In your bag No: 1643 – Pete Duval
Pete finds empathy in street photography and these are the precious tools he carries to get out of his comfort zone.
So last June I took my X-Pro1 swimming. Ill-advised. But the surface of the ocean looked so wine-dark, textured, and amazing, I couldn’t resist wading into the surf off Bean Point, where the currents get all confused and interesting. In the turbulence, the camera got splashed, continued to function for a few moments, then died a weird death. It took me a while to get over the loss. So in love was I with the X-Pro1 that I’d sit and hold its lifeless body late into the night.
Once, I even stripped off the faux leather and pried it open up to see if I could scrape any salt corrosion off the blah, blah, blah. No go. It didn’t work. Then, during Holy Week this year, on one of those long evenings of camera fondling, I popped a battery in, just for giggles, again, because, hey, you never know, and—what? It came alive. Tears of joy. My baby was back. In meantime, I’d picked up the x70 as my digital street camera. It’s a nice little honey, kind of similar to my late Ricoh GR, but nothing like the X-Pro1.
I like the Fuji lenses (in addition to the 27mm I have the 18-55mm, which I love), but for street I’m looking for something with a little more soul. Enter the Contax G 28mm. What a lens. I zoned it out, locked the adaptor’s funky focusing mechanism in place with black tape–love the results. (Instagram: @cormacblue)
On my walks around Philadelphia, I also carry the Sony in case I pass the Kater Street garden between 17th and 18th. Tended by some mysterious former teacher, it’s a profusion of blooming and gorgeous decay. When I shoot there with the Nikon 60mm macro, the results are dreamy/creamy.
Philadelphia is an interesting place to live and shoot. It’s not like New York, where no one seems to give a crap if you point a camera at them. Here, they kind of do care, they notice, which makes shooting street interesting and challenging. Philadelphia’s gritty (though that’s changing), loud, crass, and wonderful. The night the Eagles won the Superbowl, my neighborhood seemed, by some intangible causality, to intuit that I was a Patriots fan (former fan, actually), and a crowd gathered in the street beneath my window to dance and chant, “F*ck Tom Brady! F*ck Tom Brady!” That’s the music I fell asleep to. God bless ‘em. I guess I’m a Philly guy now.
Finally, what I most like about street photography is that it’s so counter to my nature. I’m not one to wade into crowds. I’m an Enneagram 5, quite content to retreat into isolated splendor to read, study, write. I’m a fiction writer by training; I teach at West Chester University and in the MFA program at Spalding University in Louisville. Street photography has forced me out into the flow, into the sad, tragic, exhilarating parade. It has taught me to see and has given me, I think, a deeper sense of empathy.
- Fuji X-Pro1
- Fuji x70
- Sony a6000
- Olympus Stylus Epic (I go through phases: when I’m back into film, this is the camera I love. My best friend gave it to me about 15 years ago, before I even know what it was. Thank you, John.)
- Contax G 28mm f/2.8
- Nikon 60mm AF-D Micro
- Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8
- Peak Design Everyday Messenger (super boujee, to be sure, but I love it)
- Gossen Digisix Light Meter
- De Profundis (Oscar Wilde)
- Leuchtturm 1917 notebook for ongoing mock-up of future photo/poetry monograph.
Thanks for sending us your bag shot Pete. I can relate to being an Enneagram 5 and using photography to “get out” more.
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