Zia Hassan

The Violinist Not The Violin

In my early 20’s, after I started a high paying (for a college student anyway) job as a consultant, my inclination was to finally buy all the gear that I had been salivating over for the past 4 years. Things like microphones, guitars (a large number of guitars) and cameras were purchased, and since I was living at home, there was no immediate financial consequence. I could continue living just fine with the rate that I was buying preamps, keyboards, and headphones.

I don’t regret buying these items. Many of the things I bought have been sold over the years, on eBay or through services. My current studio and instrument setup has remained the same since 2012, and I use the tools regularly to create and share my art.

My first album, which gained me a few internet fans, was recorded using the nice stuff that I bought in my early 20’s. Some of the best photos I’ve ever taken were with my nice DSLR camera, and the internet video that went viral in 2012 was taken with a nice DSLR video camera.


I’ve also taken iPhone videos that have been shared and have changed minds and elevated emotion. I’ve also watched iPhone videos that have had the same effect on me. Even the poor, grainy ones. I don’t think the Charlie Bit My Finger video that took the world by storm was taken on any fancy camera.

It was all about the content, in the first place, all along.

I’m convinced that had I shot my viral video on an iPhone instead of a Canon T2i, it would’ve been just as impactful. I recently recorded myself playing a song to my kid on my iPhone, which was shared and connected with many times. And that video is in low light and is quite grainy. It was the content.

And the content, of course, came out of years of knowing when and where to pull out my camera and capture interesting moments. Without this skill, one that I’ve cultivated since being a young child, the nicest camera in the world wouldn’t be as effective as someone who knows what they’re doing with a flip phone and a 1 megapixel lens.