X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – Billy Thompson

This month, Irish native Billy Thompson brightens our palette with some dazzling seascapes and nature photography. Learn why he loves the X-T2 and how he finds opportunity in everyday places.

Blue Moon – XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – F8 – 0.9 sec – ISO 200 

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

Hi everyone! I am Billy Thompson and I am a keen amateur photographer. I was born in Northern Ireland, and spent most of my childhood and early adult life living and working in County Antrim. In 2007, my work brought my family and I to South Australia where we now live. Our home is in the north western suburb of North Haven, about 22 km out of Adelaide. North Haven offers a relaxed beachside lifestyle, and it is the perfect base for getting to fantastic photography locations in and around Adelaide. Adelaide arguably has the best sunsets in the world!

 

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

Growing up in Ireland, I was fascinated by the changes that each season brought. In particular I loved the coming of spring, the new growth, and the feeling of renewal and warmth. As a boy I started to play around with an old film camera and tried hard to capture the moments of rejuvenation that spring brought each year. Many years later, having moved to Australia I again fell in love with photography. It was a perfect means of capturing life in a new country. Fujifilm equipment provides me with a camera and lens system that meets my needs, creates crystal clear images, and has a lightweight setup tough enough to take anywhere. My X-T2 brings back fond memories of that old film camera I used as a boy.

Largs Jetty – XF 10-24mmF4 – F8 – 2.6 sec – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

At heart, I’m a landscape photographer. I love nature, getting out with my camera exploring new locations, or revisiting familiar ones hoping to find a perfect composition. My preferred time of day to shoot is definitely around sunset; the change in light provides so much opportunity to nail a great shot. My strategy is all about taking photographs that make people stop and really look at what I have captured. I always aim to create images that will allow people to see just what I saw in that moment.

 

 

What inspires your photography?

 

I’m inspired by the beauty that is around us, not only the beauty found at iconic locations, but also the beauty that is right at our fingertips, in our backyards, on a local beach, or in the streets we walk everyday. Photography makes me look at and see the world in a different way. My brother-in-law Martin was an avid photographer and had the uncanny knack of being able to capture a shot that made you stop and look into the scene. Martin’s work and influence inspires me to take better shots.

The Bay – XF10-24mmF4 – F11 – 1 sec – ISO 100

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light to photograph in?

 

My favourite shots almost always contain a water element — river and oceanside locations are prominently featured in my work. Living close to the beach and the Port Adelaide River makes it easy to get out, and more often than not a seascape or riverscape shot is what catches my eye. The light at the end of the day is my preferred option, not just for the sunsets but also for that soft golden light that comes just before and after the sunset. After sunset, I will often hang around to watch the light slowly melt into blue hour.

 

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

I have lots of fond memories from photo sessions, but if I had to pick a favourite it would have to be from a recent trip to Innes National Park in South Australia. Innes is a special place and the beauty of the area is just jaw dropping. To be honest, I don’t think my shots did it justice, but I loved the experience of being there and trying to capture it. It’s going to be a regular photography location for me in the future.

 

 

Can you tell us what your favourite Fujifilm camera to use is and why?

 

I shoot with the Fujifilm X-T2 and what impresses me most is the image quality. The images are just awesome straight out of the camera. Another joy is how lightweight and easy it is to use. The controls are very intuitive and give me the personalised options that I want right at my fingertips.

The Old Port – XF10-24mmF4 – 26 sec – F11 – ISO 200

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

I currently own three Fujinon lenses; the XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS stays on my camera 90% of the time. It’s a great general purpose lens that produces exceptionally sharp images. When I’m in full landscape mode and want to get that big foreground element, I reach for my XF10-24mmF4 R OIS. This lens is amazing, I love the results I get from it. When I need that little bit of extra low light capability, I opt for the super sharp XF14mmF2.8 R. This little lens is a joy to use and when travelling it is my go-to wide angle lens.

 

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I always shoot in RAW. I like to have total control of the post creative aspect of my work, and shooting in RAW allows me to do that. My typical workflow is copy the RAW file to Lightroom and convert it to DNG via Irident X-Transformer and then I post process in Lightroom. Occasionally I will use Photoshop to help with cleanup, removing unwanted objects, or for photo-stacking to help get total front to back sharpness.

 

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc? Other preferences?

 

As I mentioned earlier, my preferred time of day to shoot is without a doubt in the late evening around sunset. I like to slow the shutter speed down and to do that I use neutral density filters. I find that aperture priority mode is my default setting. It allows me to shoot at F8 to F13 which results in front to back sharp images and the ability to control my shutter speed to get that long-exposure look. ISO is almost always at 100 or 200, although in low light I will use ISO as a means of controlling my shutter speed to perfection. The X-T2 has fantastic dynamic range and bumping up the ISO can be done with absolute confidence.

 

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

For me, there are three elements: composition, light and opportunity. Taking the opportunity to be out there as often as you can will allow you to hone your framing and composition skills and then just maybe when you get that perfect light you will be ready to nail your magic shot.

Haven – XF18-55mmF2.8-4 – F8 – 7 sec – ISO 100

 

To see more of Billy’s work visit his 500px portfolio or follow him on Instagram – @BTAdelaide.

 

If you or someone you know in Australia is interested in joining our X-Thusiast community, check out the full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details here.

 

 

 

 

 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – David Tan

Our first X-Thusiast of 2018 evokes passion and inspiration with his colourful landscape photography. Learn how Singapore native David Tan uses his Fujifilm X-T1 to capture tranquil waters and sprawling outdoor scenes.

Kirkjufell – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 58 sec – F8​ – ISO 200

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where are you from?

 

Hey everyone! My name is David, and I was born and raised in Singapore. I’ve been living on the Gold Coast for the past year and am in the midst of completing my Bachelor of Pharmacology. My photography focus started around weddings and portraiture but has moved purely to travel and landscapes in recent years. I have been in love with the Fujifilm collection for the past three years and am absolutely honoured to be featured by Fujifilm Australia.

 

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

While hiking up a mountain in Norway with my DSLR and heavy photography gear, I realised I wanted something a lot more compact and light that had the image quality I was looking for. A friend introduced me to the X-T1 and after a bit of research, I made the jump to Fujifilm and have never looked back. The X-T1 produces amazing colours, is intuitive to use and is easy to bring along on my travels, which is important to me.

