The object of my desire: a Hasselblad 500 CM medium format camera.
Some people say it looks like a toaster, but I spent days and nights perving over the classic form of its black and chrome body, the mechanical perfection of the film advance wind and the almost orgasmic sound of the film transport and mirror slap.
As they are still quite expensive and obsolete, I tried to justify why I should get one:
- Shooting film will slow me down and make me more thoughtful in the way I take pictures
- The quality of the Zeiss lenses is legendary
- Film brings a certain quality to images that is hard to replicate digitally – a bit like a vinyl record
- I can always resell it. They really hold their value. In fact, they may even go up in value
- Buying one will stop me obsessing about it and spending entire days trawling through internet forums and online ads, then travelling up to London to actually touch and feel the camera.
I found myself talking about the camera at length to people who have no interest in photography.
A mate said: “It’s a bloke thing. I sometimes get like that with tools. I see a nice set of spanners and think: ooh, they’ll come in useful at some point.”
I thought: “Spanners? I’m talking about a HASSELBLAD here!”
So what is at the root cause of this irrational compulsion, such powerful and insistent impulses?
- Some kind of atavistic survival instinct to covet something rare and precious?
- A mid-life crisis – the equivalent of buying a classic sports car in a sad effort to look cool?
- Do we think having superior gear will give us a higher status in the eyes of others?
GAS attack protection tips:
- Don’t look for answers about whether you should or should not buy a piece of gear on forums – they are full of the worse kind of geeks. Stay away.
- Ask your partner if you should buy it. They will tell you ‘No’. Firmly.
- Think in detail about what you could do with the money saved.
- Be content with the gear you’ve got. There will always be newer/better stuff out there. This kind of material craving can never satisfy you. In the end it will leave you feeling empty.
- Just go and buy the damned thing.