Encumbered

I feel like I am one of those people who are eternally condemned to be a carrier. You know, someone who never turns up without a bag, pockets bulging with ’essentials’, straps criss-crossed across my chest. I feel like a modern day mule, a camera coolie, a caddie to my own hysterical preparations.

Let me first specify that this is not a dig at my assisting work, which does indeed involve a lot of carrying and hauling of equipment. In fact that work is often a release; I´m on a job and all I need is a spare memory card for Øystein, maybe a mobile if I remember it. What I am preoccupied with is my inability to hit the shops, head downtown, take a beer, sit in a cinema stall, cycle to work or go to uni without looking like a postman at Christmas.

I am so jealous of those supercool dudes who seem wander about town unencumbered by the weight of life, wearing skinny jeans which don´t develop elephantitis balls around the pocket region. What do they do when they are waiting for a friend or stuck on a bus? If a wasted moment goes past for me, a second which I could better fill with reading or ‘getting something done’, I feel restless.

Of course there is one crucial modern development which chucks a an iSpanner in the workings of this theory – the smart phone. With this handy, (flat) pocket-sized item allows you to read and work at your leisure without backpack or satchel. But, as discussed on the Adam and Joe podcast last week, this invention is not without its perils and I don’t want to end up with my eyes plugged into my iLap during a conversation. (If you happen to be reading this blog on such a device, however, you are excused!).

Even with such a device I would still be a carrier. I just don’t see anyway around it? Today I have to go to the office and do some tax work, so I need my laptop and paperwork. I have a Norwegian course to attend so I need a text book, at the very least. And then I have a football match this evening. Unless I bring my kit with me I will have to come home before – and the one thing worst than being a carrier, is being a back-and-forwarder. I never want to be one of those. Worst thing of all is that us carriers also seem to be ‘forgetters’: I´ve got the kitchen sink in my manbag but left my mobile at home.

I think carrying is sort of in my blood. I remember my first week at secondary school when I packed all my books and all my gym kit for the whole term. It weighed a fucking ton, but I was convinced it would save me time and hassle in the long run. Maybe supercool dudes just don´t have anything to do? Hasn´t that always been the way. But I am not convinced, I think there is a middle road. Sleeker, slenderer bags, going-out-wallets, laissez-faire leave-behinds (“do I need my bike lights? Nah, it won´t be dark for hours”). I want my pockets to be for hands, my bags to be for holidays – I wanna do what I wanna do!

But let´s be honest, I´m a photographer born in the shadow on James Woods in Salvador, and I feel duty bound to carry everything in case of that apocalyptic event which occurs when the camera is at the studio. Anybody else ever have nightmares about tidal waves slitting you and loved ones? Yea, well it’s like that.

If someone wants to buy me an iLap devise I will of course rescind these views and jump on board… just as soon as I lug these bags across the platform.

The photo above was taken in Calcutta 2009.  Here are a few more of professional carriers, from the same city. India, the king of carry:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements