Tag: Interviews

Defying conventions with Pete Bridgwood – landscape photographer

Beautiful locations? Not essential. Golden hour? any time is good. prime lenses? zooms are fine.

Meet X-Photographer, Pete Bridgwood who will make you think again about how you take landscape photographs

For decades, the debate has raged as to whether photography is art. For most, the crux of the argument revolves around the camera itself, some considering that using a machine to capture images is ‘cheating’, while others argue the camera doesn’t create images on its own. Fine art landscape photographer Pete Bridgwood cuts through these years of discussion with incisive clarity: “I think the term ‘art’ is as relevant if a four-year old child produces a piece with crayons as any photograph or grand master painting – it’s still art,” he tells X Magazine. “Some people think it’s stuffy to define your work as art, that you put yourself on a pedestal if you define yourself as an artist, but I define it simply as ‘photographs that I take for me, not for anyone else’. I don’t shoot commercial images, I shoot to make prints that hopefully will sell if people like them.”

Blue Sugar
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 1/2900sec at F8, ISO 200

Pete studied medicine at university and subsequently followed this career path, but photography has always been an important part of his life; and despite a passion for both disciplines, he defines himself as a photographer rather than a doctor. “I was into photography at school and we had this great art teacher who ran a course after school, so I signed up. We’d sit around in a big group and he’d talk about the compositional elements of famous photographs, so from a young age I was looking at photographs in a critical way. “We learned all the wet processes in a traditional darkroom, so I learned the hard way with film. I think that teaches you to be more careful with exposure because if you get it wrong there isn’t the latitude to get it back. I was very lucky to have that grounding.”

2247-XPro1-blend XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 18 mm 3.2 sec at f - 14 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 3.2secs at F14, ISO 200

Like many photographers, as the interest grows, the choice of subjects to shoot becomes more refined and when it came to choosing a specialism, Pete’s choice was simple. “Landscape is more controlled, you can take your time. With people photography it’s more reactive and interactional and maybe I’m not that good at interacting,” he jokes. “I tend to exclude people from my landscapes, because I think it’s nice for the viewer to be invited into the image and if it has people in there, the viewer has to share it with someone. There is a counterargument, of course, because featuring people invites others into the image, but I do tend to Photoshop a lot of people out as they always seem to walk into frame wearing bright dayglo clothing!”

2422-XT1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 18 mm 3.1 sec at f - 8.0 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-T1 EXPOSURE: 3.1secs at F8, ISO 200
Sherwood Forest
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 1.2secs at F11, ISO 200

While some may question Pete’s use of software in the context of his fine art image making, he’s very clear that post-production work is a very important part of creating his images. “It’s changed from film, when all the effort was put in in-camera. Now, I think half the effort comes in the field and half in post-production. Documentary landscape photographers would disagree, but I think you can do a lot in post-processing to create a more emotive result. It depends on the scene,” he explains. “Every photograph is a combination of three things: the photographer, the scene and the viewer. The percentages of those three elements vary from scene to scene and I love to actively play with those ratios. You could completely remove yourself and just take a picture and it will look gorgeous, or you can get a scene that you apply a lot of changes to and alter the feel. The trick is to not make it look that apparent.”

2257-XPro1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 55 mm 1-300 sec at f - 5.6 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 1/300sec at F5.6, ISO 200
6930-XPRO1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 21.4 mm 1-450 sec at f - 6.4 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 1/450sec at F6.4, ISO 200

Emotional connection is one element that Pete considers crucial in his images. He works hard to convey a sense of place and communicate the essence of the location. This can be done in a variety of ways, but Pete feels much of it is down to exposure choice. “Every image has its own shutter speed that will make the image look quite different. I think it’s important not to just think of that as a panacea,” he explains, “what I’m more about is finding the right exposure, an exposure that matches the emotion of the scene. How much do you want the grass to sway? How much do you want the sky or the water to move? It’s really about controlling the texture rather than simply taking a blasé attitude, which is what I like to get across.” Pete’s pursuit of this emotional connection doesn’t always necessitate him travelling from his home in Nottinghamshire to ‘honeypot’ locations in the UK and abroad, he feels that great landscape images can be captured virtually anywhere. “In some places it’s more difficult than others, but all you have to do is look around. The barn you don’t subconsciously see on the way into work, the single tree on the top of a hill, you should pencil those locations in for revisiting,” he advises.

