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  • Where ONA Goes: Vietnam with Franz Navarrete

    Each ONA bag is named after a place that founder Tracy Foster has traveled, all the way from Camps Bay in South Africa (where she came up with the idea for ONA) to her favorite neighborhoods in New York, like Brooklyn and Chelsea. The entire ONA team loves to travel, and we adore living vicariously through our customers who take ONA bags to new and beautiful places.Franz Navarrete x ONA Camps Bay x Vietnam

    Franz wears The Camps Bay in Field Tan.

    Franz Navarrete is a Singapore-based lifestyle photographer with an undying passion for wanderlust, interior design and capturing people in their natural environment. He started a blog called Lil Red Dot Folks, which features the home lives of inspiring creatives and entrepreneurs around Southeast Asia. He recently traveled to Vietnam with his Camps Bay Backpack and took plenty of photos to induce that sort of passion for wanderlust in everyone who sees them. Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Ho Chi Minh City Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Ho Chi Minh City Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Ho Chi Minh City Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Mui Ne Village Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Mui Ne Village

    Franz Navarrete x ONA Camps Bay x Vietnam Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Mui Ne Village Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Mui Ne Village Franz Navarrete x ONA Bags x Ke Ga Island Franz Navarrete x ONA Camps Bay x VietnamCONNECT WITH FRANZ


  • Photographer Profile: Zach Glassman

    The team at ONA loves to highlight emerging photographers and feature established photographers: it’s less about renown or experience and more about the feelings stirred by the images created. We’re constantly amazed by the incredible variety of photographers who use ONA bags: there’s no standard background, education, subject, inspiration, industry. The only constant is that they’re trying–and usually succeeeding–to tell a story in one captured moment.

    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags x The Camps BayZach wears The Camps Bay in Smoke.

    Zach Glassman’s passion for storytelling is matched only by his love of travel; when he’s able to combine the two, his talents shine. He’s an incredibly talented travel photographer with a knack for capturing the personality of a place through its people. As the founder of Passion Passport, Zach thrives on sharing the transformative power of travel: through his words and photos, he’s able to transport readers to not only an exotic location but also a wanderlust state of mind.
    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags

    ONA: How did you get into photography/videography?

    ZG: In 2012, I resigned my job as a commodities trader in Hong Kong. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next or where I wanted to live, I headed out on the road to find the answers. Photography and storytelling had always been of great interest to me, but I had never thought that they could be more than that. Slowly but surely, I began to hone my skills and a new passion and career emerged.

    Zach Glassman x ONA BagsZach Glassman x ONA Bags

    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags

    ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

    ZG: I shoot mostly with my Nikon D700. My lens of choice is a 24-70mm F2.8: it is powerful yet versatile, which adequately prepares me for the unpredictability of my day-to-day while traveling. When I’m not carrying around my D700, I shoot with my iPhone.

    Zach Glassman x ONA BagsZach Glassman x ONA Bags

    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags

    ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity?

    ZG: Storytelling projects make my heart sing. A couple of months ago, I headed down to Guatemala to complete a project about my parents and the tale of how they met in Guatemala in the late 1970s. It was exceptionally challenging – after nearly 40 years, so much in Guatemala had changed – but it was also very rewarding.

    Zach Glassman x ONA BagsZach Glassman x ONA Bags

    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags

    ONA: What is your dream project?

    ZG: My dream project is to return to China to complete a storytelling project about the scrap metal industry. During my time as a commodities trader, I found it frustrating and soul-wrenching to wish to interact with workers in the metals industry, but to be told that there was an invisible dividing line between us and to keep quiet. As a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, I would want to connect with these individuals, take their portraits and to tell their stories. The idea is inspired by Pieter Hugo, one of my favorite photographers, and his work “Permanent Error.”

    My other dream project is to give people the gift of life-changing travel experiences, one which is well underway through the travel blog and startup I founded: Passion Passport. A couple of times each year, we give one applicant the ability to live out their dream trip by providing them with a grant. As their trip unfolds, they tell their story through our blog. [Note: ONA was a sponsor of The Bucket List Initiative and provided winner Jeff McAllister with an Astoria Bag; he recently shared photos from his experience in Peru on our blog.]

