A simple idea:
Don’t strive to use the “best” tool possible, seek to use the simplest tool possible for the job.
Why I still use the old iPod Nano at the gym
I wear this thing to the gym everyday. I could perhaps bring a phone, or get some wireless headphones, etc, but I prefer this setup. Why? It’s the simplest setup I’ve discovered for listening to (bass heavy) music at the gym!
It is simple because:
- I don’t get distracted with a phone when working out at the gym, or don’t get distracted by looking through Spotify playlists.
- I never need to charge it: wired headphones don’t require charging, and the battery on the iPod Nano lasts for like 2 weeks on one charge (remember when the Nokia brick cell phones almost never required charging?)
- I don’t think about the “optimal” headphone setup when going to the gym. It’s unconscious now. I just grab the thing, stuff it into my pocket, and head out. Less friction to get my ass into the gym.
Avoid whack distractions
Frankly speaking, modern society has too much “neomania” (craziness for the new), in the words of Nassim Taleb. We like the new for the sake of the new. But what is newer is not always what is better.
For example the “new” energy drink (Red Bull) is obviously inferior to a lovely espresso or simple black cup of coffee. The same goes with comparing the “new” and “optimized” SoyLent drink when compared to a simple ribroast steak with a dash of salt and pepper.
Even when we think about cameras and technology, generally the old and tested is better. Why? Not because it is older, but because it is generally simpler and stripped of the superfluous!
Why the Leica is a great camera
For example let us use the Leica camera as an example. The Leica isn’t a good tool because it is expensive. It’s a good tool because it’s the simplest camera ever made (thus far, perhaps with the exception with the simplicity of the iPhone Camera).
Consider the simplicity of the Leica rangefinder camera:
- Shutter button
- Focusing ring
- Aperture dial
- Shutter dial
That’s pretty much it. Stripped to the core, no superfluous stuff here:
In Praise of RICOH GR II
Let me also wax poetic about the RICOH GR II; which is the simplest compact camera ever made. The design has barely changed since the film RICOH GR. Why? It has a great and simple design. Same goes with Porsche cars, Rolex watches, and other classic designs. Designs which are “tried and tested”, and will look as fashionable 300 years from now, as they are today.
Why camera companies want you to be perpetually dissatisfied with your camera equipment
I’m the ultimate sucker to marketing and advertising. Trust me, I always feel like my camera or equipment isn’t “good enough”. Why? Because I’m a sucker to the American consumerist mentality:
Your possessions will never be good enough. Thus, you must keep buying and “upgrading”.
Without this mindset, capitalism and consumerism wouldn’t survive.
Anyways my simple maxim is this:
Once you’ve discovered a camera, equipment, or workflow which is 80% “good enough”, just stick to it!
Generally speaking as photographers, our biggest innovations will happen through the types of photography projects we pursue, the compositions we make, and the types of images we make. Equipment is important, but the artistic vision is far more important.
Thus the simple idea is this:
Let us be perpetually dissatisfied with our artwork, in order for us to continue to strive to innovate and improve our visual imagery. But let us “satisfice” (satisfy + suffice) with our equipment.