Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saying Goodbye

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.


  1. Well poot! I know how you have enjoyed the possibility of having a snazzy lab, but as you said...it's lots of money and not very feesable right now.

    One place that might be good to list the items for sale would be that shop you're renting the camera from if they'd let you...the potential shoppers there would at least recognize the value.

    Let me know if you want to throw in a stamp making kit! =)

  2. the person who gave you the darkroom equip. would want you to have the latest and the best; he would understand that times change and would know that "that was yesterday", "this is today". I think Leanna has a great idea ...make an 8 1/2" x 11" list and ask if you may post it on the wall of photo shops. most shops would want you to practically give it to them; however, an individual might be willing to pay more.
    Do you have such a thing as a community sales listing paper (sort of like a newspaper full of classified ads)?

  3. when I sold my camera stuff I took it to Arlington to a shop that deals in used camera equip. look in the yellow pages under "Camera Equip.- used"

    anonymous grandpa

  4. I've posted it up on the Photo group website that I belong to. We'll see what happens with that. I've called two shops that buy camera equipment, and neither wanted it because they can't sell it. :( One suggested I piece-meal it out on eBay. The enlarger equipment alone is $3500 bought new, but they're selling on eBay for $100! However, I haven't seen the make and model I have, which seems to be a pretty nice one. I'm going to contact the university here and see if I can put something up in the art dept--a student may consider it a good investment. I may try a community paper, too.

    It's crazy that it's "worth" so much, yet they're practically given away because everyone's digital. Stupid supply and demand.

  5. Well, you can rarely resell something for what it's worth or what you paid for it. You almost have to have a garage sale mentality... sell it to make a little money (and room) and don't worry about what it cost originally... besides wasn't it free to you in the first place?

    But I understand your attachment and your appreciation of the art. Maybe a school (university or even high school) would buy it to use in their darkroom? Then, you can consider it an investment in other young artists.

  6. I'm proud of you for being willing to let go of this equipment. It's not easy, but in the long run I'm sure you'll be glad you did. Sometimes holding on to something of that much value may get damaged or not needed (or used) later on. Definitely would encourage you to not let emotions or amounts you think are what you should get vs. reality of what people will offer. You're selling to a digital world. This will be somebody's hobby stuff. But then don't let them rip you off. Just pray and be open to offers you get. Definitely contact local camera places!