PACKED LIVES

Tim Walker, 26, studied with Richard Avedon in New York and is currently employed as Arena's fashion and features photographer
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The Independent Travel
Stealing pictures of people's emotions in a moment is why I carry only two 35mm hand-held cameras, the smallest a photographer can use. They are never obtrusive. Big cameras, tripods, flash create a big drama and tenses up subjects so it's not an honest picture.

Everything goes into a pair of American army trousers covered in pockets. They are like an office on the move. Light meters, cameras, one pocket holds enough film for a trip and when working exposed film goes in a left- hand pocket, unexposed in the right. My British passport fits into another pocket.

Luckily photographers have a casual image, so I take minimal clothing, usually underpacking. For a week a sweater, pair of trousers, two T-shirts and underwear is enough. I have two hand luggage canvas bags, one my "week and under" size, the other "two weeks and over". I roll sweat shirts and jumpers together along with alarm clock. It takes half-an-hour to pack for a week, 40 minutes for two weeks or more.

Choosing music takes far longer. I prefer travelling in the UK if possible and tapes for the car stereo are selected to help me daydream about picture ideas. Since motorway food is awful, I take an aluminium flask of good coffee, plenty of water, and an insulated satchel I bought in an American supermarket holding healthy pre-cooked meals I've got from Waitrose - very useful when I'm up a mountain on a shoot.

If I'm staying in a B & B, I might take "uplifting" pictures torn from magazines, mostly National Geographic, to inspire me. I try to take entertainment: books, tapes, videos to fit the location I'm going to. For Wales I'll take the Manic Street Preachers' album. In Yorkshire I read Kes and saw the film. In New York working with Avedon, I read Catcher in the Rye.

Most important are my scrapbooks that go everywhere with me, a kind of visual travel diary of local postcards, sketches I make of interesting clothing or the pose of someone, say, on a Scottish ferry that I may use in a future fashion shoot. "Activity packs" are important; packages of things to keep me occupied in an hotel room, at airports, etc. These contain lists of people I've been meaning to write to, my scrapbooks, newspaper cuttings I've saved. I've never got to the end of the pack on a trip.

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