X Marks The Spot: London, UK

One photographer, one Fujifilm X-series camera, a whole lot of great images

Rob MitchellX-series cameras are perfect for street photographers. Combining light weight and portability with fantastic performance and a great range of lenses makes them the perfect combination for shooting on the move. Rob Mitchell is a commercial photographer and X-Pro1 user based in Belgium, but he took these shots on a dedicated day of street photography in the Shoreditch area of London. Along with his friends, who were also shooting with X-series cameras, Rob used the X-Pro1 along with 18mm and 35mm lenses and most of his pictures were shot from the hip in a true documentary style. Continue reading to find out why the X-Pro1 was a perfect companion for a walk around London.

MARKET STALL NEAR COVENT GARDEN

Lens: XF18mm F2 R Exposure: 1/30sec at F2, ISO 800
Lens: XF18mm F2 R
Exposure: 1/30sec at F2, ISO 800

“This was just a passing snapshot of the market stall. With the combination of low light and large contrast range, I didn’t expect for one moment that the X-Pro1 would deliver a good shot, but it did. This was taken at ISO 800 with the 18mm lens at its widest aperture of F2. This helped me to get a fast enough shutter speed to successfully hand-hold the shot, and the X-Trans sensor took care of the rest. A truly impressive result with digital noise virtually non-existent.”

MIND THE GAP

X-Pro1 - Lens: XF35mm F1.4 R Exposure: 1/900sec at F1.4, ISO 400
X-Pro1 – Lens: XF35mm F1.4 R
Exposure: 1/900sec at F1.4, ISO 400

“Anyone who has travelled on the London Underground will know that the ‘Mind the Gap’ slogan is everywhere. I don’t remember the exact station that it was taken, but it was on the way from Epping to Liverpool Street. This was a real shot from the hip, which the X-Pro1 is perfect at. The train pulled into the station and as the doors opened, I saw the opportunity to grab this image. Using the rear LCD, auto exposure and rapid focusing, I was able to compose and get this perfectly exposed image before the doors closed again. I don’t think I would have had the time to capture this with a DSLR.”

MAN ON PHONE

X-Pro1 - Lens: XF18mm F2 R Exposure:  1/500sec at F2, ISO 400
X-Pro1 – Lens: XF18mm F2 R
Exposure: 1/500sec at F2, ISO 400

“The X-Pro1 is very subtle in use, a DSLR is just too imposing and I simply wouldn’t have been able to get this shot. As I walked past this man in Shoreditch, I had the camera hanging over my shoulder, so I just held it in position and fired off this image without lifting it to my eye or looking through the viewfinder. Although the man is looking at me, I’m pretty sure he didn’t know he was having his picture taken. With the 18mm, you can easily approximate the focusing point and with such a large depth-of-field I could shoot at F2 and still be confident that almost all of the image would stay in sharp focus.”

THE ORANGE BUFFALO

X-Pro1 - Lens: XF18mm F2 R Exposure: 1/210sec at F2, ISO 400
X-Pro1 – Lens: XF18mm F2 R
Exposure: 1/210sec at F2, ISO 400

“Taken at the Truman Brewery car park in Shoreditch, this is a sort of mismatch of the US and London. An Airstream caravan, Chevy truck and Buffalo Wings stuck in a rather hip area of town with just the sole client. The four picnic tables would suggest it gets busy there – not at that moment though. What I’ve noticed with the X-series is that I experiment more; I feel less constrained and if I only have a 18mm lens on the camera I just work around that. I could say it’s almost like going back to the roots of innocent experimentation and the discovery of photography.”

PUSHCHAIR, ELDER STREET

X-Pro1 - Lens: XF18mm F2 R Exposure: 1/14sec at F2, ISO 200
X-Pro1 – Lens: XF18mm F2 R
Exposure: 1/14sec at F2, ISO 200

“Typically anonymous flats are made up of a pattern of window-door-window-door. I spotted this pushchair in front of one and thought that it broke up the pattern to give a glimpse into the lives of the people who live there. I love the Fujifilm image quality – the fact that I still own and use my old Fujifilm S3 Pro is testament to that fact. The X-Trans sensor in the X-Pro1 certainly hasn’t lost any of the quality of colour accuracy of that older DSLR – I’ve already used it on a couple of commercial projects.”

COFFEE SHOP WINDOW

X-Pro1 - Lens: XF35mm F1.4 R Exposure: 1/550sec at F1.4, ISO 200
X-Pro1 – Lens: XF35mm F1.4 R
Exposure: 1/550sec at F1.4, ISO 200

“This was shot from inside a coffee shop, overlooking Pancras road – I deliberately wanted to get an obscured portrait of someone sitting outside, complete with an iconic London symbol in the background. The X-Pro1’s metering and sensor have combined to get a great result here. With the large shadow area in the foreground, I expected the camera to overexpose the main subject, but it’s dealt with the contrast well and got detail in both the dark and light areas.”

About Robert

Robert Mitchell is a British commercial photographer based in Belgium. To see more of his work you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or follow his blog.