    Zach Glassman x ONA Bags

    Zach Glassman x ONA BagsZach Glassman x ONA Bags

    ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

    ZG: Time is the hardest thing to battle as a photographer. My efforts are divided between photography, some writing projects, and Passion Passport. As a result, finding time to edit photos, to write, and to discuss partnership opportunities – and also to travel – well, I often feel as though I am being pulled in many different directions!

    Zach Glassman and ONA Camps Bay Zach Glassman and ONA Camps Bay

    ONA: How did you hear about us?

    ZG: I heard about ONA through a photographer friend who spoke very highly of the combined style and functionality of their camera bags. I didn’t need much more convincing, but when I saw some fantastic travel-inspired product names to boot, ONA further captured my attention and affection!




  • Travel Journal: Virgin Gorda

    If you’re a regular follower of our blog, you know how much we love seeing the cool places where ONA bags go with our awesome customers. Our team also loves globetrotting with our own ONA bags: last month, founder Tracy Foster and her husband spent seven nights soaking up some sun, and enjoying the serenity of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.


    Sometimes you just need to unwind. That was exactly the plan when we booked a seven-night trip to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. There were no detailed itineraries, no major sites to see, no reservations scheduled – just the loveliest beaches, blue skies, and regular visits to the local ice cream shop.


    We stayed at a gorgeous property with private beach access in Spanish Town. Since we visited during the low season, all of the beaches were quiet and perfectly secluded, just the way I like them. Savannah Bay, pictured below, was my favorite beach on the island; we made sure to visit daily with beach chairs and books in hand.


    I traveled with my Camps Bay camera backpack, which has been my companion on many adventures since 2011. Since I only packed one camera and two lenses for this trip, there was plenty of room in the Camps Bay to carry other things as we traversed the little island — a few snacks and drinks, beach towels, a sarong, and even a couple of seashells that I collected along the way.

    7D1A7371 7D1A7448

    Normally, even if I love a new place that I’ve visited, I’m reluctant to plan to go back (anytime soon) just because I feel more inclined to experience someplace new. It looks like Virgin Gorda may have changed that. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

    7D1A7582Our week in Virgin Gorda was exactly what I needed: it was quiet, refreshing, and truly the perfect place to just unwind.


    For more wanderlust, check out the rest of our Travel Journals and follow #WhereONAGoes on our Instagram

  • What’s in Matt and Molly’s ONAs

    In celebration of Valentine’s Day this month, we’re featuring couples who both carry ONA bags. 

    Between product and lifestyle photo shoots, we have plenty of chances to experiment with how much gear can fit in each ONA and how to style each bag. But we’re always inspired and impressed by how real-life ONA owners manage to make the bags work for them (keep sharing your photos with us on social media!), so we decided to highlight how some of our favorite photographers make their bag work for them.


    Matt and Molly are a couple of photographers and creatives from (chilly) Chillicothe, Ohio who just recently announced their engagement–via Instagram, of course–and both were wearing ONA bags for the very special moment! While we adore their work, we’re also just blown away by their constant cheer: their positive spirit seems to emanate out of every photo they take and every interaction we have with them online. So grateful to call Matt and Molly our customers–ONA wishes you both a lifetime of happiness!

    ONA Camera Bags by Matt Day

    They’ve got quite the ONA set-up in their home: Matt uses the Camps Bay Backpack in Field Tan for work and the Bowery Camera Bag and Insert on personal photo adventures, while Molly carries the Brooklyn Camera Satchel daily. Here’s what Matt and Molly are carrying in each of their ONAs:

