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Everyone And Their Mother Has a DSLR.
One of my and my gf's favorite things to do on a Friday afternoon is to grab some sandwiches and head to Dolores Park for a few hours of people watching. And one of the things I notice every time is how many people have DSLRs. It's one place you don't feel unique being a shutterbug -- everyone is a shutterbug. It goes way beyond people having a point-n-shoot or their iPhone at the ready so they upload to Twitter or Facebook. It's faaancy cameras, from Canon and Nikon DSLRs to Leicas and GF1s and even the rare Hasselblad. But mainly, it's DSLRs.
I have a conflicted and complex reaction to this each time. On the one hand, it's kind of amazing that quality cameras are now affordable to so many people, and that photography is such a popular hobby. But on the other hand, the popularity could also be called simply trendy, especially when you see every hipster girl aiming her lens at her friend's fixie or empty PBR can. It makes you wonder how many take it seriously, how many take it more seriously than you, who you might really connect with and who just wants to try out a new toy. But despite the disdain I have for the trendiness factor, there's another big pro to about 20% of the crowd clicking cameras: it makes you less of a creeper. When everyone walking around with a camera thinks they're a street photographer, it's like the general population gets a little more used to having a lens aimed at them, and you feel less like the dude in a trench coat about to have the cops called on him. It makes it thaaaat much easier to openly take photos of strangers, even if it turns you into "oh, another one of them," just another hot girl with a B&W lawn chair photo, to quote a certain someone.
You know another thing everyone has at Dolores Park? Tattoos. Tattoos dig you deeper into a "type" but they also help you put something of your personality out there for people to understand before they even speak to you. So while sitting in Dolores Park one day considering all this, I got an idea, and the next day walked into Black Heart Tattoo and put this on my shooting arm:
Boom! Take that, yo! Sure, I may be another tattoed girl with a DSLR in the park, but I'm probably the only one with an SLR tattoo -- dude, it's vintage tech, extra hipster. Hardcore enough? Well, even if not so hardcore, and even if not actually done to win some sort of hipster rat race, it serves as evidence I'm not dropping photography when the next new thing comes along like how everyone ditched cupcakes when cake pops arrived. I now sit with some sense of authority on my raggedy blanket with my 7D next to me.
(And yeah, yeah, I know there are lots of folks with camera tattoos out there. But they probably aren't next to me. And that's the point.)