People & Places

VIDEO: My Ultralight Minimalist EDC

Interview

I'm Dan, co-founder of Everyday Carry. Since launching this site we've been mainly creating text and photo content, but to kick off the new month I thought we'd try introducing EverydayCarry.com's first video. Click through to watch me walk you through how to cover as many bases as possible while keeping things ultra light and minimalist.

Interview: Mitch Altman, Inventor

Interview

Mitch Altman is an inventor and a hardware hacker, most recognized for his universal remote control called the TV-B-Gone. He’s an important figure in the hacking (modifying and customizing hardware and electronics), Do-It-Yourself, and maker communities. Today he shares his EDC for traveling to speak to and mentor others who share his passion for making things with electronics.

Interview: Anthony Carrino, General Contractor

Interview

Anthony Carrino is a New Jersey-based designer, builder, and host of many HGTV programs, such as Kitchen Cousins and Cousins on Call. His newest show, America's Most Desperate Kitchens, will premiere this summer on the network. In this interview, Anthony speaks about his everyday carry gear and how they help him with various aspects of his job, with going on adventures, and getting inspired. Join us and see Anthony's recent accomplishments and learn his one important piece of advice for anyone stuck trying to "build" something of their own.

Interview: Veronica Belmont, TV Host & Podcaster

Interview

Veronica Belmont is an established video host and podcaster. Her current shows include Vaginal Fantasy Book Club and Sword & Laser, where she covers romance and science fiction literature. In the past, she played active roles in the technology and gaming scenes with shows like Tekzilla and Game On!. In this interview, Veronica shares her essentials and her pro tips for making great podcasts.

Interview: Hadrien Monloup, Product Designer

Interview

Hadrien Monloup co-founded Bellroy, a popular wallet brand, as well as Carryology, an online resource for wallets and bags, on a mission to make a difference in the world of carry. In this interview, Hadrien shares his EDC, his approach to creating better ways to carry, and how to apply that mentality to life’s bigger obstacles.
What's in your everyday carry?
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View Hadrien's Full Everyday Carry
What is your typical work day like, given your different roles as a business owner and product designer?
My role is evolving constantly. We now have an amazing team of designers at Bellroy that I proudly lead. I am still designing but less than before. I am now working more on “bigger picture” projects with Andrew, Jimmy Gleeson and our team, looking for new opportunities and building strategies to realize our ambition. Our role is to accumulate information and reduce uncertainty around ideas. That’s what design is about for us. We start by asking ourselves ‘How would it look and feel if this or that could do …’ and then create potential designs that give us a better idea of the size, impact and worth of a project. Our goal is to move fast to validate our ideas and find ways to release products that we love as fast as we can. It is a relentless evolution as much personal as it is professional.
From where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from various blogs, brands, books, music, travel and people. Inspiration for me, is not the go-to ‘thing’ when you run out of ideas. It is a way to see the world from different perspectives every day. My Dad, Hubert Monloup was a set designer for the Opera in France and his work is still one of my strongest sources of inspiration. His work ethic, creativity, and resilience are the three pillars I believe should form a good creative.
I was born and grew up in France, but moved to Australia a few years ago, and have been enjoying the cultural mix/clash since. I love how language shapes my thinking and the way I see the world. I love surfing Pinterest when I feel like procrastinating. It is a great way to look at interesting work in a fun way and share my findings with the rest of the team. My one year old son is reminding me how important it is to look at the world with excitement and marvel. How little things make a big difference. Have fun with it all. And try not to take anything too seriously, which I tend to forget.