    ONA Brooklyn Camera Bag by Matt Day ONA Brooklyn Camera Bag by Matt Day

    The Brooklyn Camera Satchel
    Molly’s Bag
    • Nikon FE
    • Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D
    • Polaroid SX-70 Sonar
    • Kodak Tri-X and Impossible SX-70 Color Film
    • Wallet, makeup, keys, etc.
    ONA Camps Bay Camera Backpack by Matt Day
    ONA Camps Bay Camera Backpack by Matt Day
    The Camps Bay Backpack
    Matt’s Work Bag
    • Mamiya RZ67 Pro II
    • Mamiya 110mm f/2.8
    • Mamiya 180mm f/4.5
    • Sekonic L-208
    • Kodak Tri-X, Kodak Portra 160, and Kodak Portra 800
    • Business cards, pen, notepad, etc.
    ONA Bowery Camera Bag by Matt Day
    ONA Bowery Camera Bag by Matt Day
    The Bowery Camera Bag & Insert
    Matt’s Personal Bag
    • Leica M6TTL
    • Leica M8 (used to take these photos)
    • Leica 35mm f/2 Summicron ASPH
    • Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron
    • JCH film case full of Kodak Tri-X
    • Filters, pen, notepad, etc.





  • Photographer Profile: Jordan Smith

    We certainly think that ONA bags look just as good in person as they do on the screen (if not better!), but we can’t deny the role of the fantastic photographers and videographers who make each ONA look its absolute best. Jordan Smith is one such videographer: he created the Camps Bay video that always makes us wish that we were riding on a bike, stopping for a coffee, heading out for a day of shooting in fresh air and sunshine. While Jordan definitely has an eye for product styling and creating lifestyle envy–necessary for any good advertising imagery–he also captures everything from documentaries to music videos, from rollerbladers to weddings. Multi-talented, to be sure.

    Jordan wears the CAMPS BAY BACKPACK.

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: How did you get into photography/ videography?

    JS: A skate park opened up in my town when I was 11 and I instantly got hooked on rollerblading. A year later I saved up and bought my first camera to film my friends and me skating. It was a terrible Sony High 8 camera but a big deal for me back then. My friends and I put together a few gems with quality you might expect from teenagers. I was introverted and overwhelmingly shy back then, so creating videos was a cathartic gift of self expression.

    In high school I was fortunate to take some really great video, animation, and photography classes. In those classes I got hands-on experience with equipment and software. It largely equipped me for what I do professionally today. The photography class I took was very eye opening to me and changed the way I viewed visual communication. It was a film photography class, which allowed me to really get familiar with the ins and outs of a camera. Manual photography was a very romantic process to me and pivotal to the development of what I do now. I was shooting with my father’s and grandfather’s old cameras. My grandfather passed away when I was younger, so using his camera was a chance for me to connect with him in a very small but very special way.

    Film photography allowed me to slow down and contemplate exactly what I was shooting. For the first time I was able to control depth of field, shutter speed and exposure in a very physical way. At the same time I was still shooting video. I can remember being disappointed by my limitations with digital video cameras. Looking through the lens of my Pentax k1000, I thought to myself: “Wow, if only I could shoot video through a camera like this.”

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

    JS: For both photography and video I shoot with a Canon 5D mkIII. My lens of choice is a 35mm 1.4L.

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?

    JS: Creatively, I am inspired by projects that progressively and uniquely express the human condition. I believe everyone is constantly in pursuit of purpose, love, belonging, hope, and joy. The moment we lose sight of what gives us purpose in life is the moment we become depressed, insecure, or wicked. So my hope is to create work that edifies the people who watch it. Every video is different and not every one of them has to be profound, but I do believe each video I make deserves a certain respect for quality.

    That said, I see my dream project as something that expresses the fruit of the Holy Spirit in me. Ultimately Jesus Christ fulfills all areas of purpose in life, and I want that to be reflected in my work. So the opportunities of dream projects are endless. I would really enjoy making a project about rollerblading, or maybe something else that strikes my interest. Ultimately what I want is for my work to reflect a man of substance.

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer/videographer?

    JS: The hardest part is remaining humble while maintaining an appropriate level of joy and dissatisfaction, to continue every day with diligence. Not expecting success as a means to an end, but finding success in your struggle for it.

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

    JS: Maybe it’s an overlap of documentary and cinematic. I try to let my work speak for itself so I don’t have to. Mostly because I over think questions like this and just start to ramble. My work is the product of my environment. I am just along for the ride.

    Jordan Smith and ONA

    ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer/videographer just starting out?

    JS: Stay humble, work hard, do what you know, and go from there.

    Jordan Smith and ONA Leather Brixton

    How did you hear about us?

