Fuji-x Photographer (english)
“What camera are you using?”
“it is a Film Camera?”
“It is an old camera?”
This is one of the most asked question may that be in the streets, in a bar, or in a professional Assignment…people is curious, they’re used to the professional photographer walking around with heavy and big cameras and long zoom lenses.
My Assistant uses Nikons and often they spot him as the main photographer and that’s funny so I can shoot in a more free way, people pays less attention at me and I can focus on getting what I search for.
But why these Cameras?
First, it may be useful to understand what’s photography for me…
Photography for me is a diary of life, more than everything else, I am NOT the kind of photographer that shoots only on definite mission or, worse again, only as a job. Photography is a tool for expression for me, is my way of living and I never step out of home without a camera of some kind, and I’m not talking about my Phone 🙂
Photography documented and recorded my life, it recorded sweet, changing, tragic and lovely moments…it helps me understand, express and give sense to what I live, the shutter goes down in a totally instinctive way.
This kind of approach stays with me even nowadays; first because a large amount of my time is dedicated to following my personal projects that usually end up in printed book and Fanzines, or exhibitions and then because what I tried to put in my professional work was the same approach. Today the market is so competitive and everyone can buy the latest camera and shoot in a clean way without the experience you needed when you had to expose color slides, where half-stop means a wasted shot and you had to imagine the picture in your head and I think that having something to say was way more precious than making sharp photographs that have nothing to say.
That pushes me in a really small niche market, but that’s exactly what I wanted to do, I don’t want a working overflow…I wanted to become a full-time professional photographer in 2004 as long as I was able to have fun with it and express me in the way I loved, and I still have a lot of fun with a camera in my hand.
Ok, but still why these Cameras? 😉
Professional photography can push you in the need of dedicated tools, and often they are big and heavy. There are specific genres of photography where what follows cannot apply, but usually if you are used to have a constant companion camera, you’ll know how, sooner or later, any heavy or bigger camera ends up staying home…you know that approaching strangers with big and noisy cameras can be hard sometimes…a smaller camera can be transported in an easier way, it avoids to destroy your back after a year full of assignments and it keeps intact the discrete and less-invasive way of shooting, even when you’re payed for it. Your face is not hidden behind a big dslr and so you can interact with your subjects in an easy way. Your second eye is not blinded and you can feel, observe and absorb what’s around you.
this makes a BIG difference when you are shooting.
You can operate these cameras with one hand, shooting then in a more instinctive rather than controlled way in the same way as you take snapshots of your daily life…
For two years I have followed an Assignment from Pirelli, i had to cover the destruction of an old factory and the building of a new modern one, studied by Renzo Piano, it was an eco-friendly innovative technology hosting building…it means car trips, trains, two helicopter fly, construction areas where you hardly walk, going under giant machinery for gum production searching for details, walking over the production machines on thin iron bridges..I can hardly imagine doing it with my old Canon dslrs and lenses.
Of course, you can do it with something else if you’re ok with it, but why I should add that weight and loss of freedom I have?
Same was for a Major Lawyer studio that contacted me to represent the mood of their offices in Florence and Milan…I walked for days almost unnoticed in their daily routines, try to catch what I felt as their way of operating their job…it is really nice to work in this way, with a tool that is as simple as a brick with 3 dials and a lens attached to it…
What I really love about these cameras is the simple interface of dials and basic commands: focus, aperture, shutter…the rest can be set in a simple and direct way. it is not like a Leica, it is more a Contax G digital camera, because you have anyway AF, ant that helps when you’re tired…i don’t care having a fast one, a help is more than what I need, since I rely more on zone focus and hyper-focal focus, usually….I’m used at this by rangefinder photography.
Lenses are SUPER. They are small, fast and really good. The 35 1.4, 23 1.4 and 60 2.4 cover almost anything I need with a quality that i haven’t found anywhere else….and for the price, that’s a wonderful investment… There is not a single reason for me to switch back to the DSLR days, since it’s so more funny now, and easy, and similar to my personal stuffs that my clients choose and know me for.
Where’s the link with your works?
I shoot a lot of personal things still on film…that’s my choice and way of doing since to me it’s really important to print and produce something tangible, that you can touch…like a printed book. But i print a lot of digital stuffs, and when it comes to my personal stuffs, I don’t like to have to switch to something really different, so I use the same cameras, that i know and rely on totally. Same style: discrete, lees intrusive as possible, simple and lightweight.
Are you saying that I can’t shoot in the same way with something else?
everyone can obtain pictures using different mediums with the right approach…even large format cameras can be used to shoot sports, for example. But I believe that a simple and small cameras can give you more freedom and in this case, wonderful publishing, printable and professional use quality files.
These cameras are capable of working at high ISO like nothing I have experienced before, with the best lenses I ever had.
There are so many more pictures to see, but check my websites or meet me at some x-tour meeting…
have a nice day everyone!! 🙂
What I shoot (September 2014)
I am a simple person, I like to focus on few tools and move around, like discussed before…
if I’m on Assignment I put two bodies (x-pro1 and xe-1) with 18 (usually stays home since I have the zoom), 23, 27 pancake, 18/55 zoom and 60 Macro in a Think tank Urban disguise Bag… there’s everything I may need inside… several batteries for days of shooting, SD card holder, rain cover for cameras, bag and myself, mints, visit card, moleskine, pen…inside there’s a battery charger, lens-cleaning kit and room for my Macbook air and Manfrotto Led lighting system, if needed for any reason… I can easily carry all this without destroying my back…
When I work, 99% of the time, the x-pro with the 23 is what I use…optic finder makes it easy to see clearly when I work in manual with small apertures, for example when I use flash in hyperfocal setting.
The xe-1 with the 27 is my daily camera, so little that is like a compact, i use it with a wrist strap, since a neck strap is way too much for it.
These cameras help me to take away the stress and heavy side of working, give me more freedom and stunning quality results, that’s why i don’t think I will step back to the old weights…if I ever need something really specific, I can rent it.
A generation of photographers used cameras similar to these in the film days, the philosophy is the same, after all…simple and less intrusive approach, quality, easy to carry and fascinating cameras.
You can check my works here:
Most of my attention is still dedicated to my personal projects that I keep following:
My personal Blog: Gabriele Lopez Photography
I am a member os Oscura, website dedicated to the culture and promotion of paper based zines Photography:
Thanks, and have fun!! Gabriele