We have finally reached the dream. Affordable goods and enough money to buy them. A lot of them in fact. Items that lasted for a decade or more are now being replaced yearly (helped I’m sure by manufacturers building things NOT to last). With the advent of the internet, we shop almost daily. We use YouTube to show us shiny new toys by our modern day evangelists and then use the affiliate link springboard like an Olympic diver, landing headfirst into the deep blue pool of the Amazon. There we swim around, basking in the majesty of it all. Delivery by 9 pm tonight. Fat arses clad in pajamas need not leave the sofa. We shop like our lives depended on it and feel good because we are a Prime member. Yes, a Prime member in every sense of those two words!
We shop constantly and it makes us feel great. Yes, it makes us feel great for around 10 seconds after we press that buy button. But don't worry, there's still the thrill of waiting for delivery. But we might as well go back to YouTube and take a look at the accessories, just in case we might need them. And so it continues. The chase for the transparent dangling carrot.
The truth is; the more we consume, the more empty we feel. We're not filling a hole...we're digging one. Shame we can't use that hole as a landfill to dump all that crap we bought. But there is another truth that is just as serious. We are prisoners and we are slaves. We work to make money. Money to buy stuff. That stuff will need to be replaced whenever the manufacturer decides they want more of your money. The cost of these goods increase but income rarely does. You want better, you want more. So you buy on credit and you work more to pay for it, and so the cycle continues. But at least you have that giant screen TV to sit in front of after each hard working day. Entertainment to numb the empty feeling consumerism brings to the table. All over the world, millions of us are sitting in front of bright screens. It's as though we are waiting to be amused to death.
You probably know by now that we are shooting this month [Consumerism] essays using our oldest digital cameras. I first moved to digital using Olympus and then Nikon, but those cameras are long gone now. So the original X100 is my oldest digital and my oldest Fuji camera.
I looked back to see when I got the X100 and my first shot was taken on the 22nd of March 2011 (I think I bought the camera the day before). The image above was shot with this X100 three days later and although this looks like some sort of protest, it is actually people waiting on the Apple store to open on the release day of the latest iPhone. The queue actually goes around the corner and up the next street too.
So my X100 has come full circle, covering consumerism in 2011 and now again in 2019. I wish I could say I’ve enjoyed using this camera again, but although I have a soft spot for my original X-Series camera, it just made it blatantly obvious how far these cameras have come in the past eight years. So it's going back in the box, and a very nice box it is too. It's more like a jewelry box than a camera box. A far cry from the poor cardboard boxes we get these days.
*This post was partly inspired by Roger Water's ‘Amused To Death’, which is the title track from what is, in my opinion, the greatest rock n’ roll album in the last 40 years. That album was inspired by the book of the same name.
**You can win an imaginary balloon and whistle if you name all the gear pictured in the table shot. The prize will be sent via telepathic thought waves on the first Sunday during the week.