Costs of the Art

Photography is keeping me involved in journalism school, and almost keeping me dissolved in the real world. Amidst all the researching, interviewing and writing I do for class assignments, photography is the one activity that I derive the most pleasure from. But it also sweeps the bank clean, because this tech-heavy venture cost as much to sustain a basic living expenses.

For starters, there are the accessories. Filters, flashes and fiber cloth are just the top of a long list of ‘essentials’ needed to maintain a basic camera kit of body and lens. A little dust blower could cost $10. Good tripods go up to the hundreds. They all add up to something equivalent to a short weekend trip to New York City (if you’re not from there, of course).

Then comes the computer hardware. Software can be obtained through other channels, but a decent monitor (for seeing correct colors), backup storage, and a processor with enough power all contribute to a considerable chunk of cash needed. The upside is they are long-term purchases. However with technology’s lifespan shortening ever so quickly, these things will also have to be replaced just as fast. Can photographers earn enough to fork out thousands every few years?

Get back to me in a few years and maybe I’ll be able to tell you. It hasn’t been that long since I got serious in photography, but whenever I tabulate my expenses, the figure attached to his ‘hobby’ never fails to jolt. And it’s just going to get higher, as I eye even more parts that need ‘upgrading,’ or to be filled. About a year ago, I bought a new 250GB harddisk. Now that’s almost full, so time to get another one. I’ve bought and sold lenses, but the buying always exceeds the selling, so no luck in cutting back on that.

As with government deficits, an increase in spending in one area often means a decrease in another. In my case, it’s food. I haven’t weighed myself in months, and I’m afraid of how much the number has dipped. My arms have always been thin, but now even the bones are starting to force its shape and form on the skin. Starving for the art, that’s what it is. It just depends which art. Writing is almost free; painting doesn’t sound too bad.

Why must photography be so expensive.

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Filed under Columbia University, Emo, Journalism, Photography

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