Magnum Opus: Filson Builds the Perfect Camera Bag

Jun 18, 2014

The Filson Original Sportsman has been popular with photographers for years. It doesn’t scream “steal me now,” has all the right pockets, zips open at the top for easy access, and looks better the more beaten-to-hell it gets. The only drawback is that it needs to be customized to protect your gear. Typically, this involves foam inserts bootlegged from other camera bags, and who’s got time for that? It also weighs as much as a pack mule, even when it’s empty.

Leave it to Seattle’s finest to solve both of these problems in a single collaboration with Magnum Photos, the legendary cooperative founded by combat photographers Robert Capa, David “Chim” Seymour, George Rodger, and Henri Cartier-Bresson, in 1947.

This spring, Filson is debuting a four-piece collection of lightweight, photo-friendly bags inspired by two of the agency’s most illustrious living lensmen: Steve McCurry and David Alan Harvey.

McCurry’s been shot at, shanghaied, beaten up, and bloodied on assignment more times than he would care to discuss. He was one of the first photojournalists to embed with the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 197os, and has spent the decades since making images in some of the world’s most perilous places. In the trade, he’s what’s known as a “troubleshooter.” Filson worked closely with him to develop the McCurry Tote and McCurry Sportsman Bag, “ideal for traveling by plane or scouting on foot.”

McCurry’s co-pilot on this assignment, David Alan Harvey, tends to stick to the urban jungle. In addition to his groundbreaking work for National Geographic, he edits, an online journal for emerging photographers. Among the most well-traveled photographers working today, he’s an expert at packing light, and made sure Filson’s Harvey Messenger and Backpack were made to his exacting specs.

Isn’t it great when your friends click?

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