pretend to be one? Do you do “jobs” and think that makes you a pro? Learn your craft, second shoot for someone, spend your time watching a pro that’s done it before. I’m trying to do that as much as possible now.

8. Do you ever NOT post an old photo because you don’t have the camera that took it anymore? Another friend showed me a photo that was most definitely one of his best photos. I asked him, “why isn’t that on your portfolio?” …. “Well, it feels weird man I sold that camera months ago.” WTF? What does that mean? TOOLS. Both the CAMERA and the IDIOT.

9. Spend your money on experience! When you’re nearing the end, are you going to look around at all the cameras you have fucking accumulated and feel good about yourself? Hopefully your wife hasn’t left you by then for someone that would rather take her on a trip than buy a new camera.

How about this for an idea. How about, calculate how much money you’ve spent on camera equipment in the past two years and then go to a travel agent. Ask them where you could go for how long for that amount of money.

10. Finally, use your phone for a couple of weeks and see if you can’t make a decent photo or two. When I hit bottom and sold all my gear I took photos with nothing but my phone for a couple of months. It felt amazing. I didn’t feel the NEED to buy another camera since.

Angry? Maybe. It makes me angry that people can’t describe three Bresson photos yet can recite the specs of every camera that has come out since Christmas.

What’s the point? Why do your photos suck? Because you’ve probably never seen a good one or are scared to look. My photos mostly suck, but at least I know what makes a good one. I couldn’t say that about myself three years ago.



  1. Tis very true… but it doesn’t only apply to acquiring the latest or best (Although that’s clearly the most severe GAS manifestation…). What i found was the more cameras i acquired the more i could prevaricate about not taking photos. A miasma of indescion every time i went out. The eye is the key.. The camera just a tool. Don McCullin and Barry Cawston are 2 photographers who I admire, both worth a look if you are not familiar.

  2. this peace sign is not exactly Asian – V is from Victory word – not exactly Asian word .
    i found this : “the ‘V sign’ was first used by English longbowmen in the 1415 Battle of Agincourt to mock the defeated French army. The longbowmen relied on these two fingers to fire their arrows to deadly effect upon the enemy, which was a key factor in the victory”
    Agree about the 2-nd and 3rd notes .. reviews of the gear and sites (like flickr or Smugmug – where to post or where to share) in most cases are payable with gear or free space. i hate these jumpers – they never have one stable opinion.

  3. I haven’t taken a lot of photos. Supposedly I should. Most of them are pretty boring. 3 of them that I’m ok with we’re on my phone. In all 3 cases, I was, well, pretty much shit faced, concentrating more on staying upright rather than anything to do with photography. I went out today with the camera for 3 hours. Took 2 shots. Went to the pub bought a beer and ordered 2 books. SPNow and a Saul Leiter one. Best part of the day

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