There’s been a huge resurgence in the popularity of film photography in recent years and the demand for older film cameras has increased. As a result many people are now rummaging through the many charity shops around the world for bargains.
There are a huge number of websites, groups and forums on the Internet and social media covering film cameras and it’s very exciting to read the “gloating” of others about the bargains they’ve found hiding behind tacky ornaments, jigsaws and other weird and wonderful curiosities on the shelves of charity shops. Or is it?
Whilst it sounds an attractive option to go digging through charity shops for bargains: Whilst you might find that Leica for 10 ($, € or £ or any other currency), or the rare lens for a couple of magic beans, let’s stop to think for a minute. These items were likely the pride and joy of their previous owners – people, as photographers, just like us. There’s every likelihood they found their way onto the shelf of that person’s demise and the inevitable resulting house clearance. For that reason alone this kit demands some respect.
But this isn’t really the point being made here. These are CHARITY shops.
[ char-i-tee ]SHOW IPA
noun, plural char·i·ties.
1. generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or needy.
2. something given to a person or persons in need; alms.
3. a charitable act or work.
Excerpt from dictionary.com
These cameras and other kit are donated in good faith to raise money to support, poverty, medical conditions or research, hospices, animal cruelty, hunger, conservation and many dozens of other fine and deserving causes. The shops are mostly supported by volunteers with little or no knowledge of many – if any – of the specialties related to the various items donated. Including photography.
I do wonder sometimes if those who boast about their charity shop bargains have stopped for one minute to think where the money received for the purchase is intended. I guess not. For myself personally, my conscience wouldn’t allow me to to pay the 10 ($, € or £ or any other currency) unicorn price for that Leica. I couldn’t live with myself thinking that I had deprived the ultimate beneficiaries of the difference between 10 ($, € or £ or any other currency) and a real fair price. I’d have to offer a fair price, or tell the shop staff a more realistic value if it’s not something I want personally.
That bargain doesn’t sound so great now does it?
Instead, if you have some expertise why not approach your local charity shop and offer to help them value (and maybe sell) their photo related donations? Maybe doing that is more satisfying to many of us than obtaining a bargain whilst taking candy from babies (metaphorically and possibly literally).
If you represent a charity and would like my help, just drop me a message.