We’ve seen how your passion for all things carry-related play into your profession. Do you have other interests that helped you get to where you are in your careeer?
I have been through a few career changes. From medical biology to product design, with a diploma in remedial massage therapy and a second Dan of Aikido. I love moving from different worlds and learning things that I didn’t think I could. Now with YouTube, Pinterest, blogs and ebooks, it is a fast track to get what I need to know and work on diverse projects. I love illustration, so I have a cintiq 13HD with me. I sketch on my notebook but move to digital pretty fast and keep my work with me on a portable hard drive.
Why do you EDC?
We move and live faster, so we need to be adaptable. The things I carry with me must help me transition between work and play. I need the capacity to turn ideas into actual product designs or switch between illustration drafts. I want my tools to be there for me and for it to be less about me adapting to them. I carry more tech with me these days than notebooks because I can access my work anywhere. It allows me to do a quick sprint on a project, get what’s on my mind out and move to the next project.
Everything needs to be compact and fit in a Tom Bihn Synapse 25 type of bag. Any more, and it gets too heavy or bulky to justify carrying every day. So I constantly look for better-sized notebooks, cable organizers, or anything that keeps weight or size down. I used to have a sunglasses hard case to keep my cables together in my bag and place it in those dead spaces of my backpack. I recently bought a Grid-It in a small size to see if that’s a better solution. I think I like it although I would love it to be more elegant.
Although you said you like to keep your daily carry compact and lightweight, is there anything you’ve seen that you’d really love to add to your carry? Of the things that’ve made the cut, what’s your favorite EDC item?
I’d love the Cintiq Companion. Less cables and restrictions. Other than that my Cristal Bic pen has been my favorite pen, for ever! Cheap, easily replaceable and it gives me a huge amount of line variations to work with. It’s great for sketching. And in thinking about types of sketching, I sketch without an eraser. My Dad taught me to start light and build my lines. Don’t erase, build.

It seems like you’re constantly moving from project to project. Could you tell us about some of your more recent work?
We have recently released a new range of wallets for the active, adventurer-types. It is a great feeling to release a wallet solution for all the cyclists and travelers out there that have been asking for an elegant product that can also perform. Their needs go beyond just slim when it comes to wallets or other carry. It was a challenging project, especially trying to get the right balance between the craft and beauty of leather goods with the performance we wanted. We have more new products coming very soon, so definitely keep an eye on bellroy.com. Being part of such a fast growing business is so exciting — there’s always more to come.
You mentioned moving through different worlds and learning new things. To wrap this up, could you share some of that wisdom with us?
That’s a big question to answer in Frenglish (my French-English)!
How about this: Life is like a sketch. Maybe we could all benefit from approaching our lives in the same I like to approach sketching — with pen, no eraser. The fear of making a mistake will freeze your ability to try, learn, and potentially get it right faster. So instead we should build the lines, from light to heavy, layer by layer, with small corrections all the time. Enjoy watching the lines build on the paper, shadowing the better ones, while at the same time celebrating the frustrations that come with the process.
Talent is nothing without work. All those mistakes are not mistakes — just steps towards a better outcome. Maybe life, careers and projects are not so removed from the way I (and many others I know) approach sketching. Break down the big projects into small ones and test, prototype, again and again. I really believe it’s a faster way of getting closer to the ultimate goal. Oh, and don’t forget to enjoy the ride.

Photos courtesy of Hadrien Monloup and Bellroy.

Interview: Jason Rohrer, Video Game Designer

Interview

Jason Rohrer is an independent video game designer. His most acclaimed video game, Passage, was added to the New York Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection of classic video games. Join us as Jason speaks on his interesting philosophies towards both practicing EDC and designing video games, his favorite tools for work, and making a living doing what you really want to do.

What's in your everyday carry?
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I work from home making video games, so I don't ever carry any of my work stuff with me. Thus, most of my carry is life and bike related.

For those not familiar with indie game development, could you give us a basic rundown about what you do and what it takes to make games?

I'm an independent video game designer and programmer. I work by myself, at home, making video games from scratch. When most people think of video games, they think of things that are primarily for kids ("Yeah, my kids play those.") Instead, I make games for thinking adults. My games usually deal with real life themes and issues. I start on paper, writing down ideas for a new game, and hashing out design problems with pen and ink. After the design solidifies, I move to the computer and start programming to build the design. I also make the graphics, sound, and music as I go along.

On an average day, you'd probably find me typing computer code into a text editor, but on an off day, you might find me pulling out my analog synth to lay down some tracks or hooking up the microphone to record a voice-over for my game's trailer video. My most recent game, Cordial Minuet, had me painting with ink and watercolors and making tea paper in my oven.

Contents from the special edition of Rohrer's Diamond Trust of London, featuring in-game world essentials.

How do you come up with the direction for your game design?

When I set out to make a new game, I think about the issues in my life and the world around me that seem the most pressing and interesting. In a good game, you are often pressed to make difficult choices, so the areas of life where we have to make those hard decisions are excellent fodder for game design.

What hobbies do you enjoy when you’re not working on your games?

I normally wear an old, hand-winding watch, but these watches eventually grind to a halt and need expensive cleaning and oiling. I realized that buying watch repair tools was cheaper than getting even a single watch fixed, so I took up watch repair as a hobby. I've broken a few of my patients along the way, but I'm getting close to trusting myself enough to actually tackle one of my favorite old watches.

