For you photographers out there -- in an amature's camera bag there are a very few lenses that do Most Things okay. And in a professional's camera bag, there are a whole bunch of lenses that do One Thing extremely well and other things not at all. We sometimes call these the "wow" lenses. They're the fish eyes, the super telephotos, things of that nature. This is one of the wow lenses and I want to give it away to the right person. I want to find the person who was me 20 years ago -- filled with ideas and opportunity but completely broke.
If you think you're that person, read on.
Click for a larger image
IF THIS LENS IS SO AWESOME, WHY ARE YOU GIVING IT AWAY?
There are some caviats to this lens.
1) It's manual focus. I've replaced it in my camera bag with an auto focus version.
2) It's ugly. Its been beat up. The glass is perfect and it's razor sharp, but the exterior is missing a lot of paint. I used it like a pro for a number of years and I bought it from an LA Times photographer who had used it like a pro for a lot longer. It might have been made before you were born. I like to think that it's condition automatically adds credibility to you. Anyone who has a lens that looks THIS BAD must be a pro.
3) The focus is very stiff. About 10 years ago at a party someone spilled a bloody mary on it. And rather than tell me, they hid it behind the sofa in a box filled with napkins. (The caliber of my friends has improved drastically in the last few years I suppose.) When I finally found it, the tomato juice had solidified and it was an unuseable mess. phillforrest using his mad camera repairman skills brought it back from the dead. He disassembled it and restored it but it never got it's smooth focus back. You could probably have a professional repair person this, or do what I did for the next two years and just use it.
4) The lens hood is at the bottom of the Nile.
We won't go into that.
HOW DO I GET THIS AWESOME LENS?
I'm not just going to give it to the first person who asks. (You must answer me these questions three, ere the lens you see...)
Here's what you have to do:
1) You have to have a camera that it will work on. If you're not sure, check the nikon lens compatibility chart.
2) It needs to fill a real and recognizable gap in your current equipment.
3) You need to send me your three best images. Send me links via email or post here. (kyle at kyle cassidy dot com is my email address.) All images must be resized to 800 pixels along the longest axis and they must have your name on them as a watermark. If they're not done like this you won't be considered. It's not so much that I want to be a pain in the rear, it's that I want you to understand what the art world is going to expect of you in the future and I don't want to have to resize everybody's images all day long.
4) You need to write an artist statement which describes a project you want to work on or are working on for which this lens will be helpful. I don't want a list of reasons why you need an 85 1.8, rather I want to be sold on your project, why it's a good idea, why you're driven to do it -- don't talk about lenses. ("I know a lot of hot men/women/dogs/horses/ballet dancers/hair dressers." Is a perfectly acceptable project, so is "I've just taken a job in a hospice and I feel compelled to record the lives of the people I see every day.") I don't know how long your artist statement needs to be, but I think 300-700 words would probably cover anything I needed to say in any of mine. If you need help writing one, there are lots of on-line and in-print resources.
I'm also happy to critique your artist statement and let you know what needs to be fixed.
5) After you get the lens you need to produce work with it. Within 6 months after getting it, you must produce a chap-book (which you can do at blurb or macbooks or you can do it at Kinkos and staple it together) which must be made available for purchase to people who read this blog -- you keep all the money, I just want people to be able to benefit and enjoy your images. 50% of the photos in your chap book should be taken with this lens.
AND WHY SHOULD I JUMP THROUGH ALL THESE HOOPS FOR A STUPID LENS?
You have a lens and a completed project to be proud of, the world has your art, and I have a tiny bit more shelf space where I can hang up a photo of trillian_stars
Some photos from the 85 1.8 -- now you know why you need it.
WHATS THE TIME FRAME ON THIS?
I don't want to make everybody freak out and start writing right away. I'm thinking I'd like to get this lens out the door on my birthday, which is October 31. That gives everybody two months and change to get cracking. If by October 31 nobody has submitted the killer proposal, I'll either extend the deadline or sell the lens on ebay and give the $$$ to City Kitties. (I also reserve the right to end the competition for any foolish reason I want before that time or to change the deadline. This is just in case the lens gets damaged or destroyed somehow before then or someone comes up with an amazing project that is extremely time sensitive.)
Questions? Comments? Demands for clarification?
*** FEEL FREE TO REPOST THIS IN YOUR OWN BLOGS OR ANYWHERE YOU THINK APPROPRIATE ***
*** I MEAN, I WANT TO SEE THIS ON SNOPES A MONTH FROM NOW, THAT KIND OF REPOST IT ***