1996-FINAL-MASTER XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 31.5 mm 3.0 sec at f - 16 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 3secs at F16, ISO 200

“I feel the same way about light. I love the golden hour and there’s no doubt it’s quite magical, but there’s no reason why you can’t get evocative landscapes in the middle of the day. Or in the pouring rain.” Whatever time of day he’s out, Pete always carries his X-series cameras: “I used to use Canon DSLRs, but I haven’t touched them in months,” he says. “I started with the X100, but the X-Pro1 was a game changer for me and I use both primes and zooms on it. I’ve also recently got an X-T1, which is wonderful. I shoot the vast majority of my images on an XF18-55mm lens. The attraction is obvious: all my Fujifilm gear fits into a small waist pack – camera, lenses, full filter kit – and that’s very liberating.” This latter point is crucial to Pete, X-series cameras help him to communicate an essential part of his creative process.

“The whole essence of fine art photography is freedom,” he tells us. “Freedom to express. Freedom to interpret. Freedom, freedom, freedom.”

CLICK HERE TO VISIT PETE’S WEBSITE

2969-XPro1 XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS 18 mm 27.0 sec at f - 11 ISO 200
CAMERA: X-Pro1 EXPOSURE: 27secs at F11, ISO 200

 

X-Photographer’s Spotlight – V.Opoku

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography? How did you develop your style in photography?

Hey hey, I shoot weddings and travel – I am a creative, contemporary wedding story teller and London is home for the time being.

I became a photographer by accident; I went to university to study economics, it was during this time that I decided to buy a camera instead of a PS3 to kill time. I would hop on my bike for a ride and have the camera along with me to capture the things I saw in my new surroundings.

Even though I have achieve a level of consistency within my body of work, I like to think that I am still training my eyes. It is an ongoing process and I find that I switch things up every two years – not everything, but I have noted that every two years I make a change in one area or another. I guess you can say that how I feel often translates into the approach I take to the work I create, and as someone who is still young and curious about the world, I don’t think that I will ever stop developing my style.

V. Opoku-2

Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

Out of curiosity really, and after 2 years and some change, I am happy that I took the risk. They offer a unique and refreshing way of doing things – having to compensate for parallax when using the OVF due to the rangefinder design of the X-Pro 1 & X100s, or the traditional shutter speed dials & aperture values on the lenses, this is a fun way to create images. For some strange reason, the image quality that I get out of these little cameras still amazes me, and the lenses that I have used have all been stunning.

A very important element of the Fujifilm X-Series that maybe doesn’t get enough attention is the community that these cameras have created, I have exchanged emails with people from all over the world about these cameras. I have discovered the work of other amazing photographers who use these cameras and even became friends with a few, like Bradley Hanson (USA), Patrice Michellon (France), Robin Weil (France) and Fred Frognier (Belgium) for example. All these guys were complete strangers at one point.

I would love to network with other official X-Photographers too! I have exchanged words with a few but thats not enough, I am thinking along the lines of a collaboration on project or something.

V. Opoku-3

Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

There Is Always More! I think photography is a lifelong journey without a destination so we have to keep going, keep striving to improve and never settle – There Is Always More!

V. Opoku-5

Key Inspiration- What & Who inspires you?

The What – Life, all aspects of it – the good and the bad. Music, football, culture and the people I meet and exchange stories with on my travels.

The Who – Those who strive to master their craft and set new rules, e.g. Lionel Messi and Nas. In terms of photography, there are so many good photographers out there that it is difficult for me to pick one. I like to draw inspiration even from those that don’t shoot the type of stuff that I shoot.

V. Opoku-6

Do you have any tips or tricks you could share?

Create limitations in a world where is there none, mine was deciding to shoot with just two focal lengths for the majority of my work these last two years and I couldn’t be happier! In fact, deciding to shoot with just prime lenses 5 years ago was probably the best thing I could have done for my portfolio and development as a photographer.

Remain curious about the world, be willing to learn and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Shoot through the tough and uninspiring periods.

V. Opoku-7What’s next for you?

Um, the X-Pro 2 😉 – haha. I really want to live in various countries & cities around the world in the next couple of years. To explore and experience different cultures etc and even shoot some epic weddings whilst I am out there too – the thought of shooting a Japanese wedding in Tokyo one day really excites me. I will be starting this chapter of my life with a move to Barcelona at some point this year, things haven’t gone as I had hoped but I am determined to make it happen. Then from there, maybe NYC + LA for a year, Cuba too at some point, Japan – who knows. I want to explore as many places as possible and meet as many interesting people as I can.

V. Opoku-8

Contact Info

Web : vopoku.com

Twitter: @vopoku

Instagram: @vopoku

Member of X100C – The Collective : http://x100c.com

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X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Kerry Hendry

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography? How did you develop your style in photography?

I was really into photography as a teenager – I remember saving up to buy my first SLR camera and two kit lenses from Dixons!  I won’t mention brands but I soon moved onwards and upwards to a beautiful Nikon SLR, shooting grainy black & white film and then developed an addiction to Fuji Velvia.   I spent many an evening cycling and driving round chasing sunsets and beautiful light.