Why do you EDC?

I like the idea of finding the very best version of some otherwise mundane object, settling on it, having that problem solved well, and then using that object for the rest of my life. This is my watch. This is my pen. This is my wallet. Some of these things last forever if you're careful with them.  Others wear out but can be replaced identically.  I've been using my Lamy Vista fountain pen for over two years now.

Game designing with the Lamy Vista and Noodler's Ink

Have you added anything cool to your EDC mix recently? And of all the gear you’ve tried, what would you recommend we check out for ourselves?

Field Notes was the most recent thing that I added, and I'm still kinda crushing on it — I’m embarrassed to say that I still take it out to show people now and again. I wanted a way to clear my head of little thoughts and ideas that pop up and distract me, and writing them down really helps. 

I don't carry it everyday, because I don't often need it, but Staedtler Lumocolor is the best "write on anything" permanent marker in the world. Smells like a martini instead of nail polish thanks to German safety standards, and it's insanely fade-proof. I had to sign and number a collector's edition of one of my games, so I actually tested a bunch of pens and markers against the California elements for several months. Sharpies and even "archival" art pens actually fade pretty quickly, but Lumocolor ink is there for the long haul.

What’s your most recent creation we should try to play?

My latest game, Cordial Minuet, is a two player strategy game that is played online for real money. The design and layout of the game is based on an ancient occult summoning ritual. Research during my design process unearthed deep historical connections between gambling, religion, and the occult.

Cordial Minuet being played for cash money at PAX South

Most people think that playing a game for real money outside of Vegas is illegal, but it turns out that only games of chance are illegal to play for money. With this in mind, Cordial Minuet was designed from the ground up as a game of skill — you win by reading your opponent and predicting what they are going to do. People think of Poker as a game of skill — the betting and the bluffing — but underneath that skill layer is a random number generator driving the whole thing, which is why online Poker is still illegal in the US. Cordial Minuet builds a game of Poker-like skill, but that skill goes all the way down. People can play for whatever stakes they want, even as small as a penny, and so far, most people have played for pretty small stakes. However, a couple of players started taking it more seriously last month and pushed their stakes up to $500. Those were some intense matches, for sure.

You’ve made making games sound like a dream job. What advice would you give to others trying to make a living out of what they love to do?

If you keep putting off doing what you really want to do, you'll end up doing stuff you don't really want to do your whole life. So make a plan, save some money up, and take that risky leap. The risk is real — I know loads of people who took the leap and didn't make it. But I don't know anyone who regrets trying.

See more of Jason’s games and other works at his website, and catch up with the latest from Jason on his Twitter.

Interview: John Biggs, Writer

Interview

John Biggs is the East Coast Editor of TechCrunch, a leading technology news website. He’s the former editor-in-chief of popular technology and gadget blog, Gizmodo. He took a moment to share his EDC, offer advice to writers, and talk about his passion for watch collecting.

Interview: Erik Spiekermann, Type Designer

Interview

Erik Spiekermann is a type designer, typographer, information designer, author, businessman, and legend in the design community. He co-founded MetaDesign, a global design consultancy, as well as typeface publisher FontShop. He is now a partner with Edenspiekermann. FF Meta, his most influential typeface, became almost ubiquitous in the '90s. Erik graciously took the time to share his everyday carry photo with us, immaculately knolled with the attention to detail you’d expect from a design genius:

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View Erik Spiekermann's Full EDC

What’s in your EDC?

Sketchbook, pencil, Montblanc fountain pen, Faber Castell felt tip pen, small camera (Sony RX100), iPhone, keys, wallet with credit cards, driver’s license, ID card, small pencil, small notebook. Sometimes an iPad or even a laptop computer. Sunglasses when necessary.

It’s not surprising to see your eye for design reflects even in the essentials and tools you use every day. What kind of work are you using your EDC for these days?

I am an information designer, type designer, and author. Now officially retired from my company Edenspiekermann, I design typefaces, books and magazines (e.g. The Economist) and write articles and columns. I live in Berlin, San Francisco, and London. I also run a letterpress workshop in Berlin and have started to make typefaces for that purpose.

FF Meta and FF Meta Serif via FontShop Gallery

From where do you draw your inspiration?

It’s called Life — looking around, listening, reading, and talking to people.

