In your bag No: 1204 – Mike Murrow


by Bellamy /

3 min read
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In your bag No: 1204, Mike Murrow
Today we have something special. This could well be one of my favourite bag posts ever! This shows a dedication to the craft, even whilst doing a demanding job, and adapting to the situation. And it has a monkey wrench in it too. This is awesome! Check it out.
My name is Mike Murrow.

I’m a plumber by trade. As a plumber I get to see all different parts of our little town and county and meet lots of interesting people. When I’m not working I try to get out as often as I can to work on a couple of long term photography projects. But 60 – 80 hours of my week are spent on the job, so I keep a little Olympus XA and a couple of rolls of film in my truck just in case I see something that I want to take pictures of. So what you see here is my “bag” I have with me at work. It consists of my hand tools and my XA and some film that I rolled myself.

I only shoot with film, and most of that is black and white, with the exception of my latest project titled “#work” which is just that, images from work shot on my cell phone. Shooting film for me is about the process. Its a very tangible, hands on experience, just like plumbing. I roll my own film mostly, I do my own developing in my garage. Just like plumbing, photography is both an art and a craft for me. I’ve recently begun doing semi-stand development with a little formula I came up with after lots of trial and error.

Most of what I do as a plumber will never be seen by anyone. Its hidden in walls, buried in the ground, or under a home. Yet, as an tradesmen I still take pride in my work. Its enough for me to know that my work looks good. Its the same with my photography. Sure, its nice when someone mentions how they like my work, but I don’t do it for them. I take pictures because, like plumbing, its something that should be done. Just as civilization needs the water to run, and the gas to flow, and their furnaces to work, the civilization needs to have a mirror held up to it and have its image reflected back to it.

I use an XA because they are relatively cheap. The lens is phenomenal. Its really an ideal “street” shooter because it is compact, fast, and quiet. The only downside is I prefer to rate my film at 1600 and the XA only lets you go up to 800.

I currently have three projects, “Dirt Mall” which is about our local flea market, “Surf City” which is a collection of images in our little beach town, and “#work” shot on my cell phone.

You can find my Tumblr here:
My “portfolio” is here:

Thanks for sharing your bag (or perhaps toolbox) with us, Mike. It is cool to see someone really always ready to shoot, no matter what.
Check out the links and please make sure you 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. Optimum size is 1500 across. Please ensure there is a bag in the shot, unless you don’t use one. The more you can write about yourself the better, make it appealing and tell us a story.

Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here. Please understand that there is a long wait now as there is a backlog of submissions. Not all make the cut, so make sure yours is funny/interesting/quirky. And please make sure the shot is of good quality, as the ones that are not do not go up.


5 comments on “In your bag No: 1204 – Mike Murrow”

    Tina Kino June 12, 2015 at 2:58 pm / Reply

    thanks for sharing – that was a good read, and I also enjoy the pictures on your blog.
    Saw you’re looking for CineStill film.. well I gathered you’re in the US, so shipping might not be cheap, but this store here in Berlin has loads in stock:
    Cheers, and keep upt the good work!

    Paul Schofield June 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm / Reply

    Great read and love the work. Like the idea that photography is necessary for civilisation – dead right

    Richard Davies June 12, 2015 at 3:12 pm / Reply

    Very inspiring post actually.

    I’m often a bit dispirited about how much my work gets in the way of taking pictures but I certainly don’t work 80 hours a day! I guess it shows that one should try to fit projects in around things. At the moment I am working on my local train station so that fits well around work quite well.

    All power to your arm (and plunger).

    Dan Castelli June 12, 2015 at 7:12 pm / Reply

    Hi Mike,

    Your post hit close to home. My older brother is a retired pipefitter. He carried a Rollei 35, wrapped in an old sweatshirt remnant to take pics on the jobs he worked on.

    I just got the latest catalog from Freestyle Photo. They are advertising Cinestill 800 speed film.

    I agree with you about shooting film – it’s as much about the art/craft as the process. I’m a retired shop teacher, and teaching the trades is all about craft & process. I too, have a darkroom in my basement.

    I like your work, nice stuff. Continued good shooting!

    Mike Murrow July 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm / Reply

    wow. I didn’t know this got posted. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the positive feedback on my work.

    And thank you for the kind words on the post. Your encouragement is very much appreciated.

    If you are ever in Santa Cruz lets go shoot!

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