Golfers have it easy. United States Golf Association (USGA) rules limit players
to one bag and 14 clubs. It's a different story when photographers pack
their gear, however. Photographers are limited only by how much they can lift.
Different equipment for different assignments, to be sure--but when we
started peeking into the bags that professionals carry, we learned more about
their personalities than their camera gear.
© 2004, John Isaac, All Rights Reserved
John Isaac's work as a photojournalist has taken him all over the world
and garnered numerous awards, including Photographer of the Year in 1993 from
the PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association, and a Lifetime
Achievement Award from the International Photographic Council. Best known, perhaps,
for his images of animals in the wild, as well as his touching photographs of
children in their challenging and sometimes threatening surroundings, Isaac
worked nearly 30 years in the Photo Unit at the United Nations (UN). Number
one item Isaac packs when he prepares his gear for a photo assignment?
"I have an iPod and a portable speaker system," he explained, "for
listening to music. Besides the normal photo equipment, I carry some of my favorite
DVDs and a short-wave radio."
It shouldn't come as a surprise that music-playing accessories are a high
priority. Isaac originally came to the US to pursue a career in music, and it
was his musical talent that helped launch his career at the UN.
© 2004, Jim Spruill, All Rights Reserved
"I landed at JFK airport in 1968 with about 75 cents in my pocket and
a guitar," he told us. He worked as a folk singer and street musician
until his voice attracted the attention of a UN employee.
"The UN needed a baritone in their choir. I was hired to work as a messenger
in the mailroom. I got my work visa, and was promoted a few months later."
A short time after that, Isaac was transferred to the Photo Unit.
Were his singing talents a fluke? No way. Isaac's vocal ability even caught
the attention of Ted Mack, and in 1970 he appeared on The Original Amateur Hour.
In 1978 Isaac won first prize in the photokina International Photo Contest held
in Cologne, Germany, and his career kicked into high gear. The UN sent him to
Lebanon to cover the military conflict--the first of many assignments that
placed him in harm's way. In 1998 he left the UN but still travels extensively.
Does he still sing?
"I do," he told us. "And I've started painting again."
Knowing Isaac, that means he'll soon be packing an extra gadget bag--one
to carry his easel and palette.
Photographer Michael Baz packs a full complement of camera equipment when on
assignment, but only a minimum amount of non-photo gear. Even so, he's
ready for just about any situation that may arise.
"Two big garbage bags," he told us, "for rain protection.
Those are very important."
© 2004, Michael Baz, All Rights Reserved
Baz's photographic specialty is professional tennis, and he has a long
list of accomplishments that go back to 1977. He's been the official photographer
for dozens of tennis events held in exciting venues that range from Bangkok
to Key Biscayne, and has an impressive collection of corporate clients including
Rolex USA, Nike USA, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and American Express. In addition,
he's the official photographer for the three major sports management companies
that represent tennis players worldwide: IMG, Octagon, and SFX Sports.
What other items will you find in his gadget bag?