Aside from your career, what else are you passionate about?

Communication, cycling, taking pictures, and reading everything I can get a hold of. I am not passionate about my career because at 67, that is behind me.

Why do you EDC?
I need a bag to carry newspapers and magazines and other things I may pick up along the way. As I ride my bicycle more often than not, this is the best way to carry anything I bring back home, sometimes even milk and food.

Corporate typefaces designed by Spiekermann via spiekerblog

Where can we see more of your designs?

Read my blog or follow me on Twitter: @espiekermann.

If you could give any advice to our readers, what would it be?

Keep your eyes and ears open. Travel and learn at least one other language. Read.

Photos courtesy of Erik Spiekermann

Interview: Alex Payne, Programmer

Interview

Alex Payne is a programmer, writer, and angel investor based in Portland, OR. Most recently, he’s working with early-stage companies, and in the past has served as one of Twitter’s first engineers as well as CTO at Simple, an online banking service. He took some time to share his EDC with us and to shed some light on what it’s like working in the tech industry.

Interview: Tom Medvedich, Photographer

Interview

Tom Medvedich is a New York-based commercial photographer who’s had some of the biggest names in basketball and hip-hop on the other side of his lens, such as LeBron James, Eminem, and 50 Cent, to name a few. Besides portraiture, he does still life photography for some of the finest luxury brands around. His unorthodox concepts impart character and complexity to his still life shots to produce stunning, well-executed, and compelling visuals. Join us in this interview as Tom walks us through his work, shows you how a pro takes an EDC photo, and speaks on his favorite gear in fantastic detail.
Since you shoot for so many different clients and you’re constantly changing it up between still life and portraiture, a day on the job must be really demanding. What’s it really like?
Being a still life and portrait photographer means I'm my own boss and I'm doing a lot of work day and night to keep the gears of my business moving smoothly. During the day, I'm at different studios and offices pretty much daily. I can be in Manhattan shooting for J. Crew on a Monday and then fly out to another state to shoot a basketball player the next day, come back that same night, and be shooting for Gilt Groupe on the following day. At night I do a lot of emailing, retouching, and paperwork. You really have to be focused, organized, and driven to succeed in this business. Photography has taught me so much about how to be better at life.
What influenced you to get your photography to where it is now and how do you stay on top of your game?
New York is pretty hectic and there are a lot of people working very hard to succeed. I feed off that energy. I love looking at other people's work and thinking, “Man, that's awesome” and “Now, I need to top that.” Also, since so much of my life revolves around work, I really focus on working with people that I enjoy spending time with. I strive to deliver the absolute best product to every client on every single job because I truly believe in putting your best self out there every day.
You’re really focused on your work and the effort definitely shows. What do you use your time and talents for when you’re not shooting on the job?
Obviously I'm into photography, but there's occasionally time for other things than work. I like travel, organization, and home projects, so I wanted to start documenting things I've done and I started a fun side project called Tattooed Yuppie along with an accompanying YouTube channel. Although it's still in its infancy, I'll be dedicating more time to it in 2015. I’m looking forward to having that as a new outlet for myself.
What's in your everyday carry?
Moleskine Weekly Planner - This particular planner has the days of the week down the left page and an empty, lined page on the right. That's my favorite format because I can make notes for jobs on the right as well as right down things I need to get done for the week. My entire life is on my iPhone 6. I'm a heavy iCal user, but I like to have my day to day on paper so everything is at a glance. Plus there's nothing more satisfying than putting a line through something on your to-do list.
I've been using a Leatherman Wave for about a decade on set and more recently a Surge, but I also just picked up the Juice S2. It's a really great EDC tool because it's small enough to not be noticeable, but big enough to handle business.
Eneloop batteries - I carry between 1-4 AAA and AA Eneloops on any given day depending on what I'm doing. Work does not happen without power.
Rolex GMT-Master II - My wife got this for me as a wedding gift and it's my favorite thing on the planet. It reminds me of her and our awesome wedding. The bonus is that it looks great with a t-shirt or a tuxedo.
Spyderco Dragonfly 2 - I'm not the biggest knife fanatic, but I do have a need for cutting stuff pretty much daily. I wanted something that was tiny because I don't think it's necessary to have a Crocodile Dundee knife as an EDC blade. I also liked the orange because I think it's a little easier for non-knife people to digest than an all-black tactical knife. At 1 oz, it's so light you forget you're carrying it.
Boo-boo Box - I have some back problems so I carry Aleve and Excedrine Migraine is the only thing that helps my headaches. I've got some Advil as well. I keep some extras because I like to have them on hand if someone I'm working with is in need.
