The most common thing that I do is on-location people photography, so this is what my gear collection reflects. Aside from the camera, tripod, laptop and appleboxes pretty much everything else is there to serve the creation of artificial lighting. I’d be content to shoot most everything with available light but in most contexts the job either asks for a lit look, or the crap lighting of our location insists upon it.
When I first got professional assignments – photographing musicians in the late eighties – all I carried were a camera, with an extra lens, film, a tripod, a light meter, and an on-camera flash (which I would likely bounce off of a wall or ceiling). My kit grew slowly, and only by necessity. The first things I added were small and practical, like a trash bag for the debris from the film, an extra battery for the camera, or a pair of scissors.
About three years into my career I bought my first set of strobes, and then spent the next dozen years figuring out how to make them work properly, at least to my eye. Although not initially very technical minded I’ve come to enjoy the challenge of difficult lighting situations and making a shot look great.
I currently shoot with a Hasselblad H4X, with a Phase One P65 back (I own an 80mm f/2.8, and a 50mm f/3.5 for it). My strobe kit includes three Profoto 7A packs, with one head each; and one 7B pack and head.
A 30-year retrospective of my sittings with the famous has just been released and I’m super excited about it – UNEASY: Portraits 1986-2016 – is available online, please check it out.
A big thanks to my regular first assistant Michelle Watt for her obsessive and magical drawing of my equipment collection.
Inside Chris’s camera bag:
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