So Why All The Cameras?

I received an email the other day that read, "You have a lot of cameras for an audio guy! What's up with that?"

That's a fair question, so the short answer is that they're from my private collection, I enjoy each of them, and I shoot all of them. They do serve a purpose other than the obvious: photography keeps me sharply-honed and fresh creatively. It's too easy to get stale creatively, to get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing, taking the same approach to everything. I don't want that to happen to me. Photography gets me out of the ordinary, and forces me to do things differently. Whenever I notice I begin to take photos of a particular subject the same way consistently, I switch to a different camera, one that won't let me keep shooting the way I have been.

Each of my cameras and lenses will give a completely different look to the same subject, so switching cameras or lenses often means that I'm always forced to see everything anew, to look at the same subject differently.

One day I shoot one of the 35mm SLR cameras to achieve a balance of precision with ease, the next day I have the fun of shooting the sneaky, spontaneous Minox B spy camera, or I may let the Pentax Auto 110 camera take control of exposure completely and just concentrate on composition. The next day maybe I'm taking the deliberative and carefully-studied approach imposed by the Calumet 45N view camera or the amazing Graflex.

Then again, I may be taking a completely different tack, shooting with one of the oddball Loreo lenses, or my pinhole lens or a zone plate lens -- each of which renders a scene in startlingly unique ways. Try it: take a photo of the same scene with a 35mm SLR and normal lens, a Minox, a Graflex, a view camera, a pinhole lens, a zone plate lens, a Loreo lens, and a 110 camera and you'll see what I mean -- each photo will be so different that some of the photos may not even look like you shot the same subject. How wonderful!

Similarly, as I produce each recording I gain new insights into how equipment affects sound, and get new ideas for eve more new designs, or for evolutions of my many existing designs. Then, as I finish each design, I learn something that helps me to make better recordings the next time. So, my recording experience makes me a better designer, and my design experience makes me a better recording engineer; they re-enforce each other. Photography adds the third cord to my creative rope, so to speak; it keeps me always off-balance, out of those deadly creative ruts. Besides, each of those cameras are really cool, man!