The photographer and his skeleton PDF
Written by Pedro Meyer   


I would venture to say that most photographers have a back problem. We apparently have not been designed to carry a heavy load of camera equipment dangling from our shoulders. When I was a lot younger than I am today, I thought nothing of lugging around three or four cameras, and their lenses. Sure I might have gotten tired, but other than that I never gave it too much thought, as to what I was doing to myself.


My father always had back problems himself, yet he never advised me to be aware of how I should carry all that weight around, there just was a general lack of information about the cause and effect of such behaviors.


The fact however, is that today we do know that carrying all that weight  around for years, will inevitably affect the discs between the vertebrae of ones' spinal column. Nothing to say of the alignment of all those vertebrae.


My spinal column looks on an X-ray like a question mark, the result of a complete disregard for how I  managed the weights I would continuously dangle either from my shoulders or my neck.


My idea of writing about this is because I am sure that there are a lot of good ideas of how to cope with these issues. So let us hear from you, and share your experiences and solutions above all.


Pedro Meyer




© Pedro Meyer







Comments (7)
  • javier gonzalez vazquez  - musculos y esqueleto
    Soy un joven de 53 años y tuve problemas con mi espalda hasta llegar a estar tan rigido como una tabla. Un intenso dolor en la espalda. Con ayuda de un especialita en medicina del deporte pude recuperar mi flexibilidad, ademas de fortalecer los musculos de la espalda apropiadamente haciendo ejercicio en el gimnasio,ahora el unico que no se mueve es el tripie
  • ma.guadalupe montero garcia
    yo estoy empezando en la fotografía pero creo que es importante que uno sepa, del riesgo que acasiona cargar mucho equipo en nuestro cuerpo. Gracias por la información
  • Jon-Marc Seimon  - The solution is in your photo!
    I agree - the weight of cameras can be very hard on the vertebrae. So what I do is avoid the vertebra entirely, by keeping all the weight low. Belt bags, fanny packs - they free up the upper body, and most importantly they keep all the weight below the spine. All you need is a good sturdy pair of legs.

    Funny, because the photo above - of a pelvis - contains the solution!
  • Anonymous
    Try wheels
  • Kevin Gallagher  - The world on me
    Keep a count of how many times you actually use a piece of equipment that you have been lugging around. You may find most things are un-neccessary especially when you throughly consider the shoot you are going to. But the thing is------------ you actually have to do do do do do do what I just suggested. (;-)
  • Danilo Amílcar  - El niño ahogado.
    "Ahogado el niño... se tapa el pozo". Este refrán mexicano no puede ser más verídico que en este caso, cuando inicie en la fotografía nunca me pregunté sobre los riesgos de salud, y por lo que parece, creo que son pocos quienes lo hacen, yo no conozco a nadie, pero con los años, también surgieron problemas de columna, acentuados por un accidente en la cervical. No podría decir algo médicamente justificado, pero al menos a partir de este accidente, procuré reducir el peso, eso implicó reconsiderar el tipo de foto que hacía, dando preferencia a aquella que implicara el menor equipo posible, también empece a distribuir un poco más el peso sobre la espalda, evitando concentrarlo sobre un hombro, adapte mochilas de camping, y conocí a una persona que hacía mochilas de todo tipo. El incorporó en el diseño: una especie de cinturón (ancho) para sujetar de la cintura la mochila, con esto, además de asegurarla (comprobado en un intento de asalto), fungió a manera de faja, diseño también una "cangurera" y esto al menos ha reducido significativamente las molestias, algunos modelos de cámaras digitales que incorporan el uso de un zoom versátil, han sido de gran ayuda para mí.
  • Alfred Pagano  - A Pain in the Neck.........
    A camera of some kind (if not 2 or 3) has been a constant companion of mine since about 1970, not to mention all of the other "stuff" that goes along with it.... lenses, film (no longer), batteries, cards, flashes, flashlights, etc. So it's not just a camera. I usually have a fanny pack or backpack and things in pouches on my belt. If I go to a venue that doesn't allow cameras, I smuggle one in. I drive with one on my lap. I beat them mercilessly. I spill hot sauce on them. I don't like to be without a camera. I feel that the best place to keep your camera is in your hand. The result of this behavior is that I'm currently undergoing physical therapy for pains in my right shoulder. I also have a lot of hip and lower back pain. I normally try to load both shoulders fairly evenly so that I might be able to walk in a straight line. If I were to not carry any camera equipment, I'm sure I would involuntarily walk in circles. Solutions? I just try to transfer the weight from shoulder to shoulder or around my neck (tourist style....). I've always resisted carrying a camera around my neck, lest I look "touristy", although I'm liking it more and more. It's very convenient and I've somehow saved this body part to ruin last! When the neck goes..... I don't know what I'll do.
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