Whilst many of us try to pretend it isn’t the case deep down we know it is true. We lead ordinary lives. Not for us the highs and lows of others but rather the mundane. Occasionally some extraordinary thing happens to us but as with a summer breeze it passes and we return to the mean. The one lesson that time teaches us is that this is the case – replacing the restlessness of our youth with the inner acceptance of the old. Life is what it is and we are what we are.
It is strange what passes through one’s mind in the freshness of a summer dawn. This morning I was able to enjoy the freedom of being able to stand in an empty field watching the changing skies of a summer sunrise. Over the past few days I have marvelled at the stupidity of the world in which I live. Stupidity? Well maybe pointlessness at least. The cause of this bemusement was not the continuing collapse of Donald Trump’s Presidency nor the daily exposure of most of the British government to being just frightened little boys, they are mainly boys, in the face of the oncoming storm. You almost hear them crying out ‘Mummy’.
None of this really affected me in any real sense. Leaders come and leaders go but life carries on. No what has been agitating my consciousness was something totally trivial – the release of the latest Canon hybrid mirrorless camera the R5. I have no idea whether it is a good camera as I don’t understand what it means to be a good camera at all. Yet I watch the talking heads explaining why this feature or that will make a difference knowing it won’t. The only thing that will make any difference at all is the poor fool who presses the shutter release.
I’m sure I have written about this before but I have given up on modern hybrid cameras. I use a Sony A7 Mk 2 which is inferior, so the talking heads tell me, in so many ways and yet I mostly manage to create the photographs I want. The hearsey here is that the camera technology I use is nearly 6 years old. The talking heads would protest that just about everything about the camera is wrong: The menus are confusing; The custom buttons fiddly; The focusing system was a joke; The grip too small; The battery life is pathetic and the video functionality was beyond primitive. None of these things matter one little bit to me. I have found work arounds to all of the problems that stop me from making the photographs and as I am a photograph rather than a videographer I have no need for the video function at all. (Come to think of it how many would buy just a still camera unencumbered by the latest 8k video capture or whatever is the latest craze? As far as I can see the drive to hybridisation was done mainly at the behest of the camera makers rather than photographers. I am no doubt wrong but it matters not.)
The point of all this rant is that all of the latest cameras for most of the people are more than adequate for their needs. It has been the case for at least 6 years to my knowledge. Would I love to own a Canon R5? Of course but I wouldn’t spend one penny to achieve that because it wouldn’t allow me to do anything me current camera wouldn’t do (not for the £4000 plus it would cost for me to buy before considering the cost of replacing my Sony & Zeiss lenses for Canon). Now new lenses are a different matter and they can be worth every single penny you spend.
This doesn’t mean that there are aren’t some specialist needs that these new camera bodies help, of course there are. However, most of us aren’t special we are ordinary. On any distribution curve we would be clustered around the middle. One of the reasons why we watch professional sports is because we are watching a freak show. They are a small elite in their endeavour who are the exception. They may be ordinary in so many others ways but in one specific area they are unique and that is what makes us watch them. Perhaps these freaks of the camera world will find a use for the Canon R5 but most of us around the middle won’t. Maybe one day we’ll come to realise that – maybe we already have with the collapse of camera sales. The one thing that this pandemic has shown to us all is that much of lives have been filled with nonsense maybe the new normal will lead us all to accept that and find a new way to live.
Strange how the fresh dawn air of the empty fields of east Leicestershire can make one’s mind wander.