    I found ONA online when it was relatively new. The bags ONA produces are of such great quality and style that I knew immediately I wanted to be involved with the brand. I got in contact with ONA to make videos of their line and have made two videos featuring their bags. I use the Camps Bay backpack and the Leather Brixton now and they have been a perfect fit for my work and travels.




  • Photographer Profile: Nicole Wolf

    Passion. Purpose. Love. It’s not every day that you meet someone whose life and work embody these qualities. But when we met photographer Nicole Wolf and learned about her inspiring journey, it was clear that she is just such a person.

    Following Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in 2010, Nicole traveled to Haiti as a photographer for a medical relief team and discovered that her camera could be a tool of engagement and a catalyst for change. Today – in addition to telling the stories of entrepreneurs and celebrities, couples and musicians through her powerful images – Nicole uses her passion and her talent to make real, sustainable differences in the lives of the people of Haiti. ONA is proud to support Nicole’s non-profit, Up From Under, an organization that builds houses, provides refuge and empowers those in need to rise stronger.

    Nicole wears the CAMPS BAY BACKPACK.

    ONA: How did you get into photography?

    NW: I went to art school and took a photo class, simple as that.  I wanted to be an animator at first and then as soon as I smelled the fixer I was intoxicated!  Seriously, I never left the dark room the first 10 years of my life–well, long enough to shoot, of course.  I am a people person and the possibility I saw to be able to translate the human connection through imagery was beyond exciting for me.  Sharing my personal experiences and allowing others to see, feel, understand what I had was exhilarating.

    I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Photography and then jumped headfirst into starting a company with my business partners.  Major learning curve, seriously challenging in every sense of the word.  Fell on my face so many times, we all did, but we loved the challenge of keeping our passion alive.  We were driven and focused on growth and fed off each other and our creative energy.  The rest is yet to be determined!

     ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

    NW: Well, I have always been a Nikon girl for digital and back in the 35mm days too. I shoot the D3X and the D3 for stills. D3 kicks butt in low light scenarios.  However, I have been shooting the Canon Mark II and III for my film work in Haiti and I love it too!

    But the Contax 645 AF was my favorite camera for about 10 years.  She is pretty! I had three of them: sold two and kept one.  I dig her out every now and again and some of the most beautiful images I have ever taken were taken with her.  I am sharing one in the article.  My go-to lens, that’s tough, they are all so special.  I won the Zeiss 85mm 1.4 in an ASMP contest a couple of years back and I am obsessed with that lens, purely manual and crazy beautiful!

     ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?

    NW: I have been blessed in the past four years of my now 15-year career,  to begin to discover what drives me, who I am and what I want to say through my work.  I want to serve others through my work, create change, and stimulate possibility.  I am living my dream project, through my work in Haiti and Up From Under: rediscovering myself as a person and as an artist.  I am driven to wander the next stage of this, excited to be open and vulnerable in my work and to pour into others as I do so.  People’s stories drive me, life drives me, discovering a sense of connectivity no matter where or who drives me.

     ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

    NW: Not the hardest but the most challenging thing about being a photographer, for me, is staying ahead of the curve.  It is SO EASY to do what everyone else is doing in this day and age, nothing is new, nothing is sacred and people “take” from other photographers constantly.  I have tried to always push myself beyond my own expectations.  My all-time favorite Cecil Beaton quote sums it up: “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”

    I never want to be a slave of the ordinary, who would?  The one thing I always encourage young artists to do is to never look over their shoulder, always look ahead.  When you look over your shoulder you see what has been done, looking ahead is your vision and push yourself toward it!

     ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

    NW: For me, that’s like describing my insides, who I was created to be.  As I said above, I am always trying to change, to discover “seeing” in a new way.  That happens through projects, new assignments, new clients and new places I am blessed to experience.  I try to truly see people, get inside them and understand who they are, even if it is a brief encounter or a four-year project. That is the challenge for me and the beauty of what I love to do.  I have said before, it is easy to “take” a photo, “receiving” one is an entirely different focus.  I would say I am an environmental portrait artist and and essayist at heart.  I love journalism, the difficulty of capturing the decisive moment, but I want more after it is over!  I find myself longing for a more involved experience.  Intense, raw, vulnerable, broken, connected, intimate: I guess that is my style of shooting or what I am striving for.

    ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out? 

    NW: Photograph for yourself, not others: because you love doing it, not for reward, recognition or praise. It’s then that you will embark on a beautiful journey through your work.

     ONA: How did you hear about us?

    NW: My dear friend Doug Sonders told me about the beautiful Tracy and her kick-ass camera bags.  Although he raved about her bags, he talked so highly of her, so we had to meet.  As a product, they are really amazing for my camera gear: durable, inconspicuous and stylish. But Tracy as a person has a huge amount of integrity, she is an amazing business woman and has a heart for others. She is my favorite thing about ONA.



  • Photographer Profile: JerSean Golatt

    We first noticed JerSean Golatt when he shared a photo with his Camps Bay on Instagram: the backpack (of course!) had survived a mountain hike, his pants had not. Once we started following him on social networks, his creative composition, travel adventures and ever-present optimism kept us intrigued. The young Dallas-based photographer doesn’t always follow the rules and he’s willing to take some risks in pursuit of the right end result: a philosophy we can certainly get behind.

    JerSean Golatt

    JerSean Golatt

    JerSean wears the CAMPS BAY BACKPACK.

    ONA: How did you get into photography?

    JG: I was born in San Francisco, California to parents who are creatives: my mom is a fashion designer and my father is a musician and artist. So growing up in a very creative household is the reason for my artistic eye. I grew up looking through Neiman Marcus “The Book” catalogs instead of coloring books. At the age of 14 I received my first computer and installed on it was Photoshop 7.0. I spent all my waking hours on Photoshop making stuff: business cards, album covers, flyers, you name it! From all that devotion to learning design, I realized my keen sense for negative space and composition. That translated into photography when I would borrow my friends Nikon D50 to shoot friends, random people and things around my neighborhood. That soon turned into everyone calling me “the guy with the camera.” I realized i could make a living shooting photography, and I did just that in the beginning of 2009.

    After a semester of college, Idropped out because I just knew it wasn’t for me: I just wanted to shoot. So I purchased my first DSLR, a Canon 7D.  I connected with a model friend and we set up my first test shoot. I was nervous as a freshman on the first day of high school, not really sure if i could really pull off clean images. Once I started shooting, I was getting really good shots, even though i knew they were nowhere close to what I really wanted. But I knew I was on the right track. She loved the images and showed them to her agency, they liked them as well and I got a few more test shoots from that agency.

    Caleb by JerSean Golatt

    Allison by JerSean Golatt

    ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

    JG: My current camera is a Canon 5D Mark II. My go to lens is the Canon Zoom lens – 24 mm – 70 mm – F/2.8.

    Nina by JerSean Golatt

    Deveon by JerSean Golatt

    ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?

    JG: I love shooting lifestyle fashion: anything that allows me to have fun with my subject and try different scenarios of a story. My dream project would be to release my own world travel photography book.

    Cameo by JerSean Golatt

    Julianna by JerSean Golatt

    ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

    JG: One of the hardest things to learn and what I’m still learning is the accounting side of the business. When photography is your full-time gig, you are your own boss: that means you have to keep account of all your expenses and earning. When those things are taken care of, it allows you to keep shooting and doing what you love to do without hiccups.

    Bre by JerSean Golatt

    ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

    JG: As a Christ believer i feel like my attitude towards photography is shaped in a way that I enjoy and see the best and beauty in everything. I say that to say, my approach to each shot has formed my style of shooting, I may not technically be spot-on in every shot I take, but there’s a reason for every thing I show and don’t show in a frame. Because of my background in graphic design, I shoot with a consideration for space. I love playing with negative space and different compositions because I envision the end from the beginning of a project.

    Emily by JerSean Golatt

    ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out? 

    JG: Wake up early in the morning, stay inspired and keep shooting.

    JerSean Golatt

    JerSean Golatt

    ONA: How did you hear about us?

    JG: I heard about you guys through Andrew Ryan Shepherd. I’ve been following his career for a while now and I saw him tweet that he had an ONA bag. I was complaining about how horrible my bag was and saying to myself what I would give to have a bag that looked good and held all my stuff perfectly.



  • Happy Holidays from ONA: free wax for all!

