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Trade shows and the Zen of contentment09/09/2009 - 10:13 AM
As I write this, the IFA exhibition is underway in Berlin. This trade show hosts a large photographic element, although it majors on consumer electronics. For many people, trade shows are a major event, as new or forthcoming products are announced, and we get the chance to glimpse what the future holds.
Today is the 9th day, of the ninth month, 2009. That’s a lot of nines and it’s not been lost on Leica, who on German soil are expected to announce today the M9 digital rangefinder. It is so expected, that not doing so would be a bigger surprise! Pre-announcements and endless speculation are becoming the norm now, so there are few surprises any more. The rest of the exhibition will no doubt be the constant march of progress with the latest updates of already familiar product lines announced.
If photography is all about the image we create, why do we allow ourselves to be constantly distracted by the hardware we use, or would like to use? The dawn of the digital era means hardware is constantly under development, being upgraded, updated, and replaced at a rate unthinkable in the film era. There is little chance of this trend ever going away. In all probability, it will get worse.
This of course is exactly the situation manufacturers want. If you buy a camera body, and a couple of lenses, and happily use it for years to come, what use are you to them? However, if they can convince you that the latest product will enhance your photography, and make you think less of your current equipment, then a seed is sown. A sales professional will know all about needs, wants, and desires. The customer needs x, wants y, but desires z. Let the customer hanker after your flagship model, have them imagine themselves as the great photographer they yearn to be, all the while selling them more products. In sales you don't sell the product, you sell the dream.
Of course, you may be very fortunate and be quite content where you are. You fully understand the difference between need, want and desire. You know that there may be better camera bodies available, but yours is more than good enough. That fabulous f1.4 lens sounds fantastic, but you rarely shoot faster than f8. You've long since abandoned a bag of lenses for the few you need, and actually use. You know how to get the best out of what you've got. If that's you then fantastic, and congratulations, though I'll bet it took a long time to arrive there.
Contentment. Being happy with the equipment you've got. More importantly, being happy with the images that you take. If you’re not happy with your pictures, look at them and find out why. Chances are the answer to improving your own photography lies within you, rather than the equipment. Just like contentment.
Failing that, it's only a few months to PMA in Vegas! Why not take some pictures while you‘re waiting?