When we were nine or ten, my friend Ashley and I would spend sleepovers staying up late enough to watch infomercials.  There was something about that do-it-all kitchen chopper, or sweep-it-all rubber broom, or liquify-it-all juicer that called to us, a certain magic in the grand scope of applications for a single tool.  I suppose most of us find gratification in the perfect execution tasks, and this is what the infomercial offered in seemingly endless variations.  After her parents had gone to bed, we basked in the sea of consumer desire and the glow of the television screen.  Of course we were too young to buy anything, but the siren call of “if you phone in the next ten minutes we’ll double your order” helped us imagine the bounty of appliances we’d someday plug into our own kitchen outlets.

As I’ve gotten older, my attitude toward consumption has changed.  I’ve developed a critical eye for advertisements and am less inclined to believe that anything can really do it all.  For this reason, it is the policy of this blog not to endorse commercial products. (Actually, this blog had no policies until I just typed that–but it feels pleasantly official to have one.) However, every now and then a product comes along that makes you wonder how you lived your daily life up to this point without it.  Surely you’d agree that in such cases, policies should be flexible.  So I come to you today with a special post dedicated to: The J-Strap.

Perhaps you’ve heard of The Y-Strap (if not I highly recommend the first ten seconds of this video).  Inspired by the Y-Strap, Justin—the J-Strap head designer, company president and product user—created an adjustable camera wrist strap from traditional climbing webbing.  I was lucky enough to get a peek into the J-Strap construction process at the design studio:




Maybe you’re thinking that the J-Strap HQ looks an awful lot like my living room. Well, okay, you’re right.  This product is maufactured in my very own home by my favorite photographer. But just in case you think I may not be entirely objective in my endorsement, I submit to you the e-mail I received on Tuesday, the day after my J-Strap fitting: 

Dear Valued Member,    

We are writing to remind you that to best enjoy your new J-Strap ©, you should have your camera and J-Strap © with you everywhere you go! This might sound like a big bother at first, but you’ll soon get used to lugging around that dSLR that has a renewed sense of heft — all thanks to the J-Strap ©! Shooting with the J-Strap © renews the initial satisfaction you got when first using your camera. Try it out today!

We hope you love your J-Strap © as much as we do. Each one is crafted on an individual basis, with complimentary fitting to you, the end user. To show us your appreciation, please feel free to make a tax-deductible donation in the form of cash, in-kind contributions, or biscuits to the innovative J-Strap © creator, Justin “J-Strap ©” Barnes. 

Thanks again for your enthusiastic support of our evolving product. 

Happy shooting!

- The J-Strap © Fanclub admins

When this arrived in my inbox, I tried so hard to stifle my giggles that  both my officemate and the student he was meeting with looked up to see if I was going to choke on my apple.  What’s not to love about such personalized service?  What’s not to love about a guy who substitutes his product title for his middle name?  And the earnest overuse of exclamation marks!  So, if you buy only one camera product this year, make it the J-Strap–and if you order in the next ten minutes, I’ll ask the J-Strap creator if he’ll consider doubling your order.*  Hurry while supplies last!
*if you receive two J-Straps, you may have to pay for both of them.

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