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Photographer Mark Mann makes a living as one of the most prolific portraitists of his generation; he has photographed celebrities and athletes for an endless list of publications and advertising clients. For Esquire’s 80th anniversary in 2013, he captured timeless images of some of America’s greatest male creative luminaries for the yearlong “The Life of Man” project.
While it might be hard to imagine, Mann didn’t carry his camera with him everyday until recently, when he picked up The Brixton leather messenger camera bag from ONA. Mann likes to be inconspicuous when he’s shooting outside the studio, but he finds that most sturdy camera bags are too bulky for everyday use.
Mann also likes its stylish look. “Most people don’t even know it’s a camera bag,” he says. “I take my camera with me all the time now, and that means that I take more photos.”
We asked Mann to empty the contents of his ONA bag to see what items he doesn’t leave the house without.
(1) Leica M 240: When Mann isn’t in the studio with his medium-format camera, he likes to be as subtle as possible. The Leica M 240 looks like a small film camera to the untrained eye, which, Mann says, allows him more access than other full-frame digital camera. It doesn’t hurt that the image quality, according to Mann, is “unbeatable.”
(2) Leica 35mm F/2.0 Summicron M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens: The first lens in Mann’s bag is “a classic Leica lens that produces Leica’s iconic reportage photography,” says Mann. “I love it because you can see a lot in the frame, but it never forces objects to be too wide.”
(3) Leica Normal 50mm f/1.4 Summilux M Aspherical Manual Focus Lens: This lens, Mann says, “is the absolute standard for 35mm cameras. I use it when I when I want to take a photo that has a nice look without any distortion.”
(4) Leica Telephoto 75mm f/2.0 APO Summicron M Aspherical Manual Focus: “I use the 75mm when I want to get close” says Mann. “It’s a perfect lens for portraits.”
(5) 2TB Glyph Studio Mini Hard Drive: Mann backs up all his data religiously to three separate locations. Not a risk-taker when it comes to his files, he carries a backup for his current hard drive in his ONA at all times.
(6) iPad: “I like to always keep it on me in case I want to do some reading or need a moment to recharge my batteries,” Mann says.
(7) Backup Battery Charger for iPhone/iPad: “I always have to have extra juice with me.”
(8) Lens Cleaning Kit: “I’m absolutely terrible about cleaning my lens,” confesses Mann, who says he finally decided to stop using his t-shirts and get a professional kit for his valuable gear.
(9) License Plate for his Vespa Gran Turismo 250 Motorcycle: “[The Vespa] looks like it’s been through a war and back,” says Mann. Even so, he takes off the license plate whenever he parks, so that it won’t be stolen.
(10) Also pictured: Bluetooth headphones, Go Pro Hero3+ (Mann documents sunrise and sunset time lapses while traveling) keys, Leica electric rangefinder, Leica battery charger, business card holder and a pair of Groucho Marx glasses (Mann jokes, “for disguise.”)
For more on the ONA Brixton, visit the website.