March 13, 2014 / For photographers
An old friend out of retirement; My Billingham Bag
As mentioned previously, I have an unhealthy addiction to stationery and camera bags.
I love to spend way too much buying the latest kit bag to accommodate my latest piece of equipment and therefore end up with loads of bags that hardly get used.
A looooong time ago I blogged about retiring my favourite camera case, a huge green Billigham bag. Although perfectly usable, it had seen better days. I wanted an excuse to buy another camera case and thought I’d put this case into retirement.
I purchased this camera bag almost 28 years ago with ALL the money I had saved from my partime jobs and has pretty much been by my side since then.
It was by my side when I was photographing the crowds of Cubans at Miami International Airport that were finally allowed to visit their family members in 1991 – it was one of the most emotional days of my life – to see so many people crying with hapiness still makes me glad I got to witness it.
It was my camera case when I plucked up the courage to join a cruise ship and become a cruise ship photographer when I was just a very shy 19 years old… in a ship that held over 2500 people, my Billingham was a touch of familiarity. It held ALL my equipment, and pictures from my family and friends.
It was by my side when we took our first trip to Miami with our 16 month old daughter. It served as the most perfect changing bag ever, doubled up as a huge beach bag and was the very first thing I swang at an alligator when I slipped down an embankment in Sanibel (seriously – it wasn’t a big alligator but it was still scary).
When I shot my first wedding (the second time round) I planed all my gear out and placed it into my roller cases. The morning of the wedding, I stripped all the equipment out and re-packed it all in my Billingham. I need the bag by my side that day of all days.
Ultimately, it’s been a chew toy for Elsa, for George and Mabel and it’s still the camera bag of choice for when I have an important assignment such as a wedding.
And where is it today? It’s currently in the Sahara dessert accompanying my beautiful wife on the trip of a lifetime, because there’s no other bag I would ever trust to lend to my wife on such an important trip.
Some equipment comes and goes, other equipment fails or gets replaced…very rarely do you use a piece of equipment that becomes so second nature to you that you can almost call upon it as you would a true friend. And that’s what a Billingham bag, purchased in a camera store in Cambirdge over 28 years ago has become.
So, I’ve removed my original blog post, because this piece of equipment never really retired. I’m going to continue to use it until I pass it on to Finley when she is old enough to allow it to be part of her life adventures.
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