In the process of relocating to another city, we had to pack up our photography equipment as well. While opening the boxes, I realized the amount of clutter that builds up over time. This is worse than the Gear Acquisition Syndrome that most of us suffer from time to time. The clutter I am talking about is the justifiable purchases that gather up.
35 mm film cameras
I have many of these still lying around. One of them was a gift. Initially, I used to click film rolls once in a while but now I have completely shifted to digital. It has been quite some time now but still these 35mm cameras are there with me. Selling them will not fetch me good price and these continue to be with me in the hope that one day, I’ll use them to decorate a showcase in my house.
I did manage to give away a couple of TLRs and a few other odd format cameras to a museum, few years back. Initially they even displayed my name on them which read ‘Donated by Shivam Maini’, but now on my last visit when I visited the museum, I did not see the cameras. It did hurt but then it was a decision that I had taken, to let them go.
Old flash units from yesteryear! They can’t even be called speedlights since the word was not in use when these flashes were made. There was an old Vivitar, a Metz and even a broken Canolite D (Canon flash for their rangefinders). What were they doing in my house? Repairing them doesn’t make sense and I can’t even use their spares in the new speedlights.
A bag with studio umbrellas
The bag has a pair of stands for umbrellas, three umbrellas (two translucent white and one opaque silver), some brackets for mounting them and the lights. The last time I had properly used these umbrellas was over two years back for a product photography assignment. I did take them out a couple of times to click some photographs of my family but that was it. Usually I prefer to bounce the flash off the walls or ceilings rather than setting up these umbrellas.
When I had purchased the set, it was fairly inexpensive and even today it won’t fetch me any money had I to sell it. It therefore just happens to lie around in my house taking up expensive real-estate.
Regardless of what I say, over the last many years, I have acquired a good collection of camera bags. I do keep selling them off and giving them away and still when I last counted, we had managed to transport six camera bags. Three are the ones with inserts, one is a backpack and two more shoulder bags! We left behind some bags.
I use the shoulder bags with inserts most of the time but these remaining camera bags are still a part of my belongings and add up to the clutter. Thankfully the count as of today is five. One of my camera bags got damaged in the last trip. One less bag in the clutter!
(A photograph from the forest, close to where I am living now. Does it not justify my relocation?)
I know that this is what most of my readers had been waiting for. I too have a few lenses that were an impulsive buy and I no longer use them. Some of them saw the light of the day only once or twice. The top lenses that I do not use –
- Sigma 150-500 – I rarely do birds or wildlife
- Nikkor 200 f/4 (Nikkor 200 mm f/4 AI) – It does seem very good for portraits but I hardly use it.
- Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 D. After another of my 50mm lens got damaged, I opted for the G version instead of using this one. On trying out a new version of this lens, I was still impressed by the autofocus of the G version. (50mm lens for Nikon)
- Sigma 105mm macro. I also happen to have a Nikkor 105mm AI-s micro which is equally good but somehow more attractive to my eyes. (Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AI-s). There were a few other macro lenses in this range which I managed to sell off some time back.
Damaged Dry Cabinet
My dry cabinet (Dry Cabinet) fell down while getting transported. The front glass did not break but the top sheet opened up. The mechanism that keeps the humidity controlled also got damaged. The door does not close properly. I had to purchase a new dry cabinet ( I stay in a place with very high humidity). What did I do with my old damaged dry cabinet? You might have guessed it right. I am using it now to store my camera bags. It is no longer a dry cabinet but just a cabinet now.
This article is about the photography clutter but my computer needs a mention here. Reason? It is huge. It is a conventional computer with a super sized case from Corsair. There are multiple hard discs in there and even a fan controller to keep the noise low in winters. Next comes the UPS which is again the size of a small computer. The monitor is also a large display unit which takes up lots of space. Combine these with peripherals like the Bamboo tablet, a Spyder unit for calibration, speakers for those occasional background music (the quality of which I actually crib about whenever I cue in a track), printers (for documents and for photographs), recovery media, card reader, external hard discs and even a network attached storage (NAS)! The setup is huge. Sometimes I feel like getting rid of everything and keeping a simple small form factor computer. What is stopping me is again the amount of money I will get back on selling everything and then investment required in buying a powerful small form computer. On the other hand, the space taken by my computer is less than what a film era darkroom would have taken up with its wet area, enlarger and chemical storage. So maybe I will continue with this clutter for some more years.
Small things that are adding up now
Boxes of my cameras and lenses, camera straps, filter cases, spare batteries, user manuals, photography books and magazines, memory cards, external hard discs, bundled software (I have 5 discs of view-nx which I will be getting rid of today)… everything is there in my clutter.
Small things that are there with me since the last two decades (maybe more)
Negatives of all my photographs, transparencies, some spare parts of my old enlarger, 35mm mounts for transparencies, leather camera cases which were in vogue in the later part of 20th century, a viewmaster slide viewer, white back-lit box (I do not even recall its correct name) for viewing negatives, a non-working 35mm slide projector and yes, the film cameras that I mentioned earlier. I also have some of their user manuals till date!
… and this clutter, my friends, is another of the reasons why I am trying to turn minimalist. (Minimalism & Photography)