IN YOUR BAG: 1721 – Timothy Johnson
I started shooting film in 2015, as a way to document the underground culture outside my bedroom. I was living in a spooky house out in the country that hosted a never ending series of punk, hardcore and noise shows- so many that they really started to run together. Photographing these shows became my way of keeping everything straight when memory failed.
I had studied journalism in college prior, and had access to the most sophisticated digital cameras available at the time. The first shows I ever photographed were on these DSLR’s, but I hated feeling like such a magnet for attention with a big camera body hanging around my neck, and I feared getting close to the action being liable for such an expensive object. My interest in film really started because the cameras were so cheap (losing a yashica FX3 to a spinkick is not a financial disaster) and so small (I could stuff this first SLR with a pancake lens into my hoodie!)
What I came to love about shooting, and later processing, these shows on film, is how raw and dirty you could make everything look, a feeling that I felt more accurately captured the mood of these events. As I moved away from shooting concerts, it’s that feeling that I’ve tried to push further and further in my work.
Here are some of the cameras I’ve used the most in my work:
Canon P: This is the camera I’ve used for most of my shots for the past four years. Prior to it, I had owned a Voigtlander Bessa L, which had me obsessed with not only the fine Voigtlander lens lines but also the cheap, quirky and interesting vintage LTM lenses. But I missed having a proper viewfinder with a matched rangefinder, and while on a very beautiful hike in Alaska I had some shutter malfunctions happen with the Bessa.
I landed on the Canon for the lens compatibility, the price point, the modern and inconspicuous design and its reliability. In the time I’ve owned it, I’ve put it through the wringer and only needed to bring it in for an adjustment once. It has everything I need, nothing I don’t and I love the weight in the hand. The giant 1:1 viewfinder is a joy to compose and shoot through. The strap for this camera came off a busted horseman 4×5 SLR, which I shortened for where I like my camera to sit.
For lenses, I mostly use the very excellent and extremely compact Voigtlander color skopar 35mm. To fill the other available framelines on this camera, I have the brand accurate canon 100mm serenar, and a jupiter-8 50mm. I would have preferred to keep the canon 50mm, but my one vanity in this world is black barrelled lenses.
Olympus XA3: The XA series is my desert island camera. I’ve owned 4 of them, and every model except for the XA4. This is the camera I bring everywhere with me in my pants pocket, and has allowed me to capture so many moments I wouldn’t have otherwise. I started with the original XA, but found that for most purposes I was pretty much always using the hyperfocal settings, so when the winding gear broke I landed on an XA2 and so on. I bought this XA3 for a hundred dollars, completely CLA’d from zacks camera repair in Providence, and it’s lasted me much longer than previous ones. I’d pay serious amounts of money for Olympus to reboot this incredible line of design and deliver me an indestructible all metal XA5.
Moskva 5: I have this bad relationship with medium format cameras where, when I move or times get tough they’re the first thing to go. I’ve previously owned a bronica, and four different yashica TLR’s that have all gone straight back to craigslist months into ownership when a car repair came due or a big bill landed on my doorstep. The other thing that never left me attached to those cameras was just the bulk and the handling. I picked up this moskva specifically to make contact prints from the big 6×9 negatives, but I’ve enjoyed it so far because it handles more or less like a normal camera and when collapsed doesn’t take up much more room than my Canon does.
For film, I try to use a different stock in each camera. I bulk load foma 400 in the XA3 and Tri-X in the canon P, in the moskva I’ve settled on Ilford Delta 100. The bag I carry it all in is a 1733 side pack, an expensive purchase for me, but a bag I use everyday. It’s light and comfortable, has a wonderful design, quite weatherproof and can fit a shocking amount of crap within it. An excellent companion for both carrying my lunch to work as well as every camera and lens I own.
Keep them coming folks, we need more submissions, so get your bag on Japancamerahunter.com
Send me a high resolution image of the bag. Optimum size is 1500px 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. Snapshots of your gear with a camera phone and no words will not be featured.
Oh and don’t forget your contact details (twitter, flickr, tumbler et al). Send the bag shots here. Not all make the cut, so make sure yours is funny/interesting/quirky. And please make sure the shot is of good quality, you are a photographer after all.