For as long as I can remember I’ve lived by the motto, “A camera is just an expensive paper weight if you don’t use it”. For years, I only owned two cameras that I used diligently. As life progressed, my creativity expanded beyond the realm of two cameras. The same way you need tools to build a house, you need creative tools to create the things you dream of. I used to think, “Why would anyone buy an expensive camera?” “Why would I need gear?” “Why not make due with what you have?” Truth is, you don’t really need expensive equipment or the extra camera. You don’t have to shoot film. Most people can get by with a semi-cheap camera. But I felt that in order to push myself creatively, I was ready for the next level. This journey began while using an old Canon AE-1 which I took with me to London during a gallery trip, I loved it small and easy to take anywhere this started me back into film where I had began years before my first camera was a cheap film camera that had a crack in the lens but it took wonderful photo’s, sadly when I started out I could not afford film so I would shoot only 3 photos per shoot and after 10 shoots I would develop the film, but as time goes on you get away from that you get used to digital you get comfortable and comfort can be a terrible thing. So completely randomly and for no real reason A few years back, I started shooting a project with a Leica R8 (an old film camera that was given to me as a gift).
This camera was unlike any camera I had ever used and required patience. All of this was quickly forgotten when I saw the results of the photos. This was truly different and unique to anything I had ever produced. It took me back to when I would wait a month or two to see one roll of film and I liked it I enjoyed the waiting.
Since then, as I was working on a new series I was fortunate enough to be given a Hasselblad H system. For those who don’t know the Hasselblad, it’s a big, heavy camera. It’s slow and much different than any camera I had ever used before. This is a camera I never thought I would buy. But after shooting with the Hasselblad once, I was hooked. It was the exact tool I never knew I needed. This camera not only changed the way I had to shoot, it changed me. It changed my idea of possibility. It forced me to have patience and that was the best thing that ever happened to me. From there I started playing with 4×5 and shooting old medium format Hasselblad film cameras. I got an old Toyo 4×5 and started experimenting with borrowed film cameras from friends, I was curious I wanted to try as many different camera’s as I could the idea that there was a perfect combination out there for me was exciting!
I know a lot of people say they would never buy an expensive camera. Do you need one? No. But experimenting with different cameras could change the way you view the world. That is something you can’t put a price on. Photography is not about convenience. Photography is about taking time to capture something no one else in the world can capture. It’s about going that extra mile. It’s about creating or capturing a moment in time and making it last forever. All that being said, next time you go shoot something make it precious. Challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to push your own boundaries. If you do that, I promise you this right now, you will be glad you did.
A love letter to the camera’s I have worked with, below I have posted some behind the scenes photos from some of my recent shoots.