Vestrahorn – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

Tough question! I think my style is pensive, quiet and to an extent, almost melancholic. I commonly incorporate water movement as it really adds to the depth of the photo. That combined with beautiful geographic formations is what really does it for me. Funny enough, I don’t like having people in my landscapes, though I’m quite a people person. I may possibly explore that in the future.
As for strategy, it is quite straightforward. Find awesome locations, wait till sunset then photograph it!

 

 

What inspires your photography?

 

Nature. Every time I see a mountain, waterfall or lake, I immediately want to photograph it. They seem so peaceful and I could sit there the whole day looking at it. At sunrise and sunset, it’s pure magic.

 

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light to photograph in?

 

Iceland is the definite winner, it has amazing landscapes which change so dramatically within such a short distance and looks almost out of this world. Australia and New Zealand also have really beautiful landscapes and are much closer for me to travel to.

I absolutely love shooting at sunrise and sunset; the light is golden and the sky gets some crazy colours. It’s the best when the light hits from the side and you get such a good depth.

Stokksnes – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 125 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

My favourite memory would be photographing Vestrahorn, Iceland. Driving around Iceland for eight days, eating hot dogs and sleeping in the car was an absolute experience. I didn’t know about Vestrahorn but when I drove past, the mountains against the black sand and ocean, I knew I had go back. I remember trying out a technique to stretch the mountains in-camera and was so excited to process the photo when I got back. It ended up being my favourite photo of the trip!

 

 

Can you tell us what your favourite Fujifilm camera to use is and why?

 

I’ve only ever owned and used the Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite. It’s an amazing camera, aesthetically pleasing, shoots great photos and does everything I need it to do. The X-T2 would be an awesome upgrade and maybe the X100F might slip in there too!

Nugget Point – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F11 – ISO 200

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

For my landscape work, I exclusively use the XF 10-24mm F4. It’s got the focal range I need and has amazing image quality, much love for this lens. The XF 56mm F1.2 and XF 35mm F1.4 are also amazing lenses that I have used. Very sharp lenses, great colour and flare.

 

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I’m a very straightforward workflow kind of guy. 30s shutter speed, ISO 200, f16, manual focus, 10-stop ND filter and tripod. This sets me up for the majority of my shots and really helps to keep me focused with composition rather than worrying about all the settings. I shoot JPEG + RAW which allows me to process multiple exposures of my photos in camera, which I then bring into Photoshop. Simple luminance masking brings back any details lost in shadows, luminance toning, colour toning, selective sharpening and a slight vignette to finish it all off!

 

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc? Other preferences?

 

Get comfortable with the technical side of it and know which parameters you need to achieve the look you’re going for, everything else is just compensation. A great way to start is aperture or shutter speed control. Once that’s down, your mind is free to explore the creative side of things without having to worry about the technical.
Again, I am a huge advocate of shooting during sunset, the light is golden, colours are vibrant and everything just looks beautiful. I’m also a lot more awake at sunset compared to sunrise. Knowing the location and how you plan on photographing it is also important for landscapes as it will determine if sunrise or sunset will work better for the photo.

 

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Make memories, not just photos. Too many times have I just gone out just to photograph an amazing location to come back home realising I didn’t soak it all in. Enjoy the view, sit on it and then, take the photo.

Arnarstapi – Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 30 sec – F16 – ISO 200

 

Would you like to become our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

 

 

 

 

 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – Alessia Francischiello

This month’s featured photographer is Italian-born Alessia Francischiello, a freelance photographer with lots of wisdom to share about getting the right shot and finding the best photos even in the most unlikely places.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

Hi to all Fujifilm lovers. I am Alessia Francischiello and come from Italy. I’ve been living in Australia for the last four years and it’s been full of opportunities in the photography field, especially thanks to Fujifilm, which I have been using for the last three years. I am, in fact, honoured to be featured by Fujifilm Australia, which is the greatest company I ever dealt with. I work in a camera store in Sydney and am a freelance photographer. My passion for photography started about seven years ago while living in Rome, mostly interested in street and architectural style. Studying photography for several years in Italy and Australia caused my interest to turn to portraiture, as I am a real people person. My photography now is mostly beauty and fashion, with a few publications done for magazines around the world, but I also enjoy landscape and street photography.

 

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

I haven’t always been a Fujifilm shooter because when I started there weren’t all the amazing options we have now with this brand. Since I bought my first X-T1 my passion for photography grew more and more, thanks to the excellence of the products and the feeling of comfort using them. I felt so confident in shooting portraits thanks to the discretion of the equipment and its portability. I also enjoy the colours and the old style dials on top of the cameras which are great for people who just shoot manual like I do.

‘Black Soul’ – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR – F5.6 – 1/125 second – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

My style is made by anything that communicates effectively and is enjoyable for the viewers. Mostly studio or outdoor fashion and beauty style.

 

I like to keep it natural as much as I can. I like new and original ideas. I take my time to create mood boards and work closely with makeup artists and models to make sure we always have innovative and creative content.

 

 

What inspires your photography?

 

People! I love being around people and making them feel comfortable (models or not), which is an easy task with Fujifilm equipment. How many of you felt like paparazzi when using a big DSLR? Well, I did! I like discretion and not being invasive showing off my equipment to everyone.

‘Simple is Perfect’ – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 R – F1.2 – 1/500 second – ISO 200

 

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light to photograph in?

 

Australia is full of places to take stunning shots. I love water and beaches, which are not hard to find here. I love natural light because you have to deal with it and it pushes you to think about it. I am also fascinated by studio lighting because it is editable and you can learn how to control it to make your own ideas come true.

 

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

I have many memories and positive experiences. But I can say the best moment I remember is during my last beauty session, shot with studio lights indoor, where this model was so into the role of punk diva that we laughed genuinely for half an hour.

 

 

Can you tell us which is your favourite Fujifilm camera to use and why?

 

I currently use X-T2 and a bunch of XF lenses that all work smooth on it. Its fast performance allows me to shoot in any situation and any weather, because it’s weather-sealed, and I feel comfortable not worrying about it. I shoot in windy and sandy situations, rainy, low light and it never lets me down. The low light capability in this new version is astonishing and I wouldn’t change it. I love its ergonomic grip which makes it easy to balance with any kind of lens, like for example the XF50-140mmF2.8.

