GAS, and it's ultimate effect

Discussion in 'Antiques and Collecting' started by Whiteymorange, Jun 23, 2012.

  1. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    Jim McD told me once that he thinks the proper number of cameras to own is N-1, where N is the number that will make your wife throw you out. Today, in helping PHSNE deal with a large donation, I came on a house where the man (now passed on) had N+X, where X is the number he could hide. Let me tell you it wasn't as pretty a sight as I might have thought. His widow even found cameras hidden in the charcoal grill in the garage. We had six people there for four hours just bringing boxes up from the basement, and that was after a truck filled with "the good stuff" had gone to the PHSNE warehouse, another load had gone to Skinner Auctions and two guys had worked for days sorting and boxing orphans hidden in every available nook and cranny of the house. In the end, even the good stuff, and a lot of it is very good, will take fours or so auctions to clear out. Some of these cameras are in brand new condition, some are good users, some have been wrapped in newspaper and then stored in a wet basement. 8>( Many of the folders were stored with the bellows exposed (open). Lenses were often stored in empty wine cases, 12 to a box. Sometimes he seems to have taken cameras apart and stored the parts in different places.

    I tried to find a pattern in his collections, but the only thing that strings each of these cameras, lenses, assorted what's-its and cases seems to be that he could buy it. There are German cameras, Japanese cameras, American cameras and Russian cameras; rangefinders, TLR's, SLR's, P&S, folders and plate cameras; darkroom equipment for at least three darkrooms (and no darkroom) and boxes and boxes of tools, parts and accessories. He had covering material, aging chemicals, re-coating paints and chemicals, polishes and adhesives. As far as I know, he never worked on other people's cameras and was not a dealer.

    I am a packrat. I know what it is to need to keep stuff–– because it's cools stuff or because you think you may need it someday. Today I may have seen the end of that particular road. Will I learn?

    The jury is out.
     
  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Heartwarming story!
     
  3. Bearman

    Bearman Member

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    Indeed. I hadn't thought about the charcoal grill in the garage...:cool:
     
  4. Jerevan

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    Scary story. But then again, I just get stressed seeing stuff that has no use, sitting on the shelf - and I thin my (admittedly small) herd at irregular intervals. :smile:
     
  5. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    Interesting story. So when is the sale/auction again?

    My wife uses the charcoal grill... Wish I had a basement...
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    At some point obsessively collecting and hoarding anything to that degree becomes a form of mental illness.
     
  7. wy2l

    wy2l Member

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    Screw the mental illness side of this. When/where is the auction? Must have more good stuff!
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I am glad I have converted from the long road of GAS. I once had dreams of rooms full of photographia. And now I can only imagine the coffee I could not have been drinking these last three years since I trimmed the fat and kept it that way. Speaking of fat, maybe I should buy some more cameras and less TastyKakes.
     
  9. ambaker

    ambaker Subscriber

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    Well, if I have to go mental, cameras are not so bad... ;-)

    Though, I agree that there is not much point in having so much of anything you cannot enjoy it.


    ---
    I am here: http://tapatalk.com/map.php?cjoa1j
     
  10. HowardDvorin

    HowardDvorin Member

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    He strikes me as a BRAVE man

    HowardDvorin
     
  11. papagene

    papagene Membership Council

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    "I came on a house where the man (now passed on) had N+X, where X is the number he could hide."
    I love that line!! :D
    I am sure I am at the N-1 stage and as you know Whitey, the Mrs has been quite kind and patient with me. But I may have reached my limit with this:
    Raji 5x7
     

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  12. MichaelT72

    MichaelT72 Member

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    Some people who experienced the great depression became hoarders of not only canned food, but all sorts of "stuff". They never wanted to be without again. My father in law comes to mind. He was in the same house for 60+ years... Took his kids several months to clear his/her "stuff" out when he passed on. But this guy had just about any tool you'd ever need, plus materials of every sort. He could as he'd say "fabricate just about anything". It was always very interesting to see what he had tucked away, often several of the same thing. He knew quality when he saw it and was a craftsman. I acquired a few of his cameras and tools. I always think of him when I have to try to "fabricate" something.
     
  13. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Woah. And I'm just the opposite, I can't hold onto anything long enough..Hell I could move out of my place in one truckload!
     
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  15. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Yes Gene, but if your're going to use that beauty and can afford it...why not. I will say about the individual described with n+x cameras I have to agree he did have a psycological issue.....hiding cameras and parts in every nook and cranny is not normal
     
  16. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    "Hey Bob what are we having at your bbq?" "Cameras!" Best bbq ever.
     
  17. amsp

    amsp Member

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    I think I'm a sort of modern nomad, I hate having too much stuff as it only feels like a dead weight tying me down. I feel stressed by nicknacks that serve no purpose and I try to keep only what I use or love deeply. I like to pick up and just leave for extended periods of time every now and then and have learned that less stuff usually equals more freedom. I've had some pretty awesome adventures thanks to this habit, and in the end I think these memories are more valuable than any amount of stuff or money could ever be.
     
