Photo Essay: Backroom Faces of Filson

Filson, one of the oldest manufacturers in the Pacific Northwest, has entered the new century, thanks to its tireless devotion to quality goods. From bags to outerwear, everything that carries Filson’s brand is built to last. I have a tote bag that has seen more milk and food spills than a toddler’s lap, and yet it marches on. It is one of my most treasured possesions and I didn’t even pay full price for it — bought in at a flea market.

Filson, which was started in 1897 by a railroad conductor to outfit those showing up for the Klondike Gold Rush, is true Americana. It has made clothes for cowboys, loggers and others who work with their hands. Lately, however it has become a bit of a hipster brand and you can see Silicon Valley types carrying the classic Filson Brief. It is so big here, that Filson is opening a store in San Francisco. Soon-ish. The funding for the expansion is being funded by Bedrock Manufacturing, a buyout group that also owns Shinola and part of Steve Alan.

Earlier this year, I visited Filson’s factory — to learn how they make those “built tough” bags and other items. Obviously, I took some photos and have been looking for an occassion to publish them. Yesterday, Filson opened a brand new 6400-square foot Seattle Flagship retail store (at 1741 First Avenue South) which is stunning and has unique selection of Filson goods. The new flagship store will attract a lot of attention and media is all over the news.

Instead of trying to gush over their goods — they are gush worthy — I decided to do a photo essay on the fine folks who work in the backrooms and the factories to make these hardwearing goods. For me, their hard work is what translates into the long lasting quality that gives the ultimate value to the brand.

A Big Sur Photo Album

As part of True Ventures’ Founder Camp, I spent a couple of days this past week in Carmel Valley.  I went on two photowalks and took photos at the camp as well. Instead of my usual Leica M-P, I borrowed a friend’s Fuji X-T1 (graphite) camera with an amazing APS-C sensor. The sensor might be smaller than the full frame 35mm cameras, but it is by no means a slouch. I used two lenses to take these photos – f2/16mm (equivalent to about 24mm on full-frame cameras) and F1.2/56mm (equivalent of about 85mm on full-frame cameras.)  Here are some photos — most of them are jpeg’s right out of the camera. A handful were touched up in LightRoom.


Select 7: forays into film (photography) 

These are seven select photos from my first ever attempt to use film. I was using a Contax T3 point and shoot which is as close to digital a film camera can get. It was loaned to me by Cliff Englert. He tells me three good photos from one roll of film is a good start. From that standpoint I should feel okay!

I was using Kodak Portra 400 film. What I like about the film — this is all the lens saw, no processing, no modification. I love the purity of the film. I think I am in love. Medium format, will be my target by 2017!


The Red Chill Car

It is my favorite photo from the month of July 2015. This beautiful and immaculately maintained original Fiat 500 was standing outside Merci, a magnificent store in Paris. I absolutely love this photo. It feels timeless, except if you look closely there is a phone in the hands of one girls sitting on the stairs outside the store. Made with Leica MP and Leica f/2 35 mm Leica lens. There are more of my favorite July 2015 photos are here on Storehouse!