Story and Photography by Ethan Meleg
I generally cannot resist poking fun at people who are collectors of sorts, whether it’s shoes or purses, ball caps or beer mugs. Some people can’t resist the allure of miniature porcelain figurines of cats or ducks or whatever. I mean, what a ridiculous thing to do. Hoarders!
Then one day I took a good hard look around my place and realized I’d better stop mocking others. Why? Because I discovered I may have a slightly, generally healthy and not totally crazy obsession with camera packs. There, I said it. I feel better already.
OK, so I have an absolute mother-load of camera packs. As I sit here writing this, there are a half dozen within reach. It gets worse! My downstairs closets are so full of camera packs that the doors don’t close properly. The packs, an array of sizes, colours and shapes, are stashed inside each other for maximum storage efficiency — the camera gear equivalent of a Turducken. And then there’s the garage; it’s basically a graveyard for camera packs. The back wall is lined with large plastic bins, their sole purpose to store camera packs that I have every intention of using again at some point in the future, but almost certainly never will.
Oh, it’s so easy to justify buying another camera pack. Each one serves a specific purpose. I have a pack that holds nearly every piece of camera gear I own and still fits in the overhead bin on airplanes. Another is super comfortable for long hikes. One fits perfectly between the seats of my car. A really long one holds my super-telephoto lens with a camera body on it, ready to shoot. Another fits around my waist very nicely and makes me look significantly skinnier and therefore much more attractive. One is a vibrant blue colour that accentuates my eyes, also making me more attractive. And another one just has a really cool zipper. I love them all for different reasons.
The funny thing about camera packs is that they’re just like T-shirts; it doesn’t matter how many you have, you always pick the favourite. Despite having dozens of camera packs, I only ever use three of them. But those three are like best friends. They’ve been around the world with me, always at my side when I shoot my best photos. They have the right lens when I need it, or an extra memory card when I’m blasting away, hoping to bag the next OPC magazine cover!
So now that I’m out of the closet about Obsessive Camera-Pack Dissorder, maybe it’s time to purge a few of them? No way! Instead of worrying about it, I think I’ll just console myself by going out shopping for a new camera pack or two!