In your bag 734, Suraj Bhamra
Suraj is a returnee, and he brings us not a bag, but a jacket. Come and check out this very different ‘in your bag’.

Hey Bellamy, my name is Suraj and I’m a 24-year-old photographer from Detroit.  I was actually bag #205 and thought I would update you on how things have changed for me since then.

As you can see there isn’t much of a bag these days and I chalk that up to being ridiculously busy during the week (and the weekends for that matter).  When I’m not working at my day job as an engineer, I’m busy pursuing my PhD, which unfortunately leaves little time for dedicated photo walks.  Despite this, I never leave the house without a camera in my hands.

I am thankful to have found photography when I was 16 thanks to my mom.  One day while on summer vacation I was doing a whole lot of nothing when my mom stuffed her compact camera into my hands and told me to go shoot some photos for a local competition in the paper before pushing me out the door.  One thing led to another and next thing you knew I had a DSLR and a bad case of GAS.

Fast-forwarding a few years, I was out getting lunch with some friends when my mom called me to tell me she was at a yard sale talking to some lady who had camera gear for sale.  Thinking it was just some junk, I resisted going.  She finally dragged me there and I wound up finding the deal of a lifetime – a Nikon FM, Olympus 35RC, a slew of lenses, accessories, etc all for $50.  That day marked the start of my love affair with film.

As far as what’s in my “bag”, it’s fall over here and everything I need fits nicely in my jacket so my Domke F-5XB sits at home.  Starting from the top left pocket and going clockwise:

Pocket 1:  Rotring 800 mechanical pencil, Kershaw OD-2 pocketknife

I do a ton of writing every day and have a thing for precision mechanics.  The Rotring is hands down my favorite pencil I own.  It is always on me for all writing needs.  Also in this pocket is my Kershaw OD-1 pocketknife, which is great for the occasional stabbing (kidding).

Pocket 2:  Alpex self timer, generic cable release

Pretty self-explanatory really, I recently picked up the Alpex timer for a project I did that involved self-portraits.  It’s a great example of the type of precision mechanics I love.

Pocket 3:  Gossen Digipro F

Hands down the best light meter I have ever used.  It’s really accurate and most importantly it is really compact and lightweight which makes carrying it around a breeze.

Pocket 4:  Film

Velvia, Portra, Ektar, Tri-X, Acros, Pro400H, HP5+, whatever.  I don’t discriminate when it comes to film although I rarely shoot 35mm anymore.  I develop all my own color and black and white film.

Hands:  Cameras

Usually it’s a tossup between my Mamiya RZ67 or Hasselblad 501CM depending on how I feel that day.

I jumped into medium format with my Mamiya RZ67.  I really love this camera although it doesn’t get used too much right now mostly due to its size and weight.  But I must say the optics are phenomenal and the camera is a beast.  It’s a real treat to use because everything is so….mechanical.  From the advancing of the film to the thwack of the mirror, it’s a very cool experience.  The camera usually has the 110mm 2.8 on it (pictured) or a 50mm 4.5 ULD.  I also have a Polaroid back loaded with Fuji FP-100C and a slew of filters.

My parents got me the Hasselblad 501CM as a graduation present when I finished my masters and it honestly took me a while to warm up to it.  But this is the camera I bring with me most of the time now.  To me, the Mamiya has better optics but the Hasselblad spits out photos that are more artistic and dreamy.  Plus the 6×6 aspect ratio is a classic.  It has the A12 back, PM5 prism viewfinder, and 80mm 2.8 CB lens.  To top it off I put a Gordy’s strap on it.

Not pictured:

Can’t forget my Manfrotto 055XB tripod which has taken permanent residence in the trunk of my car :-)

Thanks for running this site, Bellamy.  I think it’s fair to say we all appreciate what you do.  I visit JCH everyday and always enjoy reading your articles.

See my work here:

Thanks for the cool shot and the kind words Suraj. Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
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. 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.