  18. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I was a Caseworker for a guy who has such severe OCD, he ended up being sent to a psychiatric ward and then referred to the homeless shelter where I worked until his house could get cleaned up. He had garbage filling every room, kitty litter filled in the tub to defecate 'cause toilet was plugged and he had grass growing through a BMW he had in his yard. To told me he had "gold, silver, diamonds and money" in the house and he needed to get to it. I had to explain that is was boarded up, but would keep him updated on when the cleanup was finished. When they called me, they told me he had over $200,000 worth of gold, silver, diamonds and money stashed all over the house, which they found after weeks of moving out all the garbage he never took out of the house and piled in bags to the ceiling. I couldn't believe it. They used the money to fix up the house and sell it for almost $1,000,000.

    This guy with the cameras....mental health...probably....skill...definately. I don't know how one can hide 4 auctions worth of cameras, but he must have been crafty.
     
  19. xxloverxx

    xxloverxx Member

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    Evidently a lover of wines as well...

    The only thing that stops me from hoarding cameras obsessively is than I can't stand dirty cameras – they all get exercised and cleaned regularly. Oh, and fear of the dry cabinet collapsing.
     
  20. Photo-gear

    Photo-gear Member

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    I have too many cameras, something like 20 bodies and some 40 lenses, most of them reflex made by Nikon, Pentax and Canon, except for one rangefinder (Yashica electro 35 GSN + accessories tele and wide) and one point & shoot (Nikon L35AF).

    I like using everyone, although I feel I have too many. But I have no will to trim them down..
    If I had to start over, though, I would stick with one brandmark.

    This story, in my opinion, is rather sad. It looks like obvious the man did not use all his equipment and I doubted he took the trouble to develop and print his films.
    So what's the use of it all???
     
  21. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Subscriber

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    I don't know, Gene, I think maybe you could get a few more before your better half starts to move your stuff to the curb. My own strategy has been to have all of my gear in the "studio," a repurposed garage separate from the house. What is not in the house is not a problem for Lena, and when I trip over something inside, it's more likely to be her stuff, not mine!

    I don't want to leave the impression that this "collector" lived in squalor. His home, in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Boston, is quite lovely; clean, up to date and not really cluttered at all. It's just that it is a large home, with no kids. There are many, many hiding places in a home like this, and he took advantage of each and every one of them. I also believe he liked to keep his gear in good shape. It may have simply gotten away from him in the last few years of his life. I don't know much about him.

    PHSNE auctions, for those who are serious in wanting to know, are at various times. There is a members auction in February, and will likely be auctions following each of the next three or four Photographica shows, which happen in the spring and the fall. The next show is in Wakefield, MA, on September 22-23. Look at the PHSNE website for information. As I have said more than once, PHSNE is a great organization, well worth a look. Monthly meetings, open to the public, are opportunities to hear from knowledgeable collectors, dealers and historians about images, methods and gear. They put out a monthly newsletter and The Journal, a yearly publication that is sent to and collected by libraries as well as members. The shows each spring and fall are what attracted me, but the people are what keep me interested. Saturday's adventure of discovery, as box after box of camera gear was unloaded on the table, was a great time–– and working with the other guys who sorted the stuff made me realize how little I know in comparison.
     
  22. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I rationalised my equipment many years ago and sold what didn't make sense as a practical usable outfit, now my 35mm S.L.R. bodys are all Canon FD and so are my lenses, all my lenses fit and work correctly on the bodys I own, my two Medium format Mamiya T.L.R. bodys work with all the lenses and accessories I have for them too.
    I'm very happy with what I own and have no desire to acquire anything else, any spare money I have had to spend on my photography in the last two or three years I have spent on getting all my cameras professionally C.L.A'd because I have had them all more than twenty five years, and they were all second hand when I bought them, so all my gear is in tip top condition now and I can just enjoy using it.
     
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  23. Photo-gear

    Photo-gear Member

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    The first system I bought was Canon FD. I have several lenses and 3 bodies (A-1, AT-1 and T90). Beside the squeak problem with the A-1, I have no complaints related to this system.

    But overall, I think that all major brandmarks made good cameras and lenses. If I went first with FDs, it is because the prices were very appealing.
     
  24. semi-ambivalent

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    Think of yourself as a one-person economic stimulus package. :laugh:
     
  25. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I agree all the major camera manufacturers make good cameras and lenses, I stuck to canon FD because I couldn't see any advantage in terms of the photo technical quality that could be produced by using another 35mm SLR system and that the limiting factor wasn't in the equipment but in my ability which was a factor that couldn't be solved by spending more and more money on equipment .
     
  26. Vilk

    Vilk Member

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    ahem, it was n + x - 1