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Paracord Keychain with Black Diamond Spring Gate Biner - Ever since I had house keys or a car I've had a keychain on a carabiner. I recently added this paracord so I don't have to take the carabiner off my belt loop to open my door. After almost 2 decades I've settled on this really strong spring gate carabiner because there's no gate to get misaligned like with the D shaped biners. Works incredibly well.
Anker 6,000 mAh Battery - My phone rarely dies but there's days where I can't plug in to a computer or I'm running around a lot and constantly emailing or making calls. This unit recently replaced my Mophie Juice pack which is much thicker and heavier with the same mAh rating. The Anker is also a fraction of the price.
Incase 6" Lightning Cable - Sometimes it's nice to not carry 3' of cable.
Fisher Space Pen - I had heard so much about these pens that I almost hated them without ever trying one. Kind of like how my old roommate ruined Seinfeld for me before I ever saw an episode. And then after giving it a chance, just like Jerry Seinfeld, I LOVE this pen. It's another thing that's so compact that you don't even realize it's in your pocket. The best part is that when you open it, it's a full size pen — and you always need a pen.
Olight i3s EOS - Another great item that is invisible in your pocket but gets used a bunch of times a day. I was on a plane two days ago rummaging through my backpack and I couldn't see anything — until I remembered I had my flashlight in my pocket. Barely larger than a AAA battery, this light is bright enough to hang with the AA lights. It’s under $20 so there’s no excuse to be left in the dark.
Titanium Pico Widgy Pry Bar - Another example of a very hyped up item that lives up to its hype. How many times are you tearing your fingers up trying to open something? This weighs as much as 5 pennies and is only 2" long. I hate key clutter, but this can hide on a keychain all day and comes in handy so much it's ridiculous. Pays for itself when you realize how much less frequently your fingers hurt.
Why do you EDC?
Being a photographer means you're somewhere different almost every day. I need to make sure that I have what I need to get the job done wherever I go. I really focus on making these items as compact and lightweight as possible since I have to carry so much gear on any given day. On a light day I've got a 20 lb backpack and on a more intense day I've got a 40 lb camera bag with 2 huge Pelican cases of lights and stands, etc. So of course, these items I've listed are part of a much larger system involving different cases and bags, but these are some highlights of what really makes my life easier.
Over the years, I've learned from my mistakes. When I was just starting out, I didn't have enough batteries and then I'd have to leave a shoot to run down to a convenience store to get batteries. Stuff like that. Then I realized how much easier it would be to just have everything I need on me wherever I go. They say two is one and one is none, and that's 100% true. Like when my almost brand new camera died on me for no reason and then I had to figure out how to get one within the hour. Now I just have a spare in my camera bag and I've never had a problem since.
Carrying so much random stuff as well as back up items definitely feels excessive at times, but when you have a bag filled with zip ties, velcro, multiple types of glue, etc, there's really no situation you're not prepared for.
You’ve clearly put a lot of thought into your setup. After years of refining your EDC, if you had to narrow it down, what would be your single favorite item in your current rotation?
My favorite item is definitely the Olight i3s EOS. I love having such a compact but incredibly useful tool on me at all times. It's great for regular applications (not night time) because of the cycle of modes. When you turn it on, it starts in medium brightness, then high, then moonlight. This is really helpful since this is one of the only multi mode flashlights that doesn't start on the dimmest setting.
What are some things that you’ve wrapped up that you’re most proud of, and what’s next for you?
Besides getting married in 2014, I had some really memorable shoots that made for an awesome year. I started off the year shooting Eminem, Dr. Dre, and Jimmy Iovine in LA for the cover of XXL, along with Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent for other XXL covers. I also got to shoot Lebron for the cover of SLAM which was such a great experience. The Chia Co. sent me down to Nicaragua to shoot their CEO on a chia farm which was incredible as well. I always try to push myself to do more, so I'm hoping that 2015 will be a big year for me career-wise.
You’re your own boss, you get to travel the world and your talents are sought after by prestigious clients. What would you tell people who are striving for that kind of success?
First you have to do something you really love. There's no such thing as job security anymore, so you have to find something you enjoy spending a lot of time doing, and turn it into a sustainable business. If you get good at something, eventually people will pay you for it. Then, work hard and be nice to people.
See Tom’s portfolio at his website, and follow him on Instagram for even more of his photography.
Photos courtesy of Tom Medvedich

