David Talley is a photographer from Los Angeles who recently had the one experience no photographer ever wants to have happen: all of his gear was stolen. Fstoppers, together with InMyBag.net, are helping David recount what happened, tell the story of how he internalized the emotions and explain how he plans to move forward after the tools he uses to make his living were taken from him.
The following was written by David Talley and all text and images have been published with permission.
Picture the scene...Sunny San Francisco. A nice, cool breeze. The district of Haight and Ashbury rolling down your line of vision and a car packed full of friends filled door to door with music. You stop for the best thai food you’ll ever have, and head up to the top of the street near Buena Vista Park, overlooking the bay. A friend says “take a Polaroid!” and you oblige, running back to the trunk of the car to grab the camera, throwing it wide open, and realizing, in disbelief, that your Polaroid, along with your laptop, camera gear, journals, and books are nowhere to be found.
Hey guys, my name is David Talley. I’m a photographer, director, and proud beard-wearer living in Los Angeles, California. The scene you just visualized above was my reality, one month ago, during a week-long shooting adventure in San Francisco.
While my initial reaction was that I had just misplaced the bag during the adventures of the day, I knew in the back of my mind that the reality of the situation wasn’t so light. After speaking with a few San Francisco locals, a large portion of the homeless community surrounding Haight and Ashbury and the San Francisco Police Department (who told us they were unable to help, as they sped off in their squad car yelling out the window, “can’t help —coffee run!”), I began to internalize the loss of my gear - gear that I had worked for, built up, and molded in to tools of creation to help spread a message of positive change to the world.
While the loss of my gear was disheartening if only for the fact that I no longer had a tool of creation, I saw the theft as an opportunity to show how ANYONE can turn even the most difficult of tragedies in to the most positive experiences for oneself and others alike.
So, here’s my guide on how to replace your beloved gear:
1) Internalize and Forgive - Although I had hoped for the safe return of my gear, I realized that the gear was likely out of my reach. Unfortunately, there are those who make a living as thieves. While there is nothing we can do about this, I can only hope that they see the gear, journals, and images, and by some work of destiny are inspired to reach their full potential. The course of both of our lives are forever affected in some way due to this situation, and I hope theirs is as positive a change as mine has been.
2) Share – Make aware your circle of influence, family, and friends of the situation. The action that I saw my friends take, which included over 100 shares on social media, craigslist-hunters, and phone calls from friends of friends of friends to anyone living in the San Francisco area was incredible. They also raised enough money for me to purchase a new laptop, from which I’m currently typing.
3) Mindset Shift – I quickly transformed all the negative energy surrounding the situation in to a positive outlet for creation, laying groundwork for a new project I’ll be releasing in June. A true creator will be able to create regardless of his or her circumstances, and at the core of my being, that’s who I am. I create. I create my life and my circumstances. I create my destiny, and one thief isn’t going to stop me from doing that
4) Re-evaluate & Enjoy the Freedom – I realized that this situation is nothing more than a blank slate and motivator for me to work even harder to achieve every goal I have laid out for myself. While I lost client work and other valuable, irreplaceable items in the theft, I’ve been given the opportunity to start fresh in creating the things I truly want to create. I’ve been given the motivation for a new project, and although I lost a camera, I’ve come away with a deeper understanding of who I want to be as an artist.
5) Compare and Contrast - Running with the idea of a blank slate, the theft has given me the opportunity to reevaluate my gear list, and what I'll be adding to it in the coming months to replace my original gear. InMyBag.net offers a huge variety of different gear setups, and browsing through the list has given me some fantastic starting points for how to construct my next kit. It's great - you can even specify by genre or select a brand and see where that gear is being used in the industry. It's a great tool for myself and others alike.
David is now planning on how he is going to start over and what he would like to replace his gear with. This and the rest of his story can be read at InMyBag.net.
Has your gear ever been stolen? How did you react? How did you move forward? Let us know in the comments below.