Monday, 1 October 2007

Camera Deprivation Anxiety and a Consumerist Dilemma

Now I am without a camera, I am struck by how dependent I am on having one. Blog photo opportunities keep leaping out at me and I am unable to do enything about them. This morning I baked a plum upside-down cake for morning tea guests and it cried out to be photographed, with a lovely dollop of chantilly cream at its side. This afternoon, the children and I walked to a friend's house and the gardens filled with early blossoms screamed "Photograph me! photograph me!"

This whole 'losing my belongings in the bottom of the lake' ordeal has shown me some gaping holes in my ethical position. I like to think of myself as someone who is prepared to live simply, to avoid purchasing unnecessary items, and who cares about the environment, but when I lost all my gear last weekI was jolly keen to replace the whole lot the next morning and bill it on my husband's credit card (my holiday cash supply and our joint credit card sank too).

In no sense do I need a brand new camera, or the new makeup I bought (just tinted sunscreen, mascara and lipgloss), or even, arguably, the bottom-of-the-range phone we bought to replace my previous bottom-of-the-range phone. Yet I have gone on like the barely disguised consumer I fear at the core I am and bought all these things (apart from the camera; that I hope to receive as a birthday present tomorrow.) I have arranged to get a new garage door remote and to have my automatic car door opener repaired. Talk about demanding instant gratification!

I am ashamed of myself, yet know that if the same thing happened again, I would probably respond in exactly the same way.

The distinction between 'needs' and 'wants' is an interesting and challenging one, isn't it?


Cottage Contessa said...

Happy Birthday Kate! I hope you have a wonderful day, and a year full of all your dreams coming true! I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your bag & contents, but happy for you that the rest of your holiday was terrific. Fingers crossed for a new camera for you! Amanda.

Crazy Mumma said...

Hi Kate,

Happy birthday to you! I think the "needs" and "wants" issue is a big one, and I have been in a similar situation re: the camera. The position that I have come to is that whilst some things are definitely in the "want" category, there are other items that bring us joy, and/ or help us express our creative talents. There is no reason why, if we are reasonably able to afford them, that we shouldn't have them in our lives. If you don't get a camera for your birthday - and having a camera brings you happiness through taking photos of spring blossoms for example - provided you aren't buying the biggest and best (in order to impress others) and you aren't buying it with invisible money (i.e. you can afford it), then why shouldn't you buy one, guilt-free?

Cheers, Julie.

Mrs. Staggs said...

I have been thinking about this same issue a lot more lately, and have noticed that others are too. I think just the thought that we are becoming more aware of our choices, is a step in the right direction. I recently bought a better camera, because I've discovered how much I'm enjoying photography since starting a blog. I'm doing less shopping for other things, but truly enjoying the camera. It has given me a creative outlet, and truly enriches my life. I think making thoughtful choices is the key, rather than doing without. There is a difference, and I think you seem very aware of that.