Interview: Sam Larson, Artist

Interview

Sam Larson is a freelance artist and designer based out of Portland, OR hailing from Wisconsin. He’s the creative mind behind Steel Bison, his wildly popular brand of Old West-inspired art and designs that have amassed a huge following on social media. Join us as we talk with Sam about getting inspired, putting in your work, and how his everyday carry equips him to stay creative whenever and wherever inspiration strikes.
What’s a day in the life of a freelance designer like?
I draw and design things from my studio every day. The work varies depending on what projects I have going at the the time. I also run my own online store where I sell stickers, prints, buttons, patches, apparel, notebooks, etc. I design, source suppliers, package, and ship everything myself. That also takes a good chunk out of my daily time.

Your work has a unique, focused feel to it. How did you develop this style and from where do you draw inspiration?
I gather my inspiration from many places. The Western United States plays a huge role in shaping my art. If anyone has ever traveled through it, you will understand why: the people, the landscapes, the animals. It's a beautiful place. I recently moved up to Portland, OR from San Diego, CA. It is such a creative city, filled with incredible artists. I am constantly surrounded by inspiring people. Besides gathering my inspiration from my surroundings and nature, I like old travel souvenirs. Things like postcards, brochures, patches and pennants from the early-mid 1900s.

When you’re not sitting down with some paper and pens, what are you usually up to?
I like to get outside and go hiking and camping. The Pacific Northwest is great for that. Over the last two years I've become pretty interested in basketball (mostly watching, I'm awful). Overall though, I spend most of my time creating in some way.
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What's in your everyday carry?

Handmade Wallet — I made this myself.
iPhone 5 — What I take all my Instagram photos with.
Apple Headphones — Easy for on-the-go music and podcasts.
Beanie — It’s been through a lot and has been stitched back together a couple of times.
Keys and an old copper arrowhead souvenir on a Kimberlin Co. Brass Key Hook
BIC Mechanical Pencil — for occasionally sketching rough outlines before inking
Copic Multiliners — for inking
Copic marker — for coloring
Letraset marker — for coloring
Steel Bison pocket notebook — for notes, ideas, and quick sketches.

Why do you EDC?
Most of what I carry on a daily basis is to have on me if I need to write or sketch down an idea at any point. If I have some time to kill while waiting, I will pull out my little pocket notebook and sketch.
Is there anything in particular you've been meaning to add to your EDC? If not, what's your favorite item out of all your daily essentials?
There is nothing I feel like I need to add at this moment. I'm not that guy that lugs around a 50 pound backpack everywhere. I try to keep things as simple as possible. My pocket notebooks are probably my favorite thing. I've sketched some of my favorite art in those.
Can you tell us about any cool upcoming projects you’ve got in the works?
There are a bunch of cool projects I have been privileged to work on lately. Unfortunately with most bigger product design jobs, they are done a year or two in advance and can't be shared until launching.
I have a lot of new products that I've been working on. They will launch on my online store over next couple months. That's pretty exciting. New pocket notebooks, pennants, t-shirts, stickers, patches, pins. Can't wait to share them with people.
As an accomplished creative with a loyal fan base and strong individual style, what secret would you tell our readers striving for that kind of success?
I feel like there is no secret with art. People think there is. They think things like a certain brand of pen will make their art much better. Honestly, what I think is hard work does and will pay off. People want overnight success. Especially in this social media-crazed world. Put in your 10,000 hours. One of my least favorite comments to get is "I wish I could do that". Stop wishing and start doing and you "can do that", or at least come closer to being able to. Put your time in and good things will happen.
Head over to Sam’s website, SamLarsonArt.com, to find more of his art, his store, and other ways to connect with him.
Images in this interview provided by Sam Larson

Interview: Nigel Barker, Photographer

Interview

Nigel Barker is a massively successful photographer who has been impacting the fashion world with his creativity and innovation for the past 20 years. In addition to his renowned fashion and portrait work, he also works in film and television as a director, producer, and personality on shows such as America’s Next Top Model, and most recently, The Face. He’s just finished his newest book, Models of Influence, and had some time to turn out his pockets for us and share his everyday carry. Join us as Nigel, a creative and leader in his field, details his day-to-day, the kit he EDCs to get the job done, and some inspirational insight for aspiring photographers and anyone trying to take their work to the next level.