    Here at ONA, we love the practicality of waxed canvas: it’s durable, it’s sturdy, it’s water-resistant. We also think it’s one of those fabrics that just seems to get better with time, with scratches and wear simply adding character and appeal.

    While waxed canvas is a notoriously durable material that doesn’t need to be babied, occasional reproofing with Martexin Original Wax can help keep your bag looking its very best for years to come. To help you start 2013 keeping your new ONA just as gorgeous as the day you bought it, we’re including a free Martexin Original Wax with every waxed canvas bag purchase starting today (while supplies last). That includes the Brixton Camera and Laptop Messenger Bag, the Bowery Camera Bag and Insert, the Union Street Camera and Laptop Messenger Bag and the Camps Bay Camera and Laptop Backpack.

    It’s our way of saying happy holidays, and all the best in 2013. For even more holiday cheer, make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest: Santa might just be giving away a bag or two to our most festive and creative followers.

    Additional information and instructions on how to use Martexin Original Wax can be found here.

    UPDATE: supplies have run out. Thanks to everyone who bought a waxed canvas bag–we hope you enjoy your wax!

  • Photographer Profile: Andrew Ryan Shepherd

    “Live a quiet life. Work with your hands.” Such is a quote that resonates with photographer/videographer Andrew Ryan Shepherd. This southern native (he’s lived in Mississippi, Arkansas and most recently Texas) resonates that philosophy in his day-to-day life. We know through experience. We met Andrew serendipitously when we were searching for a director and editor for our recent product videos. Through a referral, we were introduced to his incredible work and hired him shortly after. While Andrew’s more recent output is focused on video, his career began in photography and design. After living in NYC from 2006 – 2007 and then Dallas, TX, Andrew made the jump back to NYC (Brooklyn specifically) this past February. He is constantly on the search for coffee shoppes the serve the “breve cappuccino” and is (in our mind) an authority on finding new music.

    ONA: How did you get into photography? 

    ARS: My mom and dad used to travel quite a bit before my sister and I were born, and I couldn’t help but be intrigued by that idea (What would it be like to travel?), and such romantic places like the Golden Gate Bridge — places so unlike the suburban Dallas I knew. The photos they took became burned in my mind after seeing them nearly every day before I got on the school bus. Years later when I moved to Arkansas and started at University, my dad offered to let me take the set of photos with me.

    I began to really respect and love that old black and white music photography — the grainy, high-contrast  Jim Marshall kind and all those old snaps of John Lennon and Bob Dylan. I tried to force myself through a photography course but was bored to death of the rudimentary educational model, and found myself coasting through and meeting just more than the necessary requirements without understanding (or caring about) the creative potential in making photographs.

    Fast forward a few years when I first moved to New York. I bought a Digital Rebel and started carrying it with me everywhere I went; photographing the various tile mosaics in every train station on the Red Line, brownstones in the West Village, and the view of Central Park from my fire escape on 97th Street in Spanish Harlem. I look back at the photos now, which are pretty terrible aesthetically, and of course the meaning of them extends deep. The sacred time associated with it and the creative observing process it required prevented me from loving too much, much more than making photos.

    ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?

    ARS: Mostly I shoot with an older Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24 1.4 L. I also have a few different 35mm cameras, Polaroids, a really old beat up 5D Mark I that looks like an army tank from World War II (which has some sort of magic about it that the Mark II lost in the update).

    ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project?

    ARS: The project with the most problems to solve.  Answering the question: “How can I think from a unique or inverse angle to make something?” That is a good bit of what it means to be “creative.”  I think inspiration is only given when invited, and that takes years of work, and rhythm.  Paint does not magically appear on a canvas.

    A little under a month ago, my buddy Ryan flew to Brooklyn to work with my good friend Eric and I on a multimedia treatment for a band. We were set to squeeze into four days an entire music video, electronic press kit full of interviews and B-Roll, in addition to their album photo shoot, and eventually an album artwork deliverable featuring handmade printing and effectual chemical processes, which we are working on right now in my apartment.

    What transpired that week is in hindsight the new standard of what I’d consider my ideal project — collaborating with a team of individuals who share separate but overlapping variety of creative capacity and aesthetic vision. We collectively had to answer with calmness, “How the heck are we going to figure this out in three days?”  Every night we weren’t in bed before 3am, and there isn’t any other way I would have preferred it.

