In The Bag with Photographer David Burnett

In The Bag with Photographer David Burnett

David Burnett, a Washington DC-based photojournalism legend, has been a photo hero of mine since college. Back in my college days, he was always doing something different than everyone else. He was always trying something new, and I was a photojournalism student at Ohio University, and a proud Burnett fan.

A lot has changed since those early days of the late ’80s and early ’90s. But thankfully, Burnett hasn’t – he’s still innovating, still experimenting. Still pushing himself to go beyond the typical, the obvious, the routine.

In this really cool installment of “In The Bag,” I had the privilege of interviewing David Burnett, which gave me the perfect excuse to go looking through his bag. There should be no surprise that its loaded up with gear that helps to keep his creative energies flowing, his options open, and his innovation as impressive today as it was in my college days.


In this video, Burnett was packing 2 Canon EOS 5Dcameras. (That’s of the non-Mark II variety, in case you were wondering.).

Some of the items featured in the video include:

Holga 120N camera

Think Tank Photo “Airport Security” bag

Pacemaker Speed Graphic camera (old school!!)

Kodak Aero-Ektar lens (1943)

Cambo Reflex Viewing Hood

Canon EOS-5D

Canon EF 85mm f/f.12 II USM AutoFocus Lens

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Autofocus Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens

Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 Tilt Shift Lens


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There are 24 comments for this article
  1. Maddog at 11:13 am

    I had the pleasure to work with David many years ago on a Kodak shoot in Miami. Working out in the hot Florida sun, David was nice enough to purchase everyone on the crew fishing caps. It was a baseball cap with a bill that was 12″ long. During the shoot I saw something that I needed to point out to David. As a crew member I wanted to keep it from the Art Director. So as David was shooting I leaned over to whisper in David’s ear. However I had forgotten that I was wearing a cap that was 10 miles long. David turned to see what I was pointing out and BANG! I poked him right in his camera eye. I was so embarrassed and totally freaking out. OMG I’ve ended the career of a prize winning photographer. The good news is it was not as bad as it seemed and the shoot went on without a hitch. I still have that hat!

  2. Don at 2:49 pm

    I love to see a Holga come out of a famous photographer’s bag! 🙂 Wonderful interview packed with interesting and useful information. Thank you so much.

  3. Benn Brown at 2:17 am

    What an amazing photographer!! I was lucky enough to hear a talk by David in Adelaide late last year at the Nikon Event. It was one of the most powerful talks I had ever heard. If you ever get the chance to see him make sure you do it!!

  4. Pingback: My Day With David « JerseyStyle Photography
  5. Pingback: Großformat im Fotojournalismus. David Burnett. |
  6. Pingback: David Burnett – Tales of a Photojournolist – 29th May | 1140 Studio Gallery | Free entry » Australian Institute of Professional Photography
  7. Nilson Bazana at 6:32 am

    Though late to the party, I second what Thomas Brown said: it makes you want to rush out your place and, most importantly, try things out!

    “It’s fun when experiments work. They don’t always work out, but that’s why they’re experiments.” It makes me so glad to hear that and learn two lessons in one for starters:

    1 – Don’t be a scaredy cat of trying out-of-the-ordinary things. Shoot!

    2 – Getting older does mean getting wiser as long as you keep your cool; you’re still the same modest, down-to-earth person you were when younger; and keep the sparkle for trying things out alive.

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