Between your work as a fashion photographer and your television roles, every day on the job must be interesting but challenging. Could you walk us through your day-to-day?

While my day-to-day varies enormously, I’ll mention a few things as they define me: I get up every day at 5:15 AM to hit the gym before I feed, dress, and take my 9 year old son and 6 year old daughter to school. After, I’ll normally get to set by 9 AM where my assistants are setting up gear and equipment for that day's shoot. I shoot 4-6 times a month, with each shoot taking 1-3 days, plus many days of production before or after.

One of my favorite parts of this business is the creative brainstorming around a new campaign and brand. Thinking outside the box and pushing boundaries are what we are known for both in fashion and television. I normally shoot around 6-12 shots a day. Some require multiple experts, such as set designers, make up artists, stylists, and photo technicians to help me achieve the desired look and feel. A small shoot is about 3-5 people, and a larger one can involve over 100. Most jobs come through my website from clients and businesses all over the world seeking our help with branding, creative direction, and promotion for their newest collection or season. A wonderful thing about working in NYC is that most people love to come here to shoot, but when work requires me to travel I spend on average 4-5 months of the year abroad shooting on location.
You mention one of your favorite things you do is creative brainstorming. From where do you draw inspiration to stay as innovative as your work demands?

I draw inspiration from the beauty I see in everything: from the exotic to the mundane, from politics to the weather. New York City herself is an inspirational place to live in, full of contradictions. You can feel her heartbeat at all times, which is both exciting and sometimes terrifying. When a new client approaches us with a product, we think of how we can do something completely different for them visually or in marketing, or with some luck, both. My greatest love is undoubtedly using photography and film to change hearts and minds about world issues. I’m an ambassador for several charitable causes, such as the Make A Wish Foundation, EDEYO Foundation, the HSUS, and many more. My aim is to win society over by celebrating life and the world we live in, rather than with shock and horror, by telling intimate stories that a viewer can connect with and showing them how they can make a difference. For example, with the HSUS, I successfully lobbied to obtain a complete ban on the import of seal fur. My film, “A Sealed Fate?” and exhibition of photography was used extensively in the campaign. Similar strategies were employed for other campaigns for the EDEYO Foundation in Haiti, and EGPAF in Tanzania.

Besides photography and film, what else are you passionate about? What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

I’m lucky enough to have a job that many people consider to be a hobby, so I still take lots of photos for social media in my spare time. Most recently, I launched an Instagram for my wife and her twin sister, who are extraordinary yogis. I have lots of fun photographing them in unusual contortions juxtaposed with both urban settings and country landscapes. Other than that, I am an avid wine collector and enjoy making things with my hands, such as wood working and rock carving. My son Jack loves all this too, so I have the perfect apprentice to work with.
What's in your everyday carry?

I stuff my pockets with all kinds of things. My Mum loves to tell my kids that she would refuse to empty out my pockets when I was a boy in fear of finding snakes, beetles, and spiders in them! These days you won’t find any more creepy-crawlies, but I do have the same watch my father gave me when I was 11 years old — a stainless steel Rolex Oysterdate. I prefer shirts with French cuffs, so I normally have cufflinks (Tracey Mayer designs my favorite pairs). I carry a damascus steel pocket knife, not for self-defense, but because as a photographer I always have things that need to be cut, opened, or whittled! As a music lover, I never leave home without my old school iPod (160GB version to store my collection). Obviously I carry a camera, and sometimes several, but my go-to is the Sony RX-100. It’s small, sleek, and takes photos the way I see them. I usually carry a flash drive with the last few weeks of work on it just in case. I love the Corsair Flash Survivor Stealth for this — it’s water proof, shock-proof, and looks cool! Speaking of cool, I love my Persol Film Noir sunglasses too. To keep all my tech (including my iPhone) alive, I always carry a Mophie external battery while I’m not near an outlet. Lastly I carry a keychain, but mine has a bottle opener, and a Citibike keyring in case my Land Rover doesn’t start. While I carry a lot of things, I don’t really use a man-bag, but rather, I stuff all of this into my pockets.
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Why do you EDC?

