I’ve received a few inquiries asking about the documentary footage of master street photographers I was referring to in my post on using the Fuji X-Pro1 for street work.
While I believe the best way to learn from the great photographers who practice street photography at the highest level, is to study their actual work – looking at their great photographs carefully and repeatedly – it’s also educational to see them while they’re working.
A perfect example of being inspired by watching others work is how that influenced Joel Meyerowitz. Watching Robert Frank at a photo shoot in the ’60’s drove Mr. Meyerowitz from his career path as an art director, into photography. A few years later, he also saw the great Cartier-Bresson at work, shooting the street.
Here are a few links to YouTube, starting with the great master, Henri Cartier-Bresson. This one is absolutely delightful to watch – HCB moves so lightly and unobtrusively on the street.
From 1981 to 2009, I used a Leica M rangefinder system continuously. As most practitioners of the art know, the Leica M, with its simple, optical view of the world, small size and ease of pre-setting controls, made it the supreme tool for street photography.
In the winter of 2014, I finally got around to looking at the Fuji X system. I was especially attracted to the X-Pro1 body. Its optical finder and interchangeable lens capability really brought me back to my old Leica M system, which I had become comfortable with, for nearly 30 years of daily use.
Fujifilm X-Pro 1 16MP Digital Camera with APS-C X-Trans CMOS Sensor (Body Only)
The Fuji X-Pro1 with the XF 18mm f2 lens – one the best set-ups I’ve found for street photography
To use a lens hood or not?
I’m a big advocate of using the factory hood, at all times. But there’s more than one way to protect your camera lens…or you can choose not to protect it at all. I’ve seen four distinct answers to this question –
- Always use the factory hood
- Forget about a hood and use a UV filter for front element protection
- Replace the factory hood if it’s too bulky with an aftermarket hood
- Don’t protect the lens at all: No hood, no UV filter
Zeiss Touit 32mm X mount with factory hood installed
Zeiss Touit 12mm X mount without factory hood
Bill Pierce, the famed, highly experienced photojournalist and Leica M photographer, has written of flying to the Eastern hemisphere from the US, and stopping in London on the way there. This made adjusting to the jet lag at the final destination a little bit easier. During his stopover, Mr. Pierce would drop by the Queen’s Fishery, to purchase a Brady fishing bag.
The Brady Gelderburn: designed initially as a Fishing bag
The Brady bag was a popular choice amongst world-travelling photojournalists at the time. This was before Billingham started making photo-specific bags in 1979. Brady fishing bags such as the Ariel Trout and Gelderburn were pressed into service as a long-lasting, tough bag that could take the abuse from photojournalists who travelled frequently into harrowing situations.
Yet the canvas was soft enough that it could conform and hug the photographer’s body. In addition, Brady’s Ariel Trout and Gelderburn bags have a form and shape similar to today’s popular messenger bags – wide and tall, but slim, front to back. Its lack of thickness made it easier to move around on crowded streets.
The Brady Gelderburn is a slim bag, easy to maneuver in crowds. Inside the main compartment when the photo was made, were 2 rangefinder form camera bodies & 5 lenses. The front pocket had a light meter
In addition to reading about Brady bags in Bill Pierce’s article, Over a decade ago, I also heard about it from Sal DiMarco Jr., an experienced Blackstar photojournalist and a regular contributor to TIME magazine. Mr. DiMarco was highly accomplished, and had multiple TIME front covers to his name.
This is the conclusion to the Billingham 335 review. I’ll cover how to choose between a Series 5 and 7 bag, some of the common concerns about the Series 5 design, and my conclusion and verdict on the 355.
Choosing between a Series 5 and Series 7 Billingham Bag
Billingham’s line-up of bags is usually in tight, focused categories. There’s usually no confusion when buying one type of Billingham over another.
- Street work with a small rangefinder or CSC system? Look at the Hadley’s.
- Smallest bag possible with one camera and perhaps an extra lens or two? L2.
- Minimal Leica M-specific bag? Billingham-made Leica M Combination bag.
- International travel with room for a pro laptop? Packington or Eventer.
For a full load of system cameras, there have been the Billingham Series 5 bags that have been around for decades.
Billingham 335 Camera Bag
Since 2009, another line-up from Billingham has been readily available, the Series 7. This one is an evolution of the no longer made Series 6.