 

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

I love my XF56mm1.2 R! The best lens I have ever used and the speed and sharpness allows me to use it in studio or outdoor without limits. Even at F1.2 the sharpness doesn’t look compromised and this is one of the most important characteristics I like about it.

 

My second favourite lens is the XF18mmF2. It’s affordable, small and fast. It’s my first choice when I am on holiday, hiking or with friends in day or nighttime, because it’s discrete and the sharpness is high standard for the price you pay.

 

I have to say, Fujifilm is the only brand with such great quality lenses in any price range, and for any kind of shooters.

‘Natural Beauty’ – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 – F2.2 – 1/125 second – ISO 200

 

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I am not a big fan of post-processing but when you work with models and fashion products you don’t have much choice. I always try to keep my work as real as possible and help the viewer to recognise the real beauty. I use mostly Lightroom for quick editing and Photoshop for deeper improvements. Both perfectly compatible with Fujifilm files.

 

I always shoot Raw+JPEG. Raw is necessary for me, especially for work, because I want to have the best file I can to work on after. I am fascinated by the quality of JPEGs in this camera: Colours are shiny and real, quality is amazing despite the compression and having the WiFi option, I love to share the JPEGs straight out of the camera, especially when on holiday and have no time to do post-processing.

 

As you can see, these products can be used for really any kind of photography.

‘Innocence’ – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 – F2 – 1/5000 second – ISO 200

 

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc.? Other preferences?

 

Have fun and enjoy your moments with the camera! I never had more fun shooting in my life than now that I am using these products. I feel I can do anything I want with it in my hands. Some people told me this is not the best brand if I wanted to do studio photography. Well, my pictures speak for me.

 

A tip for X-T2 shooters: Get your Power Booster Grip and use it all the time. It’s perfect to balance long telephoto lenses or to get better performance from your camera anywhere, anytime. I always have it with me and it makes the difference.

 

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Don’t think a portrait is good just when the background is blurred or a landscape is stunning only when it’s all sharp. Be creative, help innovate the way people look at images. Create a story, not only a picture. What remains of them nowadays is just a big file on your computer unless you’re able to push yourself to the limits and try something different. And if you own a Fujifilm camera you’ll understand how good it feels when you’re equipment thinks like you do, responds to your needs and is your loyal friend in any situation.

 

Don’t buy a camera because it looks professional, buy it because when you use it — it makes you feel you’re doing the right thing, learn on it and make mistakes. The best photos are the ones you weren’t meant to take.

‘Simple is Perfect 2’ – Fujifilm X-T2 with XF56mmF1.2 – F7.1 – 1/125 second – ISO 200

 

To see more of Alessia’s photography follow her on Instagram, Facebook or visit alessiafrancischiello.com

 

Interested in becoming our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer – Stephen Vincent-Grace

We caught up with photographer Stephen Vincent-Grace this month to learn more about how to capture the beauty of the world, and find out what inspires him to continue to pursue photography as a hobby.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

My name is Stephen Vincent-Grace, although everyone knows me as SVG. I am originally from Adelaide but have lived in Italy, England and the U.S.A. and have now settled in Melbourne, where I am product manager for a creative online marketplace. Besides photography, I am a crazy soccer fan and love to travel with 37 countries ticked off my bucket list.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

My interest in Fujifilm developed when I was on a trip to New York a few years back. I had my DSLR gear and over a three-week period took it out twice due to the pain of carrying it around everywhere. Subsequently after that trip I didn’t take a photo for over a year. I knew then it was time to sell the DSLR and look for something else. The X-Pro2 had just come out and I needed a camera. I instantly fell in love with the rangefinder look and manual dials of the brand. I read reviews and I was sold on Fujifilm and have been in love with it ever since.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF16mmF1.4 R WR – 1.3 seconds – F5 – ISO 200

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

Interesting question. I would say my style is still evolving; at the moment it’s about big iconic landscapes and cityscapes with lots of colours but I am also exploring something different from this. I am working on something surrounding the ACROS film simulation with not a landscape in sight. In regards to my strategy, so far it is to research places that inspire me and then plan to see them and share my take on them.

 

What inspires your photography?

 

I get inspired by the the Fujifilm X community, from official X photographers such as Elia Locardi and Jonas Rask (who are my idols) to fellow Fujifilm X enthusiasts. I see what they can create and it inspires me to know that we are all using the same tools and that I can hopefully create beautiful photos like everyone else. It’s nice to know there is a community out there that is passionate and positive.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 20 seconds – F10 – ISO 100

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light for photography?

 

I just love diverse and beautiful landscapes, so it has to be Iceland and New Zealand. They are a photographer’s paradise and they are small enough you can see so many different sites in a short period of time. If I am not wanting a landscape, then for the amazing skyline or cool street photos, it has to be New York City. For me, when it comes to light, it’s the tried-and-tested formula of sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is amazing as it’s hard to do, as you have to get up so early but that is why it is so rewarding because you get lovely, soft light and there are usually not many people around. I think the blue hour is magical too, especially at sunset.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 1 second – F11 – ISO 100

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

My favourite memory is going to Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland. I went to Iceland for five days and hired a tiny campervan and tried to get a few shots in a small amount of time. The magic of Aldeyjarfoss was that I had to drive to a spot in the middle of nowhere, sleep the night at the bottom of a path that could only be accessed via four-wheel drive or on foot. The next morning I got up at 4am, walked 45 minutes with no maps, hoping I was going the right way. When I got there, it was so magical that I got emotional because of how beautiful it was and the adventure of getting there.

 

Can you tell us what’s your favourite Fujifilm camera and why?

 

My favourite camera is the one I own, the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I just love the look and feel of the camera. It can be used as a general purpose camera for travel and landscape or it can be the iconic rangefinder street camera. I probably shouldn’t admit this but it sits on my desk at home and sometimes I just look at it and admire the aesthetic of the camera or just pick it up for no reason.

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm X-Pro2 and why?

 

My current lens lineup starts with the XF35mmF2, which I use for general walk-around, weddings for friends and family and sometimes for landscapes if my XF10-24mmF4 is too wide. The next is the XF10-24mmF4, which I purely use for landscapes and cityscapes. I absolutely love this lens, although it would be even more amazing if it had weather sealing. The last lens I own is XF56mmF1.2, which I use for portraits and weddings for friends. I intend on getting the XF55-200mm as I need a telephoto for that extra reach on some of my travel adventures. I have also just seen the newly announced XF8-16mmF2.8 WR; if it lives up to expectations and isn’t crazy big then I might have to add that, too!

