If you risk a glimpse into the photo bag of Thomas van Houtryve, you definitely need to brace yourself for a surprise. Based on the breathtaking shots that are generally known to be taken by National-Geographic-Photographers, you’d think that they carry lots of cameras, lenses and flash units with them, but this is not the case. The actual photo-equipment of van Houtryve doesn’t use up more than half of the available space in his bag. The rest is objects that give the NatGeo-series its name, so-called “Artifacts”.
Source: National Geographic
Van Houtryve‘s artifacts consist of a vaccination record, a booklet on security training for combat in hostile environments, a Khata (white silk scarf) from Nepal as lucky charm, a black leather passport cover, a Ghandi figurine from a French countrywoman that reminds him of his son, a Peruvian rag doll, flight safety brochures, a NatGeo press card and business card, a Mao Tse-tung lighter, wooden prayer beads, a silver bracelet from Nepal, a red-and-white beaded wristband from Cuba and two moleskin notebooks. One for interviews, one as personal diary.
The photo equipment consists of a Leica M with a 35mm lens, a Ricoh GXR with manuel 50mm Leica lens, a toy camera from Cuba and a Polaroid PoGo printer.
I think it’s impressive with how little equipment top photographers shoot ingenious photos. I wish I could do the same.