In your bag 413, Jaakko Saari
Another bag from Japan? Yeah, we have had a few lately and this one is great. Let’s see what a social documentarian keeps in their bag.

I’m a Finnish photographer living in Yokohama. I am big fan of your blog!
I would like to make my submission “in my bag”.

First, a little about myself.
I am a documentarist. I like making interviews of people and taking their pictures.I used to record radio documentaries in Finland, so my background is actually in documentary work.

In my personal bag (non DSLR bag) I like to keep things as simple as possible.

My main tool is Cosina Voigtlander Bessa R3m and Nokton 40mm 1.4 lens. I love this camera since I’m big fan of rangefinders. I couldn’t afford Leica, so this was a kind of compromise for me, I’m big fan of Leica M6 and that’s why I chose the full manual version of this camera. I find Nokton to be very useful, the 40mm focal length of the lens feels just right for me. Often when shooting people 35mm feels too wide, and you wish you had something to get just a bit closer. If I’m shooting people I usually shoot with Portra 400.
Only complaint I have about Bessa is the shutter sound which is indeed a bit loud.

As my secondary camera I carry my beloved X100; I love Velvia film mode in it. If situation requires (Bessa being too loud) I can shoot silently with this camera. And then I have a small external flash for this, and spare battery. Although nowadays I don’t like to shoot digital very much, I have to say there is something special in the images taken with X100. They feel somehow natural.

Since I’m documentarist, I always like to have my Zoom recorder with me. This baby shoots also HD video and I have found this to be very powerful tool; the audio quality is just brilliant and I can use this to capture ambiences, nature sounds, interviews and my own speech as well.

I also have my press pass from NYIP school with me at all times (I’m currently enrolled in their Professional Photography Course, loving it!).

Then, I always keep my sketchbook with me, and I cut and paste images from my contact sheets to this sketchbook and arrange them to different sequences. It’s great to carry it with me and write and write; I have noticed how important taking notes is for me personally. I don’t like to show my notes to anyone else, and if I could, I’d like to have big lock in this notebook. It’s my private realm now, but I guess one day I might not mind if someone else opens it..

And then, microfiber lens cleaning cloth from Yodobashi, sure, so I don’t have to wipe the lens with my mittens.

The bag itself is Billingham Hadley Small which I bought new last summer. I tore off the logo since I don’t like logos. I’m yet to find something interesting to paste in the place where the logo used to be. This bag feels just right and also is spacey enough to carry my iPad. This bag seems very water resistant. I have been to pouring rain in summer with this bag (without umbrella) and everything inside was kept totally dry. I also like this one because it doesn’t generally look like a camera bag. I really recommend getting a good camera bag, it can make such a huge difference in your daily life I am actually kind of attached to this bag, since I’ve already been to many places with it.

I would like to simplify the contents of my bag further, maybe leaving out the X100 entirely and replace it with a film camera of another sort, perhaps Leica M6.
But for now, this is my personal in the field toolset. Kind of simple, isn’t it?

My personal photography blog is at:
(my grandma’s photos in the front page!)


And my vimeo stuff is here:

I wish you happy holidays and excellent New Year! Keep up the great work!


Thanks for sharing your bag with us Jaakko, it is great to see what another foreigner is shooting in Japan.
Check out the links and come and comment.

Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Send me a hi resolution image of the bag (please make sure it is horizontal) and its contents, with some details about yourself and what you shoot. Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here.