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 25 seconds – F9 – ISO 100

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I shoot mostly RAW, I import the photos, just copying them over to my computer then use Photo Mechanic for the cull process. I then use Adobe LR and Nik Collection and a touch of Photoshop for sharpening and corrections if needed. I have just become a Capture One Beta tester, so I want to teach myself how to use this software as I have heard it handles the X-Trans raws a lot better than Adobe. I do use JPEG when I shoot in ACROS as I have read the JPEGs are tied so closely to the processor that there is a slight difference when coming straight out of camera.

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc.? Other preferences?

 

I don’t think I have specific tips as I feel settings really depend on the lighting conditions you are in or what style of photography you are doing. However, my general tips would be first and foremost read the manual of your camera inside out. I actually bought a tip book for the Fujifilm X-Pro2, which explained in detail some of the functions that helped me get the most of my camera and understand some of the settings and how to best set them. I also follow so many blogs and photography Twitter feeds and always find something new I didn’t know. Finally, just keep practicing and use the camera as much as you can.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF10-24mmF4 R OIS – 9 seconds – F10 – ISO 250

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Enjoy your Fuji camera, go out and shoot and love the photography journey you are on. It’s a journey that never has to end and can go anywhere you want to take it.

 

To see more of Stephen’s photography follow him on Instagram, PhotoDune or visit his website.

 

Are you interested in becoming our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Grant Ashford

Street photographer Grant Ashford shares his unique photography methods and what inspires him to capture ordinary people doing everyday things. We caught up with Grant and learned about his experience with the X-Pro2.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where are you from?

 

I live in Sydney but grew up in Darwin, Northern Territory. I became interested in photography when given a Kodak pocket Instamatic film camera for my 13th birthday. Many years later I took some shots of a dark, thunderous storm front rolling in off the sea and decided then I’d love to be a professional photographer.

 

I began submitting articles to some popular Australian magazines by photographing and interviewing some of the unique characters living in the territory. The stories often veered to the far end of poetic license to fit the magazine’s criteria — I spun some good old Aussie yarns, to be honest. But all of my articles were accepted, and it wasn’t long before editors from the U.K. and U.S. were calling to buy second publishing rights.

 

After working in the glamour-shot industry for ten years, I packed away my cameras and decided to get out of photography altogether.

 

A few years later I was in Tijuana being a tourist wandering the back streets and wound up in a dodgy area. Oblivious, I was snapping away with my SLR when a little lady came over to me and said, “Señor! Put that camera away. You will be robbed.” As I turned the corner, I saw an American tourist being chased by a gang of locals. I immediately tucked the camera under my shirt.

 

This place intrigued me, so I remained on the street and started shooting from the hip with the camera lens peeking out from under my shirt. When I processed the film, I loved the prints. I had captured the naturalness of people doing their everyday things without being aware they were being photographed. It felt like a spiritual awakening. I found something I loved, and I seemed to know where to point instinctively. Every corner I turned was a scene unfolding before me, and I was in street photographers’ paradise.

“Cant Stop Cool” – Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/200 second – F4 – ISO 1250

 

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

Two years ago, I noticed a lot of Instagram street photographers were singing the praises of Fujifilm cameras and after a bit of research, I bought a Fujifilm X100T. I loved the feel and compactness of the rangefinder but felt a little constrained with the 23mm fixed lens. Luckily, the new Fujifilm X-Pro2 just came on the market, so I sold the X100T and bought the X-Pro2 and a zoom lens. I carry the camera everywhere now and absolutely love it.

 

 

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

I like to photograph everyday people doing everyday things. However, I’m always on the lookout for funny or unusual juxtapositions people unwittingly place themselves in.

 

My technique is somewhat different. I hold the camera upside down with a wrist strap, and shoot one-handed from all different angles without looking in the viewfinder. I like to keep eye contact with the subject while I’m shooting. So I may be speaking with someone while getting very close and wide shots. They’re usually aware they’re being photographed but because I keep them engaged it stays unposed. Years of shooting like this enable me to know what I’m getting composure-wise. It keeps people at ease as they’re expecting me to look through the camera and say “cheese.” I don’t shoot hipshot much either these days. My technique is more like a gunslinger — grab the shot fast.

 

I walk all over the place searching for opportunities. The city’s like a theater brimming with wonderful sets and scenes and amazing actors and I’m like the inconspicuous scrap of newspaper scurrying on the breeze un-noticed through the crowd.

“Life at the Cross Roads” – Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR – 1/400 second – F14 – ISO 1000

 

What inspires your photography?

 

Always at the back of my mind, I’m thinking about chronicling our current fashions, trends, and technologies for future generations to see how we lived.

 

When I was starting out, I would spend hours at the library browsing books by photographers W. Eugene Smith and Robert Capa and many others. I dissected the photos that interested me, analyzing composure, lighting and mood. I particularly liked the intimacy of Eugene Smith’s “Country Doctor” photo essay.

“Selfie Help” – Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF18mmF2 R – 1/320 second – F5.6 – ISO 3200

 

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light?

 

Wherever there’s a crowd is where I want to be. I like old architecture and try to include that as background in portraits if possible; it gives a nice feel to an image. The CBD always has beautiful reflected light bouncing off the buildings.

“Smooth Operator” – Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF18mmF2 R – 1/210 second – F2.8 – ISO 1000

 

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

I assisted legendary landscape photographer Peter Jarver on an expedition into the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia a couple of years before he died. Peter taught me so much about photography. The light was foremost to Peter, and there were many pre-dawn treks by torchlight into the canyons. He used a Horseman large-format 4×5 camera and taught me some very valuable techniques — such as simply keeping horizons level — that I see many budding landscape photographers fail to do.

“Time Never Waits” – Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF18mmF2 R – 1/210 second – F5 – ISO 1000

 

 

Can you tell us your favourite Fujifilm camera and why?

 

I can only speak on the Fujifilm X-Pro2, and it is a wonderful camera that goes everywhere with me. I love the old-school appearance, yet the technology inside is far from old. The quality of the images is excellent, and those Fujinon lenses are superb pieces of glass. I rarely use my other professional cameras anymore; the Fujifilm is the golden child.

 

 

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm X-Pro2 and why?

