In your bag No: 1568 – Mo Liu
Mo pivoted to street photography and this is all he needs when he hits the streets.
I name is Mo Liu, a Chinese student currently studying in England. The contents in my bag are boringly simple, unlike my photography career.
My photography experience dates all the way back to my primary school stage as I was looking for cameras to take pictures of the Milky Way. As everyone knows, DSLRs back in the very beginning to the century were big, bulky and extremely expensive, not to mention their hideous noise performance (I have seen people using fans to cool the camera down as a long exposure was commencing). Therefore, the choose of camera was very clear—-an old film camera.
This choice, made purely due the circumstances, has been stuck to me even when I was taking a serious course of photography. At that time, I was using my old Nikkormat with a hazy 50/1.4 when everyone else was showing off their Nikon D700 or Canon 5D II. Of course I thought about switching to digital as well, but didn’t have enough money, nor did I have the appreciation of all the buttons and dials on those camera bodies.
My mentor taught me a lot of darkroom techniques during that time. In fact, I was the only student who may ever need them. I couldn’t help but felt a bit sentimental as he told me that the darkroom would be demolished soon since he had no need for it anymore. There was nothing I could do when old technologies got pushed off the cliff by the new ones. My mentor decided to move on while I insisted in staying.
I spent many years and a lot of effort trying to prove the superiority of films. I would use some old formula to make developers that produce the finest grain on my medium or large format negatives in order to compete with digital cameras in terms of resolution. I felt great to win arguments but the feeling of emptiness devoured me when I looked at by prints. They are correctly exposed, full of tones and details but the contents were as boring as an egg or some flowers. Is that what I want from photography? I needed to answer that question myself.
So I did. I threw out all the “arty” negatives I took, sold the gears, bought these three cameras and started my adventure of street photography: Nikon F with 55 1.2 for general purpose, a Sigma dp1Q for landscapes and a Rollei 35S in case I need to get up close and personal. I don’t like to put anything else in my bag, not even an extra roll of film or memory cards because I want to remind myself that sometimes I only have what I have, whether I use all the frames on one scene or none at all is completely up to me.
All three of these cameras are not perfect, the Nikon is as heavy as a hammer, the Sigma is as slow as my grandma and the Rollei doesn’t even focus. So what? I myself have a lot of quirks too. As long as we cooperate well, I am a happy photographer.
Thanks for sending us your bag shot Mo. Good philosophy to live to.
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