    When Ryan got on the plane and headed back to Texas at the end of that production, I found myself proud of everything we did, and was ultimately impressed by the transcendence of the work as a result of interwoven social and creative desires that was, ultimately responsible for the final product. I would identify that indeterminable and unpredictable response as a characteristic of a “dream” project.

    ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?

    ARS: I think the hardest thing about being a photographer is probably the thing those who aren’t photographers think is the easiest— to keep shooting. It’s a smaller part of the whole of the Discipline required to do this for a living, but I guess it’s the most fundamental. And I don’t write that because I succeed at it — I write it because I fail at it.  This has been my busiest season of work (shooting mostly video now) and even so it lurks in the back of my head how little I shoot out of my own volition, which, of course, is why any of us chose this path in the first place.

    ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

    ARS: I like to think I shoot with regard for older processes that preceded the time when everyone owned a 5D Mark II. All I can really say is that I think about it, and care for that idea, whether or not I am accomplishing it. I also try to think more intensely about plane and shape in photos (or rather videos, now), and the way depth of field is affected by this. I think the most important thing apart from light in photographs is space, and we have to be good stewards of how we treat and organize that space in the frame.

    ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out? 

    ARS: Seek early on the discovery of what makes you unique — not by comparison to others — but by digging deep internally to understand your Self, and those characteristics about your personality and interests that no one else can translate and arrange the data of the world in the way only you’re able.  That is not only the key to sustaining a living, but it is the key to making a meaningful image.

    ONA: How did you hear about us?

    ARS: A friend of mine in Texas mentioned the brand, and I browsed through the early version of the website. I had been using this huge heavy duty camera bag for lugging around everything in the city, and it looked like this huge black turtle shell on my back, and the cumbersome qualities of it made me feel like a very old man by the end of each shoot. Shortly thereafter I picked up the Camps Bay as an alternative that may have just lengthened my life in New York.



  • Photographer Profile: Rebecca Baust

    When you think back to the early days of blogs, the intentions were simply a utility serving as a modern day journal. Since then the blogging world has exploded into the forefront of media, news & culture with bloggers being elevated to influencers, content developers and experts in various fields of fashion, food, technology & lifestyle. What has become somewhat lost is the “golden age” of bloggers in which one is simply documenting their life on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. Enter THE DAILY MUSE. Through TDM, Rebecca Baust brings you an intimate insight into her daily life but does so with visually stimulating & beautiful imagery to support her stories.

    Rebecca wears the CAMPS BAY BACKPACK

    ONA: How did you get into photography? Did you start your blog because of it or the other way around? 

    RB: The blog started as a place to organize my design ideas when we moved to a new apartment in NYC. If Pinterest had been around a few years ago, perhaps I wouldn’t have started The Daily Muse. My husband and I were new New Yorkers (the most annoying kind) and I wanted to record our experiences. I started sharing bits on the blog and my photography interests grew from there.

    ONA: What kind of camera do you shoot with? What is your “Go To” lens of choice?

    RB: I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and mostly a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

    ONA: What sort of projects drives your creativity? Follow Up: What is your dream project? 

    RB: I enjoy photos that involve a bit of styling, such as interiors and food photos. I’m able to control the environment and place things where I need until it comes out just right. My perfectionism comes in handy. It would be amazing to shoot interiors for a magazine or food photos for a restaurant.

    ONA: What is the hardest thing about running a blog?

    RB: I’m not running a high profile blog, but the criticism is always there. It’s the internet and I’m choosing to put myself out there.

    ONA: Describe your style of shooting.

    RB: I like a really clean aesthetic when I look through the lens. I’ll wait and wait until people walk out of the shot or cars pass by. No clutter!

    ONA: In one sentence, what advice would you give to a photographer just starting out? 

    RB: I learned much more from hanging out with photo gurus than I did from a photography class.

    ONA: How did you hear about ONA? 

    RB: The Camps Bay Backpack came highly recommended from a photographer friend and I had heard the name floating around from blog to blog. The backpack is perfect for all the schlepping I do around the city.