 

I’m using the Fujinon XF16-55mmF2.8 lens all the time. It provides good range from the wide 16mm street work or 55mm portrait lens, and the fast F2.8 gathers light well in darker locations. I’ve heard good reviews on the Fujinon XF10-24mmF4 but haven’t used one yet. I think that will be the next lens I try.

“Chilled to the Bone”- Fujifilm X-PRo2 with XF18mmF2 R – 1/220 second – F3.2 – ISO 1250

 

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I now use both Affinity Photo and Snapseed on the iPad Pro for my processing. I transfer JPEG files from the camera via Wi-Fi through the Fujifilm Camera Remote App. I make a few tweaks in Affinity, then upload to Instagram and Facebook. For safekeeping, I back up images to an external hard drive.

 

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc.? Other preferences?

 

When I’m shooting on the street I like to make things easy for myself and with the X-Pro2 I can -the camera does all the work. I use AWB and set aperture, shutter and focus all to auto and I make manual adjustments with ISO dial. The daylight between buildings is quite balanced and the camera performs well in this environment. Any tricky lighting situations I switch to manual, and I’m not shy to push the ISO toward 10,000+.

 

I was lucky to begin photography before digital because the cost of film and processing made me think about what I was doing and to make each shot count you had to get things right. That’s why I don’t feel guilty using the camera on full auto — it’s a luxury I allow myself.

 

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

I’m often asked by many photographers how I get so close to my subjects. The simple answer you’ve got to be bold, be alert and be ready. It’s usually fear of rejection that stops us from approaching someone, but to be good at anything you have to get out of the comfort zone. It won’t stay uncomfortable for long. I try to strike up a conversation; people generally like to talk about themselves.

 

To see more photography from Stephen follow him on Instagram, Facebook or Google+

 

Are you interested in becoming our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

 

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Harrison Candlin

Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our sixth interview in Series Three is with Brisbane based photographer, Harrison Candlin.

Harrison, your travel, adventure and landscape photography is spectacular. Why do you think you were drawn to photography and how will it impact your future career?

 

I think the reason I became so fond of photography is because of my father. I would like to say I followed in his footsteps. As a retired professional landscape and wildlife photographer, he always inspired me by his landscape imagery and how a person could capture and convey a scene with a camera. The ability to document the world around us; specifically, the natural world, opened my eyes to the possibilities of photography and how it could lead me to places and see things a bit differently to everyone else. As a travel, adventure and landscape photographer, I attempt to capture the true surroundings and emotional feelings of a scene. To me, that’s something that cannot be replaced, and this is how my style has evolved. Travelling around Australia and Europe has broadened my horizons immensely. Only four years ago I hadn’t travelled anywhere. I think the more of the world I get to see, the more landscape I can walk, and the more culture I experience, the deeper my perspective of the world will become. I’ll be a graduate Industrial Designer in a month, so having knowledge of the world is fundamental for design.

 

 

You mentioned on social media you used the Fujifilm X-E2S and Fujifilm X-Pro1. Can you provide some insight into why you choose a rangefinder over a Digital SLR?

 

They are both excellent cameras that have performed exceptionally well. Having previously owned DSLR’s, I never felt overly comfortable with using them and just never felt at home. The Fujifilm system is incredibly discreet and compact, and the light weight factor was a major selling point. The unique conservative design was different to the regular camera shape, and that caught my attention dramatically. Back in 2013 when I saw Fujifilm release the interchangeable lens system of the X-Pro1, I was captivated by its size, retro style, and image quality. Since then, Fujifilm and mirrorless cameras in general, have taken a huge leap forward in competition with DSLR’s. I think the major reason for wanting to own a rangefinder is its direct correlation to its old film predecessors. It makes me feel connected to photography, not just part of it.

 

 

Based on your experience, how would you describe Fujifilm’s quality when talking about image quality and the design of X Series cameras?

 

The image quality is superb. The colour rendition is phenomenal, and editing capability in the RAW files is outstanding for an APS-C sensor. Regarding design, Fujifilm to me has led the way in beautiful classic, refined cameras. The materials are solid, well-constructed and I feel the sense of true craftsmanship and dedication when using them.

 

 

Do you have a favourite location to photograph? How did you stumble upon it?

 

For me when I photograph in nature, I pursue the feeling of reflection and the escape that comes with it. The disconnect from the modern world when entering the natural, untampered world is a feeling I will always chase. Mount Barney National Park in the Gold Coast area and lately the New England National Park in the Northern NSW Tablelands has become a favourite place of mine. These places are relatively close to home and leave me with a greater sense of appreciation every time I go. I’m drawn to wild places where I can enjoy the surreal feeling of standing high on a mountain overlooking valleys, gorges, and lush rainforest. I’m very lucky to have such raw beauty and rugged mountains so close to home. I find most of my locations from word of mouth, books or Instagram.

 

 

How do you find the natural environment impacts your photography?

 

I’m lured by light and moved by the characteristic of the changing landscape. I feel a sense of security and embeddedness in the natural environment while I’m hiking and climbing, alone or with friends. It brings me to life. I feel freedom in the wild and can truly slowdown from the fast paced world. This is the basis for my photography. Enjoying the moment and slowing down, capturing what I can and leaving with a sense of accomplishment whether or not I took a great shot.

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography, what would it be?

 

Just pick up a camera and have a go. A lot of learning comes from mistakes I have realised. Dedication is something you will need to develop over time. It’s a fundamental key in developing your style, your photography quality and most importantly, being there to capture it. I have driven numerous six-hour drives to the same places just to get the shot I want, only to find out I couldn’t get it. However, if you’re dedicated enough, you’ll always want to go back and pursue it. The beauty of photography though is you might not always get your intended shot, but something else will always pop up. To be honest, most of my work has happened this way. Capture it, work the scene, change your angles, get down low or up high and fire away. Improvise and be spontaneous.

 

 

Lenses obviously play an important part of overall quality, so with this in mind what lenses do you prefer to use and why?

 

In my field, the classic 24-70mm range out performs any other lens in versatility, and with that in mind, I use the Fujinon XF16-55mm (equivalent in 35mm). This lens is fantastic; weather sealed, durable, and exceptionally fast and well performing. In the travel, adventure, and landscape field, I always have a need to go wide and to go tight depending on the scene and landscape. Therefore, this lens covers the focal lengths I use most often while keeping a constant F2.8 aperture which is imperative for low light and shallow depth of field. Before I bought my Fujinon XF16-55mm, the majority of my landscape shots were shot on the Fujinon XC50-230mm. This lens is versatile because of its mid-telephoto to long telephoto length. It’s a great, light weight and cost effective lens that has served me for three years now, allowing me to take some of my best work in over five countries.

