Friend-I've-Never-Met Ned Bunnell is an independent sort. To give you an idea, he once wrote an enthusiastic post on his personal blog about his new Leica.
...When he was President of Pentax USA. Those of you who work in, or with, the corporate world can imagine that there was a wee bit of fallout.
But the thing is, he was only being sincere. Ned actually is a Photo-Dawg first and a businessman second, and he wasn't playing—he really is "that" into cameras. For instance, here's a picture he sent me recently:
That's Ned's accumulation of cameras, carefully packed and awaiting shipment for a house move. And that's after the collection was culled: "Despite my best attempt at purging my camera gear by selling items on eBay and donating quite a lot of nice cameras and lenses to our local community college," he ruefully wrote, "I still appear to have a ways to go."
He mentioned his wife's somewhat strained tolerance and closed by saying, "If you have any advice on how to treat my addiction, I'm all ears."
Here's what I wrote back:
Wow! And I thought I was bad. My cameras made the trip East in two boxes and three bags. And that's only because I couldn't sell the Whole Plate Chamonix. :-)
Rather than treat this addiction, though, I think you should nurture it.
Look at all the things you could be addicted to: sex, cocaine, dangerous thrills, whiskey, cigars, racehorses, World of Warfare, speed (either kind), gambling, etc., etc.
People can be addicted to all sorts of improbable activities. I grew up down the street from a friend whose father owned a successful company. The rumor was that my friend's dad was addicted to buying land, and would buy parcels of land all over the country that he happened across when making long trips. It was apparently quite an impressive tangle for his estate after he passed away.
You could be like the Southern plantation heir profiled on A&E’s “Intervention” who would get drunk and high at night and give his money away to Nigerian scammers on the Internet. You could have a compulsion for strip clubs. You could find it fascinating to inflict pain. You could be like Larry Ellison of Oracle and be obsessed with winning an America’s Cup...talk about expensive.
Mrs. Bunnell should thank her lucky stars that it’s only a few crates of cameras! Of all the addictions, yours is one that’s nice, friendly, harmless, and, really, not even all that expensive…all things considered.
Of course, I would say that. On the Pentax-Discuss Mailing List, years ago, the other denizens dubbed me "The Lens Purchase Enabler"—LPE for short. Whenever somebody wanted help justifying the purchase of a new camera or lens, they knew who to come to.
Hey, we all have our talents.
(Thanks to Ned)
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Featured Comments from:
John Camp: "I'm not sure that it's a harmless addiction. That camera equipment represents a lot of money he could have bought guitars with."
Arun: "I looked up Ned's blog and he has some very fine images there—great composition/content, and also great tonality and subtlety in processing and presentation. Wonderful work. He needs more of them boxes!"
Gordon Lewis: "Just for the sake of argument, what is an acceptable/normal number of cameras? One? Two? Four? The most common answer is probably 'Anybody who owns more cameras than I do needs help.'"
Eric Rose: "Try as I might I just can't seem to get below 16 cameras. I sell or give away a few and then it seems a couple of new ones find a home. Hi my name is Eric and I'm a cameraholic."
Bruce K: "ThankYouThankYouThankYou for this post! I no longer feel so bad about having as many cameras as I have!"
Nigel: "The number of cameras you need is, surely, n+1. n being the number of cameras you own. A somewhat larger integer being required for lenses."
Edd Fuller: "Mark Twain had something to say that seems appropriate here:
[A lady] had run down and down and down, and had at last reached a point where medicines no longer had any helpful effect upon her. I said I knew I could put her upon her feet in a week. It brightened her up, it filled her with hope, and she said she would do everything I told her to do. So I said she must stop swearing and drinking and smoking and eating for four days, and then she would be all right again. And it would have happened just so, I know it; but she said she could not stop swearing and smoking and drinking, because she had never done those things.
So there it was. She had neglected her habits, and hadn't any. Now that they would have come good, there were none in stock. She had nothing to fall back on. She was a sinking vessel, with no freight in her to throw overboard and lighten ship withal. Why, even one or two little bad habits could have saved her, but she was just a moral pauper. When she could have acquired them she was dissuaded by her parents, who were ignorant people though reared in the best society, and it was too late to begin now. It seemed such a pity; but there was no help for it. These things ought to be attended to while a person is young; otherwise, when age and disease come, there is nothing effectual to fight them with."
Joseph Brunjes: "When my wife says I have too much gear I just refer her to this video on YouTube of Ansel Adams loading his car. The car loading begins at the 4:00 mark."