Friday, January 17, 2014


Manchester, Connecticut


James Weekes said...

Why are all gun shops out to scare us. These people have all the guns and should feel safe enough. Well it works, I am scared of all NRA members and their barely surpressed anger. Good post.

profligatographer said...

The similarities of those interested in cameras and guns are surprisingly close: predominantly male, attracted to (obsessed by, actually) technical refinements of the hardware and complexity of the process, drawn to oversized, overpowered tools, fond of fondling them, and usually less drawn to actually using them to either make pictures or shoot at targets.
Photographers speak of "birding" and "capturing". Both are trying to move as little as possible.
And it goes on from there.
Oh, and the number of laws limiting both are increasing—in the name of "security".

Carl said...

Profligate one, your fascinating comment makes me think of some *connections* from long ago that I'd never made before. From the age of 6 to 17, I was intensively, obsessively, involved in marksmanship training and competition. Primarily archery, but plenty of firearms. Over the same period I went from an early fascination with photography to a conviction that I would try to make it my life's work. Through that time, I was intensely interested in the tools themselves, as objects, as things to learn about and appreciate, both guns and cameras (archery equipment back then wasn't as elaborate as today so there wasn't much techy-doo to get into). But I wasn't at all in buy-mode. By high school I'd acquired a Pentax and three lenses, a Hoyt bow and a set of arrows fabricated with my father's equipment, and a Winchester 52D .22 match rifle. I read all the magazines about all the gear but, perhaps luckily, was too poor to think about purchasing anything except the minimum necessary for what I was doing. In the several areas.

When I realized where I was in relation to photography, at sixteen, I stopped archery to concentrate all my non-school time on making pictures. Also secured the Photo Editor post for the school yearbook for the upcoming year so I could practice on their time, and film. Since I'd been appointed to be captain of the school rifle team for that upcoming senior year I had to wait till that match season was over to stop spending any time on marksmanship altogether.

At that point I lost all interest in any of the hardware, as objects. I wanted a Leica with 35/28mm lenses, which I got fairly soon, because I was convinced it was the best tool for the kind of pictures I wanted to make. It didn't hurt that it was a beautiful object, but its utility for the work I wanted to do was paramount. I didn't think about equipment again until, about 8 years later, as a beginning pro with an expanding set of clients, I realized I had to move from my tiny set of Pentax/Leica gear into one of the two "systems" (Canon/Nikon back in 1974) to handle the wider range of capabilities I needed to do professional work—"making other people's pictures for them."

Your comment reminds me I had forgotten how much I was interested in photo gear-as-gear way back then, and how interested I was in firearms gear. Once I got really targeted on making pictures, my interest in photo gear dropped away to simple cost/benefit analysis of what I needed to make the pictures. Plus, I know almost nothing of any firearm introduced after 1967.

Moving from gear to practice, I'm convinced that all the marksmanship training I "abandoned" is with me every minute I use a camera. Steady hand-holding and precise control of the shutter release are obvious, but I think it extends to being able to order a heightened state of visual awareness. Tournament/match training is the state I put myself in when I try to make pictures. At six I was taught how to concentrate totally on putting an arrow into the 9-inch gold thirty yards away. Good fundamental training for the infinitely more complex task of walking about, looking for a picture to make.