 

An expensive and fast lens doesn’t always make your photos any better. For city traveling purposes, I tend to use my Fujinon XF18mm, because of its small form factor, great width, and fast aperture. These are my go to lenses that cover nearly all of my photography and give the versatility to work scenes and make something brilliant. I have recently bought the Fujinon XF55-200mm.

 

 

What does traveling to new places mean to you and do you partake in any location research before you go?

 

I research a lot before I go anywhere, more so the access, facilities, and tracks instead of the photos. I like to be open minded when visiting new places so my images don’t sub consciously conform around other photographer’s work that I’ve seen.

 

 

To see more of Harrison’s photography visit his website or follow him on Instagram.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

 

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Stephen Hobbs

This month’s photographer is Stephen Hobbs, who hails from England. He brings a unique perspective to photography with a natural approach. He enjoys working with manual cameras, so check out our interview with him to learn how he is developing his photography style.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

My name is Stephen Hobbs, originally from a small town in England on the South Coast called Lee-on-the-Solent. I migrated to Australia 14 years ago, living initially on the northern beaches of Sydney but now on a vineyard in the Hunter Valley. I have several hobbies, which include sailing, motorbike riding, touring and, of course, photography.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF10-24mmF4 – 1/60 second – F4 – ISO 6400

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

My interest in photography developed while at college. I had a spare college unit and photography fit in the time I had. I was very lucky in having access to a darkroom and some very basic equipment. We used Zenit-Es — about as manual as you can get! Even had to manually stop down the aperture after focusing before taking an image. It’s maybe this history I have with a fully manual camera that first attracted me to the Fujifilm X Series range. I love the fact that I have access to these manual controls through dials rather than hunting through menu structures. It brings back memories of feeling in control of the image-making process rather than being reliant on auto this and auto that.

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

It just keeps developing! I started off only printing black and white in a darkroom so I tend to be pulled back in that direction. I also love the SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) jpegs using the Fujifilm simulations. ACROS is just amazing! I have recently been drawn to a more documentary style; I’m uncomfortable with getting people to pose, so I prefer a more natural approach to shooting images of people. I would love to try to convey emotion rather than just imagery, and it is an aspect I try to focus on more as my photography style develops. Over the years, I have been more a point-and-shoot person; it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve tried to focus on the emotion. Sometimes I feel like it’s only me who can see the emotion in a photograph, which is fine. Photography can be quite a selfish medium with most people taking photographs that only have meaning for the photographer.

 

What inspires your photography?

People doing everyday things. I love to try to capture people interacting with each other or their surroundings.

Fujifilm X-T2 with XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 – 1/18 second – F5 – ISO 6400

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light to photograph in?

 

I generally prefer early mornings to any other time of day, empty streets, great tonal variations that don’t mess with dynamic range too much. My aim is to try to capture what I’m feeling when walking through empty streets. Whether that be local or while away on vacation. I also like to combine my love of motorcycle touring and photography. This is where the small-form factor of the Fujifilm system is a real bonus. That combined with having access to all the major controls externally.

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

This is pretty easy, if you can count a two-week motorcycling tour in America as a single session. The landscapes through the mountains and deserts of the Western Seaboard of America are just amazing. The early morning light, while riding into Monument Valley is just perfect. Spine-tingling moments just made for the adventurous photographer.

 

Can you tell us what’s your favourite Fujifilm camera and why?

 

This would have to be the last one. I have owned the Fujifilm X-E1, X-E2, X-T1 and now the X-T2. The X-T2 is just amazing, the new simulations with the new sensor just delivers. Each camera has improved over the last while still keeping true to the heritage of maintaining and improving image quality. As a bonus, the usability of each camera has improved over the years, too.

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

I thought I would do the geeky thing and check which lens is used by looking up the metadata on the lenses used in Lightroom. I was surprised to find it was XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6, however, when I did the same after filtering on the rating it turns out that I consistently rate the XF10-24mmF4 based images highest of all. I’m not too surprised, as I just love this lens.

 

Fujifilm X-E2 with XF10-24mmF4 – 1/400 second – F7.1 – ISO 200. Converted in to Black and White in Silver Efex Pro.

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

I always shoot both RAW and JPEG, however I only used the RAW file when there is a really good JPEG image that I want to spend more time on. The vast majority of the time the SOOC JPEGS are perfect for my needs. All post processing is done in Lightroom, with ample use of the Silver Efex Pro plug-in when needed.

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture, ISO, etc.? Other preferences?

 

I really am an amateur so don’t necessarily feel qualified to provide technical tips on how best to set up the camera. The only advice I would give would be to try to carry the camera with you as much as possible. You can’t capture that one in a million shot if the camera is in a bag at home.

Fujifilm X-T1 with XF10-24mmF4 – 1/420 second – F10 – ISO 400

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

Don’t be afraid to take the shot and remember that another person’s criticism is just their opinion. Remember, someone paid a lot of money for a pile of bricks at the Tate Modern and we are still talking about it today, maybe that was the artist’s aim? If that was the artist’s goal then surely it succeeded beyond the artist’s wildest dreams.

 

Are you interested in becoming our next featured X-Thusiast photographer? Check out our full X-Thusiast Gallery and submission details.

 

 

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Sarp Soysal

Welcome to the Third Series of Through a Photographer’s Eye. In this series, we continue to learn about Australian photographers and how they use X Series Cameras to photograph their world around them. Our fifth interview in Series Three is with Melbourne based photographer, Sarp Soysal.

 

Sarp, your story about how you started photographing with the X100 is quite interesting. Can you share it with us?

 

Ah yes, it is actually a pretty interesting story but a little tragic at the same time. I was travelling around Europe a few years ago on a personal photography project with a fair bit of gear: a Nikon body and a bunch of lenses and even speedlights. I also had a tiny little backup camera buried somewhere deep in my backpack that I never touched and had barely even used before.

 

One day when I was shooting in Paris, my Nikon was set up on my tripod, and for some strange reason that I still haven’t figured out, the camera fell off and shattered. As a broke backpacker, I wasn’t at all in a position to buy any new gear, so I had to reach into my bag for that tiny backup camera which was, as it turns out, a Fujifilm X100.