When I head out every day, I need to be prepared. Not that I am a survivalist, but I like to be able to get the job done — whether signing a check or cutting tied up plastic cords on set. I grew up with a Swiss Army Knfie in my pocket and I love the idea of preparedness, except now I have to keep a backup battery in my pocket too! I have a deep sense of loyalty to my belongings, like my watch, which I have worn for 32 years. When I find something I like, I stick with it (often buying more than one at a time in case it gets discontinued). In general, when it comes to the overall style of the things I like, I opt for timeless rather than fashionable. I love the concept of being iconic, and I would say that most of the things I love would be considered thus.
Is there a particular item that you’ve been meaning to add to your EDC?

I’m fortunate enough to have better than average eyesight. Despite having 20/10 vision I’ve been meaning to get a really good pair of pocket binoculars for years now. I love looking into the distance and trying to discern what’s what, whether in the Atlas Mountains or out sailing with my father-in-law.


While you’re often recognized for your photography, you’re an author too. Could you tell us about your new book?

I just completed my second book, Models of Influence, published by Harper Collins and on sale in February. It’s about 50 women who reset the course of fashion from the 1940's to today. The book celebrates these extraordinary ladies and delves historically as well as anecdotally in to why and how their specific beauty and personality epitomized an era, giving shape to their generation and affecting the pop culture zeitgeist forever. It's a coffee table book illustrated with hundreds of photographs by many of the worlds leading shooters and a few from me. If you are interested in fashion, beauty, and supermodels, this is the book for you. If you aren’t, check your pulse! You may be dead.


Given your decades of experience in photography, what advice would you offer to aspiring creatives and photographers who are just getting started?

I am asked on a daily basis by young photographers and film makers whether their pictures are good, if I like their portfolios, what they could do better, or what they’re doing wrong. Ultimately, as with any art form, you have to love what you do, regardless of what anyone else thinks. I am not suggesting conceit, but rather a passion for what you are creating that supersedes any single compliment or pat on the back. If you want to be a success, you have to own what you do — or no one else will. While I am happy to give you my two cents on your pictures, that is just my opinion. The bigger question is: do you really like it? Personally, I like images and films that tell a story, that have rich narrative, leading you to fantasize. I believe that it’s possible whether shooting a 6-foot Amazonian supermodel, a boulder in Death Valley, or a crashing wave in Montauk… but you need to approach the shot with the story in mind, rather than hope there’s a story in there after the fact.

See more of Nigel's work at his website, NigelBarker.tv, and connect with him on Twitter (@nigelbarker), Facebook (NigelBarkerOfficial), and Instagram (@nigelbarker).

Photos courtesy of Nigel Barker

Shop Here: Best Made Co.

Interview


Like so many worthy endeavors, it all started with an axe. Best Made Company was founded in 2009 by Peter Buchanan-Smith who wanted to create a better axe—a versatile tool that was made to last as well as look beautiful, an object to “inspire people to reconnect with their hands, craft, and nature.” Now, the company’s axes, as well as their knives, lighters, belts and more (often accompanied by their signature X-marks-the-spot branding) can be found in EDC photos all over the web, as well as the Saatchi Gallery in London. 

The shop, located at 36 White Street in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood, is an outdoorsman’s dream: wood-paneled and looking like most well-kept barn storeroom ever, it offers maps, tactical flashlights, gloves, even a bucksaw, all practical items that take on an artistic feel through the Best Made lens. The store offers unique everyday carry items you may not even know you need, like compasses and a brass “stowaway capsule,” as well as simple and well-formed flasks, scarves, and clay pipes. And while you can order most of their items online, only at their shop can you attend workshops ranging from axe restoration to field medicine to foraged cocktail making, and the professionals at Best Made not only look the part; they’re knowledgeable about their products and are always more than happy to discuss the qualities of individual tools.



Photos courtesy of Best Made Co.


Interview: Carlton Jones, Fashion Stylist

Interview

Carlton Jones is a world-renowned celebrity stylist. Since the 90’s he’s helped shape the look of some of the world’s biggest celebrities, including Jay Z, Lenny Kravitz, and Michelle Obama. He’s a well-known television fashion commentator and editor and has worked with Vogue, GQ, and Rolling Stone—to name just a few—on fashion features and shoots.

Jones is launching his own collection for men and women, and we thought we’d ask the fashion guru about his EDC, get some men’s style tips, and learn just what exactly it takes to be a stylist to the stars.

Shop Here: DSPTCH San Francisco

Interview

786 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110 // Mon-Sat: 12pm-7pm Sun: 12pm-5pm