BAS (Book Acquisition Syndrome)

BAS: also a real condition, when you buy too many books, and rather than going out and shooting real photos, you spend too much time admiring the work of other photographers.

BAS is better than GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). But both in extremes are bad.

BAS (book acquisition syndrome) is bad when you spend more time looking at the work of others rather than making your own photos.

My suggestion:

Spend 20% of your time finding inspiration in other photographers, and 80% of your time making your own photos.

So if it is a Saturday, just look at a photo book for an hour or so, have an espresso, then hit the streets for the rest of the day.

Reading vs writing.

For me in writing, I read a lot. But I try not to read too much. I want to focus 80% of my time creating (writing) and 20% of my time reading and consuming.

The problem is an issue of gluttony: too much consumption and not enough creation is bad for our creative constipation.

How to cure yourself of BAS

If you are like me and have spent thousands of dollars in photo books, order 1-2 new books a week on Amazon, and don’t feel inspiration to make photos (because you’re discouraged, because the master photographers are so good), this is my suggestion:

Stop buying books for 6 months. Spend that time re-reading the books you already own. And spend more time making photos and art.

Thanks to GK for the suggestion for this blog post, as on the ERIC KIM FORUM

Limit yourself.

I still do believe, when you’re lacking inspiration it is a good idea to “Buy Books, Not Gear.”

However too many books can choke you. Like too much of anything good.

Too much Salmon Sashimi or sushi will make you want to throw up. Too much sex leads to limp-ness (ask Hugh Hefner). Too much money leads to drug addiction (look at the rich and famous). Too many cars leads to dissatisfaction and stress.

Too many cameras and gear means you have a painful back when you’re out shooting photos, and you get “paralysis by analysis”– more stress before shooting photos, rather than just going out and shooting.

Too much coffee, and it fucks up your sleep. Too many clothes, then stress of what to wear today? Too much time with your loved ones, and you feel annoyed by them.

Therefore the solution is this:

Set a LIMIT for yourself, which even you wouldn’t want to go over.

For example, I carry a small bag, to not over stuff my bag with superfluous shit when I travel, or when I go about my daily business.

I limit my coffee consumption after 3pm, so I can sleep at night.

I limit myself to one camera, one lens when traveling, to not be stressed.

With clothes, I limit myself to “all black everything.”

Creative constraints are the answer

Fewer choices, more creativity.

How can you add more “creative constraints” to your life, and be empowered by them?



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