 

I didn’t have much experience with this camera, but it was all I had to finish my project. I remember sitting in my hotel room and trying to figure out how I was going to finish working with this one small point and shoot and its fixed lens. It wasn’t even a full frame camera, and this was around five years ago when full frame cameras were seen as the only professional cameras. But when I actually started walking around with the Fujifilm X100, something quite strange happened.

 

Through its optical viewfinder, the world looked different. It reminded me of being a teenager and using my dad’s analogue rangefinders. I didn’t have my bag of lenses for every possible shot, but through Fujifilm X100’s fixed lens, the streets started to look more romantic to me almost. I would say this was the beginning of a very important, almost spiritual, transformation for me.

 

In the way, I shoot, see the world and travel. While I felt pretty lost after I broke my Nikon, in the end, I managed to complete my project with some pretty special images thanks to my little Fujifilm camera. Needless to say, when I arrived back in Melbourne, I sold all of Nikon gear including that ridiculous backpack. And I have never looked back.

 

 

After moving from the Fujifilm X100 to the Fujifilm X-Pro2 what sort of advantages have you found the newer camera offers?

 

I think the biggest advantage of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 over X100 for me is its weather-sealed body. Already, while travelling, my X-Pro2 has withstood thunderstorms, unexpected torrential rain, bumpy bus rides, the ridiculous dust of Kathmandu and you name what else. The X-Pro2 feels tough in my hands, with its brick-like body. Secondly, obviously, the X-Pro2 is a much faster camera than the X100, which is very important for my photography style, mostly being snapshots on the street. Despite these things though, I still have my original X100 and from time to time, shoot with it, for old time’s sake. It will always have a special place in my heart.

 

 

If you could explain X Series cameras to someone who had never heard of them before what would you say?

 

Well, that’s quite a difficult question to answer. Let me put it this way: I wouldn’t explain X Series cameras from a technical perspective but more an emotional one. Pretty much every camera brand on the market at the moment, many of which I’ve shot with in the past, is almost like shooting with a computer rather than a camera. Most of their mechanical or software features that help sell them don’t really add much to your shooting experience and in my opinion, don’t serve a lot of purpose in the actual field.

 

X Series cameras, however, are so thoughtfully designed, with the photographer’s experience in mind, they feel to me like an extended eye, or like an additional organ. The dials, the viewfinder and even their compact size and grip really create a very organic shooting experience that doesn’t distract you from creating images with technical functionality or settings. So if you ask me to explain X Series cameras, I’d say they are cameras for creativity and for storytelling. They are cameras with soul.

 

 

 

Travelling is obviously high on your agenda, where have you been recently and can you share your favourite photo and tell us the story behind the image?

 

Most recently, I did a 100 days project, beginning with a road trip from Melbourne to Queensland and then three months travelling across Asia. I visited Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and finally Nepal, where I am at the moment. I challenged myself to post a photograph everyday on Instagram that represented that day which turned out to be harder than I thought but I did it only skipping maybe 2 or 3 days. If I look back on my Instagram feed now, I’d say that my favourite image would be from day 40 of the journey, not necessarily because it is the best photograph but because of the story behind it.

 

I took this photograph in the south of Cebu Island (Philippines) on a modest fishing beach called Santander where all along the sand, there are tiny homes housing the families that collect seaweed and fish every morning. On one of my walks down to the beach, I found myself in the home of about 7 or 8 little hooligan kids who welcomed me with excited screams, dancing, playing and just general tomfoolery. These kids had next to nothing. Their clothes were ripped and dirty, their shoes didn’t match, and their play equipment consisted of some rope, a tree and a few planks of wood. I have honestly never seen happier, more energetic kids.

 

I ended up visiting these kids a few times during my stay on the island and got to know the family a little. I couldn’t stop taking their photographs because they got so adorably excited about having their picture taken and when they’d see their own faces on my LCD screen, they’d go crazy. I think I was the first person to ever take their photograph.

 

While portraiture isn’t my forte, I had to capture the kids’ faces which just beamed with spirit and hope. To me, this photograph is both a story and a lesson. It tells of hope and need and happiness and most importantly, of how much you actually need in order to be happy.

 

 

 

If you have some advice for someone starting out in photography what would it be?

 

I’d say the biggest piece of advice I’d like to share with young photographers is not to get trapped in the technical side of photography or with camera reviews, equipment choices and stuff.

 

In my opinion, the most important first step is to get to know the gear that you have, whatever it might be, and understand everything about it so you can learn how to work with it and how to make it work for you. Because at the end of the day, when someone is looking at your photographs, no one cares really about what settings you used or what camera you have. It’s about the story you tell.

 

As any skill or art form, it requires a lot of practice. So take your camera with you everywhere and use every outing as a learning opportunity. Devote 20 hours a week, every week to making photographs. Get yourself a good pair of walking shoes and hit the streets or parks of your town or city and just shoot. Eventually, you’ll find your voice, and then you can focus on developing your own photographic style to tell your own stories.

 

 

 

You said the following statement after photographing with Fujifilm equipment over the last five years:

“My style has evolved to be a kind of poetry: subtle metaphoric images that tell stories through layers and light, shadows and figures”.

Can you provide a photographic example and explain the romance behind the image based on this statement?

 

Like I said before, X series cameras aren’t technically distracting so when I’m shooting on the street, I’m able to enter a kind of zone in which I am completely tunnel-visioned: all I see are light and shapes. Over time my photographs have moved more and more away from obvious compositions and stories and more towards combining elements under interesting light.

 

Most of the time, I take scenes that are seemingly nondescript but that through my lens I know will become something quite interesting. This image, for example, is one I took in Kathmandu, Nepal this month. While to my partner, it was nothing more than an ordinary Nepalese house front, to me, the shadows created a mysterious story: to whom does the hand belong? What is the child looking at? And why is he dressed so smartly while living in such an apparently poor house?

 

I like to make people wonder, and I think that my favourite kind of photographic story is not the one that I tell myself but the one that someone who looks at my photograph will imagine.

 

We noticed in your portfolio you have a number of portraits, can you give any tips on how to best approach people on the street to take their photo?

