Jon and I are getting together all the photo lab equipment I have. A professional photographer gave it to me several years ago, and I've held on to the hope of using it someday. But we keep moving it from place to place, with no real hope of having room to use it. It would require a room (with running water) all to itself, which means a very large bathroom we couldn't use for anything else, or maybe a basement. Either way, labs are dying off, and pretty soon the only supplies I'll find are the ones in my own boxes.
So...we're doing inventory today to see if I could sell it--maybe I could make enough off of it to buy a semi-professional digital camera. A new camera plus the software I already owns gives me the same quality as the boxes and boxes of chemicals, tubs, timers, lamps and beakers that I have now. Still, going through it all (and remembering how complete it is) makes me want to keep it. And, it's sad to realize that what is literally thousands of dollars worth of equipment and supplies will probably sell for a fraction of that.
As you can tell, I'm really struggling with letting it go. The man who gave it to me did so in good faith that I, an aspiring photographer, would learn and grow from it. I feel like I'm betraying his faith in me, though (if I want to rationalize) the money would be used for the same purpose. Selling it is a recognition that I can't dive into every hobby I enjoy. I loved spending hours in the darkroom in college, smelling the chemicals as I entered, and seeing the magic of a perfectly-exposed image appear on a clean white sheet of paper. I like working with my hands more than with a mouse and keyboard. And I'm a nostalgic kind of person, who can appreciate that a master has worked with this enlarger, using these tubs and tongs, to make great things.
However, I also remember the hours I spent to get one print right. Even if I did have the basement, I don't have that kind of time. And it's not a good idea to move these things around until I do.
So, despite my emotional attachment, it really must be sold. I'm already regretting it, yet at the same time I know it's the right thing to do. I can't hang on to everything. I'll still enjoy photography, only digitally. And my garage (and anyone who helps us move in the future) will thank me.
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