In Your Bag
The contents of Taylor’s bag plus Leroy cat
Have you ever seen another photographer on an assignment and wondered what kind of heat they were packing? You haven’t? Well, too bad, because they want to tell you about it anyway.
Photojournalists love selfies, and they love talking about their gear, so it only makes sense that they would be all about making “In My Bag” blog posts, which is pretty much a selfie of your junk. What’s in your bag? Let me guess. A camera? Maybe some lenses? COLOR ME SURPRISED. Honestly, you are probably a nice person with good gear, but who gives two shits if we have the same lens?
Anywho, the writers at SPL have decided that since you guys apparently love this shit so much, that we’d clue you in on the mystical secrets of our own camera bags. Prepare to be thrilled.
My bag is an itty bitty Thinktank Urban Disguise 20 and it might as well belong to Mary fuckin’ Poppins because I’ve crammed as many items as possible into it. Inside you’ll find a 50mm f1.4, a 35mm f1.4, an 85mm f1.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8. The 70-200 is the red-headed stepchild of my lenses (apologies to all redheaded stepchildren), because it’s stupid and heavy. I like primes because I’m obviously really deep and artistic. Because I am a tortured artist, I have several 35mm film cameras that I like to swap in and out of my bag. One of them looks like a box of apple juice, which Eve bought for me because she’s an enabler.
You’ll also find several stray batteries, a green CF card wallet, a smeared reporters notebook, crumpled business cards and dollar bills from my ‘other’ job, plus lots of pens that are pretty much out of ink. I also like to keep tampons in the outer pocket so I can accidentally pull them out when I’m handing business cards to people.
I like to think of my camera bag as a time capsule. My own personal DSLR is a 5 year old Canon that soccer moms and I have gotten a lot of use out of. I’ve got a Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8, a Canon 50mm f/1.8, a Holga and Lomography ring flash for those unexpected hipster moments in life and an external flash with a shattered diffusor plate (from the time a few subjects and I tested the limits of our livers). Luckily, the miniature soft box I carry around acts as a diffusor just as well. I’ve got two notebooks, one for note-taking in the field and one for clarifying just how much I enjoy Star Wars.
Other crap in my bag includes pens, business cards, CF cards, an external hard drive, earplugs and a 3 month old issue of Esquire (no joke, I just never got around to reading it).
My camera bag tends to be a big klutz just like me, but it’s tough, so it gets by. I have a Retrospective 20 in army green, which makes me feel like a bad ass in a far away land when in actuality, I’m covering a high school volleyball game.
Inside you’ll often find too many lenses for my own good. My go-to lens is my 35mm 1.4, which is back in my hands after a brief vacation at my mentor’s house (apparently, I was using it too much). In addition, I have a 50mm 1.4, a 85mm 1.8, a 50 macro for beloved food assignments and a 70-200mm 2.8, for when I really want to show how much I’m packing. My Diana gets thrown into the mix every now and then, too. I also carry a flash, because sometimes, you just gotta have it. To accompany said flash, I have several dead batteries, which are obviously really handy.
You’ll find ink stains from exploded pens, business cards from assignments, crumpled notepads, and more lens caps then I have lenses. (I know, I know, I don’t know how that happened).
What’s in your bag? We really don’t care but you might as well tell us anyway.
I was recently informed by a fine art photography student that having expensive gear means that you’ve lost sight of the true “art” of photography. This managed to make me laugh condescendingly and get extremely pissed at the same time.
I’ve determined that when it comes to gear, there are three types of photojs (because lumping people into broad categories is fun). Let’s discuss, shall we?
1.The “Latest Thing” photojournalist
- If it was released within the last month, there’s a strong chance that this asshole has it. Who needs a 1D Mark IV, a 5d Mark II, AND a 7D? This guy.
- Having a conversation with this person is painful. Jargon, jargon, fps, jargon.
- Remember, there’s a chance that even though this photog is using a fucking D3bonermachine or whatever, their pictures will still be boring as hell.
2. The “It’s Not About the Equipment” photojournalist
- More likely than not, this photographer is very insecure about their equipment, and/or doesn’t know how to use it. Therefore, this person will categorize every person with technical knowledge or nice equipment a snob.
- Having a conversation with this person can also be painful. “What is this elusive ‘ISO’ of which you speak?”
- Don’t be shy. Own your camera in all its shitty glory.
- But you should prooobably upgrade soon. Best ways to make some fast cash: grand theft auto or hooking.*
3.The “Balanced” photojournalist
- You know that the gear doesn’t make the picture, but it certainly helps. As someone who upgraded from a Rebel XTi to a 5D Mark II, it comes down to a simple conclusion: some cameras can just handle more shit.
- And by shit, I mean shit. You’re still gonna make some god-awful photos with that mkii.
In summary: know your gear, love your gear, and don’t be a dick about it.
See this video for more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0la5DBtOVNI
*SPL in no way condones grand theft auto…
Editor’s note: ‘hooking’ is not in reference to fishing, which is what I thought. THE MORE YOU KNOW!