I spent Sunday just gone at Focus on Imaging, a four-day exhibition of all things photographic. Camera manufacturers, retailers, printers, bookbinders, studio quipment suppliers; you name it, they are all crammed into two lust-filled halls of photographic materialism at the NEC. Whilst I was able to revel in the reflected glory of being in the same room as a Hasselblad, touching one was out of the question. Though we did overhear one fortunate customer tell the assistant he would put his £20k purchase on his credit card…
The event was a fascinating blur of activity, with camera enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes thronging the halls in search of…what exactly? Judging by the sheer scale of the event and the queues at the retailers’ counters, we have been well and truly sucked in to the myth that more and newer equipment equals photographic success. Perhaps if I could afford that Hasselblad I too could take the perfect picture illuminated with my top of the range studio lights. I could print it up to eye-boggling dimensions and distribute it in beautifully bound glossy books. We can all dream, but sadly I don’t think it will make me a better photographer.
Back to reality, for me it was life’s little pleasures that made the day. The chance to sit down – ahhhh! my aching back and weary feet- and listen to presentations on the use of equipment, software and studio portraiture. Spend time watching the crowds drift by, bubbling with excitement over the latest models on display at the show. Getting my hands on the new Fuji X100s – how much?! – I need a better paid job! Oops! Gear acquisition syndrome alert!
I didnt take a ‘proper’ camera, instead deciding to snap a few pictures with my phone. This one is my favourite as it seems to bring together so many aspects of the event. The Mamiya was sitting behind glass in a cabinet and appeared to be in a pool of stillness within the hectic environment of the show. The reflection in the glass has gathered elements of the activity bustling around it, camera brands vying for attention and a speaker trying to make his presentation heard over the hubbub.
So, did I buy anything? Yes, I did succumb in the end! Not to the unobtainable Hasselblad, or the enviable Fuji X100s, but a much humbler purchase; I am now the proud owner of a Lensbaby Composer and am looking forward to a summer filled with fun taking soft-focus, blurry pictures!