What do you want to shoot?

eye_2I came up in the late days of the counter culture. Many people think of mid-century modern as a style revival. To me it is just nice stuff from when I was a kid. Having grown up in the era of film it is somewhat curious that I never owned a camera. I tried to buy one once but I didn’t have the answer to an important question.

Back in the early nineties I decided it was time to buy a camera. I had no particular need for a camera but I wanted one. Sort of in the same way you might want a nice audio system. At the time I was living in Garland Texas on the East side of Metroplex. There was a small camera store not far from where I lived so I decided to go there to buy my camera.

The store was a small place located in a dingy looking strip center. There was nothing very interesting on the outside of the store. Inside the place was about fifteen feet wide and quite deep. Glass fronted counters ran the length of the interior on one side. They were filled with all sorts of expensive looking gear. The other side was floor space with a sliding front refrigerated cabinet at the back. The kind of cabinet that would normally contain bottled drinks. This one had yellow, green and maybe red boxes inside.

Along the counters were stools with men sitting around talking to each other. My first impression was of a neighborhood bar but without the liquor. It looked like the kind of place where you stopped on the way home from work to swap lies and have a quick blast.

The guy behind the counter spotted me as a rube right away. I told him I was thinking about buying a camera. He smiled and asked what kind of camera? The kind you can change lenses, I said. He looked at me for a second and then pulled out a big black SLR body with a 50mm lens and vertical grip. How about this one? I didn’t even know how to pick the thing up so I just turned it around with my finger on the counter. Looks good, I said.

The guy sitting on the closest bar stool decided to help me out. What do you wanna to do with that camera? Do you wanna shoot sports? Maybe make some money? No not sports, I said. Oh, you wanna shoot freelance? That didn’t sound like something I wanted to do. After a minute he looked at the floor and said I guess you wanna shoot landscapes.

By that time I was pretty sure buying a camera was a bad Idea. After a few more minutes of looking at various big black cameras I left empty handed. I bought my first digital camera about ten years later. First I made a list of the things I wanted to shoot.


Author: Ken

Avid photographer and old guy technologist.