This past March I sent myself on a two week trip to Europe. It was GLORIOUS, exactly the soul-refreshing kind of experience I needed. But I had to come up with a way to pay for it: Matt didn’t mind me going, but we hadn’t really budgeted for it so his response to my request was “if you can find a way to pay for it, you can go.”
So I hemmed and hawed, briefly considered selling my kidney (just kidding, Mom), and finally came around to the idea of parting with my Contax 645. I’d purchased it back in 2012 and had told Matt, upon purchase, that if I didn’t end up going full film or hybrid (shooting a mix of digital + film) for weddings, that I’d sell it. Sure enough, I made the decision to stick with digital for my wedding work… and yet I’d hung on to the Contax anyways. And as of March, it was sitting, collecting dust in my office closet.
I shoot all of my personal + travel work on film, but I hadn’t really used my Contax since our previous Europe trip in the summer of 2013. So I decided I could afford to “downgrade” to a Mamiya 645 (around $2k less than the Contax at the time) and would use the profit to fund my international travel.
It worked out really well at first! I sold my Contax to a fellow Shoot & Share photographer who’s since put it to AWESOME use, and I went on my merry little way with my Mamiya. It served me mostly-well during my time in Italy, France & Ireland! See what I mean?
But something was sort of “off”- for some reason, I didn’t feel nearly as confident with the Mamiya. I know the camera doesn’t make the photographer at ALL (I really and truly believe that!), but I just wasn’t as comfortable with my new medium format camera as I was with my old one. The Mamiya has a bit of a tendency to mis-focus on occasion, and it was frustrating getting some of my Europe film back only to have to trash several of the images due to a camera malfunction. And this past summer I made the decision to shoot my Anniversary Experience sessions with film and digital, which meant I was a lot less confident going into shooting scenarios where I actually NEEDED my camera to perform perfectly. It did its job well enough and I’m proud of the work I’ve produced with it, but I don’t like the feeling of clicking my shutter with a sort of question mark hanging over me. Does that make any sense at all?
So a couple of months ago, I made the decision to go ahead and re-purchase the Contax. Ugh. It made me a little sick to my stomach to have to re-buy something I’d just sold about 8 months ago, but the good news is I found an awesome deal on eBay. “Awesome” being a relative term- the price for the Contax has gotten way out of control the last couple of years!
I guess the point of this whole post is that when it comes to running a business, everyone makes mistakes. And some of those mistakes are a bit more expensive than others, like this one, but that’s just part of the process of an evolving and booming career! I wouldn’t even really call this a mistake, since I managed to fund a life-changing trip out of it- we’ll just dub this a “learning experience.” But now I know, for the next time, to sell my kidney instead.
Just kidding, Mom.