Interview with Alex Lambrechts

Internationally-renowned photographer Alex Lambrechts insists on excellence – so naturally he uses X-series cameras

Alex Image 1
Camera: X-Pro1 Lens: XF 35mm f/1.4R
Exposure: 1/500sec at f/6.4, ISO 250

Photographer Alex Lambrechts will turn 40 later this year, but seems to have lived more lives than most people have had hot dinners. When reading his biography for the first time you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s been a horrible error at the proofing stage, resulting in a mash-up of the life stories of seven, maybe eight individuals – but this is all Alex. He’s achieved excellence in martial arts, running his own training school at the age of 19 at the same time as setting up and managing several bars and restaurants in Sydney, before slipping into the mysterious world of personal protection and joining the private security details of several Hollywood A-listers and international businessmen. In the nineties Alex switched paths again and rose to the top as Creative Marketing Director for British American Tobacco – a modern-day Don Draper of sorts – before returning to his restaurant roots and a career behind the scenes of several high-profile eateries. He attends the Cannes Film Festival every year and runs private parties for discerning individuals – past clients have included Quentin Tarantino, Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton – and amongst all of this, he’s also found time to become an internationally-renowned photographer. He’s making the rest of us look very bad indeed.

Alex image 2
Camera: X100S Lens: Fixed 23mm
Exposure: 1/400sec at f/8, ISO 640

A man of the world

Born in Uruguay and raised in Australia, Alex lived in London for the past ten years but is currently to be found in New York, where he’s quite sure that he’s found the ideal space for him at this time in his life. “This is definitely where I want to be at this stage in my career – I think I will be here for some time,” he says. “I do travel all over the world for work though and photography is great like that – you can just pick up your gear, jump on a plane and go!”

Having first picked up a camera in earnest at the end of 2009, Alex is a relative latecomer to professional photography – but as he grew up amongst his parents’ photographic printing labs he found he had years of experience to draw upon. “I was using 35mm SLR cameras from a very young age,” he explains. “I left photography for many years, until four years ago when I started shooting friends at parties I was hosting in London.” At this stage, Alex was shooting with rangefinders and larger, bulky DSLRs – but by his own admission he prefers the smaller rangefinder-styled cameras such as the Fujifilm X100S. Nowadays he shoots with various cameras, depending on the assignment’s unique requirements – but his favourite and most-often used camera is still the X-Pro1. “I love this camera,” Alex enthuses about the Fujifilm CSC.

“I try to use it first at every opportunity. I’d say I use it on every job. But it’s not only about cameras for me: the lenses are really important. If I have a big job on, I have the usual spare lenses – always prime lenses, I’m not a fan of zooms. How [the lenses] behave, what kind of unique qualities they have – this is usually what I think about before [I think about] which camera. And the X100S has the perfect lens built in,” he smiles.

Alex image 3
Camera: X100 Lens: Fixed 23mm Exposure: 1/500sec at f/8, ISO 400

A lifetime of inspiration

Lambrecht’s varied career has influenced his image-making by providing him with a wealth of references to draw upon when approaching a new commission. “Everything I have done in my life comes into play when I pick up a camera: my ability to be vigilant and observant, looking for nuances in everyday life, looking for subtext, knowing how to work with brands – it’s all of invaluable benefit,” he says. “I think it definitely gives me an edge when working in teams and especially when working with clients, as I understand their requirements on many levels.”

As you’d expect from someone with a background

in top-end corporate marketing, Alex is a keen follower of the creative fields – particularly art and fashion – and is currently experimenting with more physical forms of artistic expression. “I’m currently experimenting with painting, combined with my street and documentary photography,” he hints. “I have a couple of galleries which are eager to show and sell my work here in New York, however I haven’t released this to the public yet, so that’s as much as I can tell you about that until the launch…”

Alex image 4
Camera: X-Pro1 Lens: XF18mm f/2 R
Exposure: 1/125sec at f/5.6, ISO 640

Shooting the Big Apple

New York is a city that’s hard to resist, and every corner seems to present a new photographic opportunity – so it’s no wonder that Alex is choosing to spend his time indulging his love of street photography. He’s just one of many Fujifilm-using photographers enjoying the fast-paced hunt for the “decisive moment”, but tends to keep his pure street photography for himself as a break from his day job pictures. Alex’s moody black & white street work is filled with emotion and impact, and the X100’s diminutive size yet powerful performance makes it ideally suited to this demanding type of picture-taking where travelling light is the name of the game. “I shoot street photography every single day,” he says, “especially here in New York. My street photography is a very personal project for me and I am extremely critical of my own work, and set strict standards for myself. I shoot a lot of commercial work so it’s nice to have [street photography] that I can do completely on my own terms. I follow my own rules and I don’t expect others to understand – I am definitely my own harshest critic!”

Alex’s interest in street shooting spills across into to his approach to all his image making, with his biography describing his characteristic style as both ‘raw’ and ‘street’. “I tend to add a little more subtext [to my images] than your typical fashion photographer might – I like to have a fly-on-the-wall feel to my photography whilst not being voyeuristic… trying to stay true to the subject matter,” he says. “I guess my images convey my style better than I can describe it – it’s natural for me, and I tend not to think too much about it. I want the viewer to be drawn in and gradually work out the various messages encoded both intentionally and intuitively.”

Alex image 5
Camera: X-Pro1 Lens: XF18mm f/2 R
Exposure: 1/250sec at f/4, ISO 200

Secret of his success

Alex now works with many commercial clients who love the engaging, emotive imagery that he can create, such as the vividly striking shoot for children’s fashion line That’s Not Fair, all of which were shot on the X-Pro1. Yet when pushed for advice, it transpires that the secret to his unique photography doesn’t actually rely on Alex’s many lives-worth of experience: for those looking to try their own hand at creating portraiture like Lambrecht’s, the photographer has these simple pointers. “Spend time getting to know your subject and shoot them as they are, without imposing too much of your own experiences and preconceived notions into the image. That’s the challenge,” he says.

Images from Alex’s shoot for “That’s not fair”:

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