I used to spend hours on my Mongoose commuting between Kinkos, Yodobashi Camera ("My Ashram" to quote Mr. Philip Jones Griffiths) and Create (the local pro-photo lab) to develop film, make prints, buy film and other post photoshooting materials. It was a great exercise but it took it's toll on my budget, thats for sure. Then came the digital camera and even if it was crap in the beginning it definitely saved me and my three-man (me, myself & I) show both money and time. As digital cameras became better and more reliable film is becoming history...almost. Since I still shoot 6x4.5 and the occational 35mm because I love it I still have to make that journey to the lab and camera store once in awhile but less and less often as the years goes by. As a freelance photographer you will never be 100% self-sufficient. There will always be some stuff you need to do your job that requires shops like the previous mentioned, but you can and should make it into an last retreat if you can. To go DIY has become a reality that just 10 years ago was something that would be close to impossible to do.
But what is it we get for our hard earned money? Just mass produced junk many times, isn't it?
Take this as an example, just 3 years ago a 1GB Flash Card would cost you ¥15.000, now you get a faster, higher quality card for ¥5000. The same cards will soon be free, but then the market will find out a new technique that requires some other pricey plastic gadget you just have to have to take that high resolution image for some publication that actually doesn't give a shit in the end. The guys and gals at Canon and other great companies are not digging their own graves by making us self sufficient, thay are going to make sure that we keep that close relationship in the future as well, guess we all depend on eachother in a weird way. Well, thats the way it goes, learn to adapt to the trends and you'll be fine I guess, just that I hate to be so easily deceived by what the trend is according to what some big company says it is. So to go full circle and fall headfirst in to another trap I went the other day to "The Ashram" and got me a Canon MP690, a printer, scanner, copier and you name what, all in all (the gear freak in me made me, I just call it an investment if anyone asks!). Lets see what this machine can do for us at m.w.c.p in the future. A small price to pay for being able to be master of your own destiny...?
Gotta go, have to get inkjet color cartridges and more printing paper and...................!