Photographer, Adam Bonn, author of MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE FUJIFILM X-PRO1, has over 17 years’ experience shooting with Fujifilm. In this interview he tells us how he got in to photography, and why he loves his newest addition to his Fujifilm family; the X-Pro2.
Adam, tell us about you and your introduction to photography.
I’ve been interested in photography since the day I got a disc camera for my 14th birthday. When I was 15, my Dad lent me his SLR, and ever since then I was smitten! I started commercial work in 2002, shooting mainly corporate but also events and I’ve been working semi-professionally ever since.
I got my first Fujifilm compact camera in 2000 and I’ve owned and used Fujifilm ever since then. From the FinePix 2200 right through to the X-Pro2, I’ve been an avid Fujifilm user for over 17 years. The reason I began shooting with Fujifilm was because I wanted a digital camera from a manufacturer with experience of film. I liked Fujifilm colours and wanted access to these in the digital medium.
What was it that drew you in to the Fujifilm X Series?
When I completely left film to use a DLSR I went with Nikon. At the time, the Nikon had a more mature product in terms of feature set and lenses and my Fujifilm cameras continued to be for fun. When the mirrorless Fujifilm X Series arrived in 2012, I was immediately very interested. The X Series cameras allowed me to do all the things I could do with my Nikon kit, but with the added opportunity to keep the Fujifilm colours that I enjoyed so much. The Fujifilm control set was very much from an analogue perspective, which was the way I was taught to use a camera. In that respect, I felt at home with the X Series – I already knew how to use it before I picked it up.
Which camera do you currently use the most and why does it work for your style of documentary photography?
I currently shoot with the FUJIFILM X-Pro2. It’s just so versatile; the ‘rangefinder’ shape of the camera is a big positive, as it doesn’t scream ‘professional camera’ and people are not intimidated to be shot by it. The X-Pro2 can be effortlessly carried all day, hidden under a jacket if needed and I can take it anywhere. When you love something that’s essentially a tool, you feel inspired to work well with it.
I like to work in manual focus and exposure modes. This gives me control over how the image turns out. The various film simulations that the Fujifilm cameras offer help me understand the final look of the image, before I’ve hit the shutter. But the X-Pro2’s main draw for me is how the optical and electronic viewfinders work so well together. The optical viewfinder, with the framelines works particularly well for documentary and people and also makes you feel like you’re physically in the scene when you’re looking at something with a real-life view. The electronic viewfinder gives you a very clear idea of how the image will look after capture and having the two views available for use, both independently and simultaneously, is invaluable, only Fujifilm offer this technology and I’m a huge fan.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’m primarily a colour photographer and I draw inspiration from as many places as possible, like old movies and adverts! For me, colour is part of the narrative – we can add a dimension to our images by authenticating them with a perception of colour. I’m always looking out for colour, be it the sky, what’s on TV, artwork and, of course, other photographers.
Do you have any tips you could share with us?
I would describe my photography style as documentary. I like to portray a subject in a fairly straightforward way – I want the viewer to know what they’re looking at – so typically I use three visual elements to compose the scene. Overall, relax, take your time and think about what you want your shot to look like before you start. Don’t just go hunting for something to shoot, instead decide what you’d like to photograph and go and find it.
Finally, over 17 years, you must have taken thousands of photos. If you could pick one favourite photo that you’ve taken, which one would it be and why?
Probably the image below, “Trying Mummy’s Breakfast”. It’s far from my most technically adroit piece of work, but it documents life. I’m emotionally connected to the subjects and I love the colours. This shot to me demonstrates what’s important in my photography, a moment in time and intimacy. The Fujifilm cameras are the ones I’ve got used to having to hand, ready for those moments that might have otherwise gone un-captured.
More from Adam Bonn
You can read more about my Fujifilm X-Pro story here.
You can view my work on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/adzman/