 

It’s funny that you say that because to be perfectly honest, I never feel that portraiture is my strong point. But I do like to include people and faces in my street scenes. I don’t really have any specific approach per se, but I do feel that if you’re a shy person, you will struggle as a street photographer. It is largely about engagement, with the elements around you and most importantly, the people you intend to photograph.

 

I suppose my photography reflects my personality in general as someone that tends to engage with strangers quite a bit, especially while travelling. To take someone’s portrait, is a kind of unspoken negotiation a lot of the time, relying on body language and your ability to read the situation. That said, a lot of the time, I usually avoid any kind of engagement before I’ve taken the shot.

 

My photography focuses a lot on candid, organic moments and so I like to be invisible. I even avoid eye contact because once the person is aware of the camera, the scene is shattered. Afterwards, I like to engage, chat with them or ask them questions depending on how open they are. And mostly people don’t have a problem with their photograph being taken.

 

 

The Melbourne streets are far from your travels, what do you like most about returning to the ‘Most Livable City in the world?

 

I love shooting on Melbourne’s streets. I guess it’s where I feel most comfortable. I have been living in St Kilda East specifically for almost seven years, and I’d say that the surrounding suburbs like Balaclava, St Kilda and Chapel Street are my usual photographic battlefields.

 

I know the culture and city very well, so I know how people usually react to my camera on the street which is important for the kind of work that I do. There isn’t the same chaos or exotic situations that you’ll find in Asia, but there is a very distinctive light that belongs to Melbourne that I think is almost recognisable. It helps to create its own kind of mysterious and dramatic images in an otherwise very orderly city.

 

To see more of Sarp’s photography follow him on Instagram.

Previous interviews from Series Three of Through a Photographer’s Eye:

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Johny Spencer

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Gavin Host

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Mike Bell

Through a Photographer’s Eye: Ryan Cantwell

X-Thusiast Featured Photographer Simone Cheung

This month, our featured X-Thusiast photographer is bringing social responsibility to the forefront. Her photos from locations around the world incorporate nostalgia and people’s interactions with one another, and are both intriguing and inspiring works of art.

 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?

 

My name is Simone Cheung and I live in Sydney. Largely self-taught, I’ve always had an interest in photography since I was young when I used to take my parents film camera around and take endless photos.

 

How did you develop an interest in photography using Fujifilm equipment?

 

I love travelling and street photography, and I hated lugging around my heavy, bulky SLR. I wanted to downsize my kit without compromising quality and the Fujifilm X-T1 did just that. And let’s be honest, it also makes me look less like a dork photographer!

 


Barber Shop: Split, Croatia. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF14mmF2.8

 

How would you describe your photography style and strategy?

 

Photography has always been a way for me to combine my big passions in life — travel and promoting social responsibility, human rights and social equality. As a result, I do a lot of street photography to show that every single person regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion or social status has that magical moment just waiting to be captured.

 

I enjoy photo documentary and bringing out those social issues through my photography. I have been a volunteer photographer with various not-for-profit organisations including Oxfam, Global Sisters, Women’s March on Sydney and others.

 

What inspires your photography?

 

“Goya” in Urdu means the suspension of disbelief that occurs in good storytelling. That is what my photography is all about — capturing those simple, ordinary moments in a special way where goya occurs; where the “as if” feels like reality.

 

Night Swim: Sydney, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

 

Where are your favourite places to take photos and do you prefer a certain type of light to photograph in?

 

The beauty of street photography and photo documentary is that you can find a stunning image anywhere, at any time, in any light. The premise of a lot of my images is that even though they are taken in different places at different times around the world, people’s interaction with light is the same, highlighting that we are in fact “more alike than unalike,” in the words of Maya Angelou.

 

Looking through my own photos, I tend to be drawn toward scenes of nostalgia, of places past, lives lived and the glories that used to be. I tend to love photographing in abandoned sites and old shopfronts, and also shooting at night.

 

What is your favourite memory from a photography session?

 

I was recently lucky enough to do a workshop with Andrew Quilty, who is one of my favourite photo journalists. We spent the afternoon on the Manly ferry and the Corso where I was able to watch Andrew in his element and learn from him.

 


Set Fire to the Rain: Port Vila, Vanuatu. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

 

Can you tell us what your favourite Fujifilm camera to use is and why?

 

I have only tried my XT-1 and I love it. It fits snugly in my hands and I love the manual dials and just the overall feel of it. Because it is so compact, I take it with me everywhere and my husband no longer has to carry my camera gear anymore when we travel!

 

Which Fujinon lens or lenses do you prefer to use with your Fujifilm camera and why?

 

I love all of them! I have the XF14mmF2.8, XF23mmF1.4 and XF56mmF1.2 and they are all fantastic. I particularly love the XF56mmF1.2 as it gives nice creamy portraits and is also great for low light.

 

 


Instant Photos: Budapest, Hungary. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF14mmF2.8

 

What sort of workflow do you use in your photography? Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?

 

I shoot in RAW and I process everything in Lightroom. I am not very good at editing, so I usually only make minor adjustments such as contrast, exposure, etc. I also love the Wi-Fi function of the X-T1 so I can upload straight onto my phone and share on social media. This is particularly handy when I’m travelling.

 

Do you have any technical tips you’d like to share? Perhaps suggestions on the best lighting, shutter speed, white balance, aperture or ISO? Other preferences?

 

The main advice is that there is no one magic setting. The more you shoot, the more you will understand what each function does and the impact on your image. Eventually, you will know what settings to use in what environment with only minor tweaking. I tend to shoot very wide apertures to isolate my subjects, which is particularly important in street photography.

 

Schlafwagen: Budapest, Hungary. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF14mmF2.8

 

Do you have advice for new photographers or the next potential X-Thusiast?

 

I spent many years taking photos (some good, some bad) until I found what my style was. I still experiment a lot with techniques and try to learn and draw inspiration from others. Your gear is only one part of being a photographer; your eyes are the other part.

 

In the shadow: Tumbarumba, Australia. Fujifilm X-T1 + XF23mmF1.4

 

Anything else?

 

I think we need to raise the visibility of women street photographers. When I try to look for inspirational women street photographers, I notice that there are significantly fewer women in street photography than men. Maybe there are less, or maybe they are less visible in the sense that they don’t submit to collectives as much or they don’t receive as much exposure, but we should definitely start celebrating them more.

To view more of Simone’s work visit her website or follow her on Instagram or Facebook.

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