In your bag No: 551, Lester Jones
Lester shares with us not only his bag, but the story behind his love for photography. Come and have a read about his journey and his gear.
My name is Lester Jones, I’m a photographer/videographer from the UK, now based in Sydney.
I’ve harboured a love for photography for many years, and in fact I can pinpoint the moment it all began, as during my time at art college as a teenager I stumbled upon a a book about Linda McCartney and Annie Leibowitz’s reportage work from the 60’s/70’s following bands around the world. Without sounding pretentious, the texture and tone of the film images offered a really romantic and ‘real’ quality to shots that captured intimate moments of some amazing people and situations, and although it would be a number of years before my own photography ‘hit the right note’ (pun intended) a seed was definitely planted from reading this book.
For years I worked (and continue to do so) as a Producer/Writer and Director in the TV industry and harboured photography as a mere hobby. My interest picked up over the years, and although I flirted with digital in the early 2000’s it didn’t click for me (that pun wasn’t intended – sorry), however when I picked up an old Minolta XG1 something worked and I spent many years capturing the world around me on 35mm. A defining moment was a holiday to China spent with the XG1 firmly in my grip 24/7. The constant shooting taught me a lot, and since then I haven’t really looked back.
As my confidence grew (and continues to grow) I constantly (try to) turn to the reportage influences of my heroes including McCartney, (early) Leibowitz, Cartier Bresson and Martin Parr with my aim being to offer a unique insight into moments, people and events around the world with a fresh perspective. However, as interest in my work grew I needed to dip my toes back into the murky world of digital due to the demands of clients.
My urban style project ‘I Dig Your Sole Man’ (www.idigyoursoleman.com) was launched in 2009 and has developed an ever growing global following in my examination of sneaker culture and street style in cities around the world through stills and video, a digital workflow has been necessary for this work.
However, despite this my personal work still allows me to experiment with film (www.lesterjonesphotography.com) and my Crumpler Sebang Outpost bag is always loaded with my beloved Contax G1 and rolls of Portra to keep me active.
As you can see from my pic my film fleet of cameras is modest. The G1 is my newest addition and I LOVE it. The picture quality is great, and although the auto focus is inferior to the G2, it’s still a cracking camera. Unfortunately the XG1 doesn’t work any more but I can’t bear to throw it away as it defined a turning point for me, and I also have a Ricoh 500 ME (which also doesn’t work anymore but I love the look of it). I plan to add more bodies to my armoury (and yes Bellamy, you are largely to blame thanks to this article increasing my wishlist; https://japancamerahunter.com/2013/05/premium-compact-cameras-a-buyers-guide/). Although not a compact a Leica M6 is at the top of my wishlist, as is a Contax T3 and Ricoh GR1s for those days when something smaller will do.
I won’t lie, I will continue to shoot digital but I will never stop shooting film too. I think shooting across both formats offers all round benefits to me as a shooter, and while digital is often more practical, film still offers a look and feel that is as relevant today as it was when the Stones and Beatles were breaking boundaries in the studio under the watchful eyes of Linda and Annie.
Personal site: www.lesterjonesphotography.com
I Dig Your Sole Man: www.idigyoursoleman.com
Thanks for sharing your bag and your lovely story with us. It is inspiring to hear how someone began, as everybody’s story is different, yet in some way the same.
Check out the links and make sure you come and comment.
Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Japancamerahunter.com. 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.
It’s interesting to hear your story as a person in the visual arts coming back to film for personal use. I really love this bag!
I can see why you fell in love with the XG-1. One of my all-time favourite cameras is my Minolta X700, contemporaneous to your XG-1. After years of faithful service, the shutter is going. I don’t think it’s a battery issue as the meter works fine. Luckily they are cheaper than a repair and I even have a spare. I have also been recommended the XD-11/XD-S, which offers faster X-Sync (not a big deal for me), and vertical travel shutter and shutter priority (a bigger deal). Probably these are the best film bodies that will mount Rokkor MC and MD lenses. I’m not keen on the SRT and X-1 series, as they are too bulky and less sophisticated. The cheap X-700 already has a phenomenal viewfinder with excellent clarity, magnification and coverage, as does the X-570/X-500 which some people prefer.
I have a 500ME (ME stands for multi-exposure) with the clockwork winder and flash. It’s not as sophisticated as some of the other RFs, but it is fun to use!
I lusted after a G1 for years, but the G2 blew it away. Then I fell out of love with motor winding. It was the Hexar RF that did this to me; if only they had made it slick and silent like the AF! As I learned to trust MF, the longing for a G2 subsided. It’s not gone, but dormant.
I’ve had some trying experiences with the T3. It’s tiny and a great performer, but noisy, delicate and expensive to repair.
The GR1s is not quite as sharp, but still a great 28mm. The form factor is truly excellent. I own all the GR series and all the R’s of the same form factor and and all the rebrands. I would recommend the GR1v as the DX override is important if you bulk-load or push.