Monday, December 13, 2010

My, what a big lens you have!

In many cultures, if you want to show off your prowess, or make up for some that might be lacking, the quickest way to do this is to buy a flashy car. This strategy does not, however, work very well in Sweden. This is not just because flashy cars will send you back to the poor house. Did you know Sweden has a 25% VAT (that's value added tax for you Americans, and it's a lot like sales tax)? It's also because flashy cars go against the Jantelaw (more on this later) or the belief that you shouldn't think you are better than anyone else. 

So, what does your average Swede do to show off without showing off? Goes out and buys the biggest and most expensive lens they can find for their fancy DSLR camera.

I'm not kidding. Just go to any parade, wedding, or large event in Sweden and marvel at the sheer number of fancy cameras with gigantic lenses. I enjoy photography and I love taking pictures. I have a pretty nice camera with a couple of years under its belt. I look just like a teenager driving around in a little Pinto compared to the Ferarri's I'm surrounded by.

I do admit, I see these giant lenses hanging around men's necks, more often than women's. The women seem to prefer the handy 55mm. Last summer I even saw several kids running around the beach with fancy mid-sized lenses on their Nikons. So it's best to start them early!


  1. I haven't noticed about the camera, but maybe just because my husband was like this in the US, too, and we hung around with other people with big cameras. But the whole no fancy car business, YES. We are actually, I think, seen to be rather flashy just because we have TWO (used) cars, and I have zero (0) jobs.

  2. I agree with this. I have been living in Sweden 3 years now and it always made me an impression that so many teens have very expensive cameras that they don't even know how to use correctly. But well it's at least much preferable seeing people with Nikons than people with Ferraris.