I have shot with Minolta Alpha 9 (my first "pro" 35mm camera), Nikon FE2, Fujifilm 6x4.5 rangefinder, Rolliflex twin lens 6x6, Mamiya RZ67 ProII and of course my work horses Canon 1V & 1N back in the days. I still have the Mamiya RZ67 and one body of the 1V but seldom take them out, my white elephants in a sense. On the digital front I shoot mainly with Canon gear, the 5D has proved themselves in all weather and climates around the world. Desert, Frozen high altitude, humid jungles, acid rain (yes!), local Hard Core and Metal gigs in the midst of stage-dives and mosh-pits. They've been banged around on all possible and impossible modes of transportation and seldom broken beyond some light repair. From one thing to another, felt I lost something a couple of years ago, the industry took a huge bite out of my "vision" and "sense" of what I thought I had a strong grip on. I lost the pure will and joy to explore and seek out images on a daily basis. Maybe it was just a phase one goes through, I don't have any peers really to consult so I don't know what is the norm for a working freelance "street" photographer. I learned lots form shooting assignments in studio and location, dealing with people in the industry etc, but the pleasure of exploring and stumble upon something by chance was taken out of the equation obviously. Have been working on a new kind of "life project" the last 3 years, a project that relates to photography completely, though even hard to understand when explained, but/and the aim is to be able to change my way of getting what I want out of it all. Life is short and easily spoilt. To grow out of that little bubble the photography industry has landed me in I have to move forward. A dream for many to be able to live on what they love, and here I am moving away from that life into the next phase. Money, exposure or fame in a sense had to be taken out and erased on the agenda to reach a higher rung on the ladder of what for me is a passion and lifestyle with photography. It's too valuable and important to just let it be a "job". Money can be had elsewhere. So even if it will be a lifelong project it will without doubt make me a better and more focused photographer in the long run. I still say I am a photographer when people here ask me what I do, hey, just shot a fashion thing for a outdoor lifestyle magazine and my Malaysian Georgetown photo essay will be out in an Inflight magazine in June. Life goes on and take turns in directions you can either choose to follow or just keep at it in the same old rut. Whatever makes you a happy person works, try being creative and hungry while unhappy and you know what I mean.
Never actually been really into the camera as a mechanical gadget in itself. I always focused on the image at first. Thing is that with better gear you are gaining the freedom to relax and can trust the image will be what you set out for it to be. A clean, high spec lens will be able to support the image for the better. A pro built camera house can take lots of abuse and mistreat without breaking or quitting on you, all good stuff. Then you have Hasselblad. This is a camera I have always wanted (even I didn't know I wanted it…) since I understood photography and what makes it all possible. The beauty with a simple but sophisticated piece of engineering like the handmade Hassleblads lays in the raw simplicity. Its a lens (by Carl Zeiss, made in "West Germany"!), a body with a view finder and a filmholder back. The shutter is in the lens so the rest of the camera is in general just a box that holds a roll of film. But of course, it's so much more than that for the trained eye. This is a marvel piece of timelessness, an mechanical engineering masterpiece. No electricity involved except the battery in the handheld Minolta light meter I use for reading the EV level and light. Finally it was my time to get one and it took me over 20 years before that moment was the right moment. With a rather steep price tag even for a 23 year old model (503CX) I got it was a bargain in all senses…priceless in a sense.
Victor Hasselblad, respect!