Photographic Gambling


I read websites from the photo press daily. My wife doesn’t like me doing it because she is highly strung and tends to jump when I scream.

I do my best not to, but there are some mornings when it is all too much. A recent report of the amalgamation of two camera-gear rental organisations in the USA led to the latest episode. I couldn’t help it…

It seems that there is quite a trade in North America with camera rental for creative people. But unlike the situation here in Australia where it is done from retail shops or agencies, in New York they organise rentals between private owners and users. Sort of acting like middle-men between those who actually own the gear and those who would like to take it out and drop it into a gravel pit.

The website of the organisation promises careful vetting of the renters and water-tight legal procedures in case of accidental damage. Given the propensity of Americans to resort to litigation I should imagine that they are being truthful – there will be a legal fight there somewhere. And they have 50 states to do it in…

I have sometimes lent out photographic equipment from my own kit – but only to trusted friends and only with the secret mental reservation that the friendship was worth more than the cost of the equipment if it was damaged. There have rarely been accidents, but in one case the use of the gear did lead to an electrical failure. It was fixed and I shared the cost of this with the chap who was using it at the time.

But a stranger? Brokered by other strangers? With nothing more than a paper contract? Roughly the equivalent of tap dancing in a fulminate of mercury factory…

By all means rent the gear you need. Rent it from a shop that owns it outright. Pay the bond, test the gear before and after, and take care of it. The cost of rental is part of the profit to the shop and can be offset by the profit you intend to make. But keep it simple, and don’t make two enemies where one would do.




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