Style-wise has taken a lot longer – I had a big gap in photography when horses and work took over – until I revisited my then hobby, about 12 years ago.

Since then photography has become a significant part of my life and now business. I’ve shot portraits, boudoir, bumps, babies, business portraits and even an odd wedding or two, but that didn’t do it for me.  I found myself shooting images to keep others happy – not fulfilling my own creative destiny.

These days, subject wise, I’m entirely focused on my other passion in life: horses. I have ridden all my life, and I truly believe if you totally love and connect with your subject, it makes your work stronger.

X-T1 – ISO 200 – f/4.5 – 1/1250 – XF50-140mm

Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

I’d been carrying around heavy Nikon kit for years and frankly was quite tired!

I started shooting mirrorless fairly early – and given my love of Fuji way back, it seemed the logical place to start.  Plus, there is no denying the cameras are beautiful.  I love beautiful things…  I love the images which the Fuji kit produces, I love the handling – and I love the lightness and flexibility the system affords me.

I’ve tested, tested and tested a bit more – some days I think my X-T1 might actually go into meltdown shooting high speed horses day in day out, but it continues to deliver.

Alongside my workhorse 50-140mm, I’ve also become a complete convert to the fast Fuji prime lenses. The quality and sharpness is amazing. Favourites include the 14mm, 23mm and 35mm lenses.

X-T1 – ISO 200 – f/5.6 – 1/1000 – XF50-140mm

Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

I guess my philosophy is a recent and personal one:  Follow your dreams and shoot what you love.

As a photographer you have to develop a thick skin – and that’s something I wasn’t good at!  I’ve spent most of my life trying to keep everyone happy all of the time.  Obviously a fruitless task, but I still do my best!

Especially when you shoot one very niche subject, some people will love what you do, others just won’t get it.  So long as I stay true to my core and get to the end of each year with images I am proud of, I’m happy.  I shoot horse pictures for horse lovers – they get it, they see it, they feel it.

The fact that people then buy those images for their own walls is a huge compliment.  It was a real buzz when prints were first sold to overseas clients in the USA and New Zealand – the hard work is paying off.

X-E2 – ISO 200 – f/9 – 1/1000 – XF18-55mm

Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

Wow, how long have you got?! I was the kid who saved up her pocket money to go into Waterstones (still love Waterstones!) to buy the Ansel Adams calendar each year.  When the year was done I framed the pictures.  My world was black and white, surrounded by snow-laden trees and lived under inky skies.

I’m a book person – and the bookshelf is crammed with a variety of beautiful publications which I revisit regularly:  Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Colin Prior, Paul Kenny, Tim Flach, Amanda Lockhart, Jonathan Chritchley and most recently Michael Levin. Michael’s work is a quest for modern perfection – I admire him tremendously.

Mother nature also inspires me – light, breeze, weather, the ocean and of course, horses.

X-T1 – ISO 200 – f/5.6 – 1/1000 – XF50-140mm

Do you have any tips or tricks you could share with us?

My tip is to stay true. There’s another good quote I live & work by: ‘A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it.  It just blooms.’

Another photographer recently said to me that ‘I make my life more difficult trying to shoot horses with a mirrorless camera’ – why didn’t I shoot an easier subject?  What would be the joy or fulfilment in that?!

Do your own thing – if it’s difficult, try harder.  If you have an idea – work out how to achieve it.  If you are not sure – seek & learn!

X-T1 – ISO 200 – f/4.5 – 1/1250 – XF50-140mm

What’s next for you?

I’m off to Wyoming to a remote ranch to shoot…you guessed it, horses!

It’s a completely new location for me.  If I don’t shoot different horses soon, I’ll be ‘the woman who was obsessed with grey horses’.

The Polo season has just started too, so I’m working on a creative idea to produce beautiful art prints from this adrenaline fuelled sport.

I’ve also just taken on a beautiful but slightly broken racehorse. She’s likely to feature in future work – and she’s NOT GREY!

In fact this is her, in her previous life…my amazing girl.

X-T1 – ISO 800 – f/18 – 1/1000 – XF18-135mm

Contact info

Website
Facebook
Twitter

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The History of FUJINON: the heritage of XF Lenses

We get a lot of love for our Fujinon XF lenses and it’s hardly a surprise; we’ve been making them for a long time! We’ve created a short series of videos to help you understand the history of Fujinon and the heritage of our XF lenses,

Episode 1 – The history of FUJINON

Shigamitsu Mort, Ex-President of the Fujifilm Optics Mito factory, talks about our lens polishing technology across our wide range of lenses and describes the long time spent designing and perfecting the Fujinon-Z 43-75mm f/3.5-4.5.

Kazunori Oono, Ex-Senior Manager of the Optical Device Division talks about the testing and evaluation that went into the EBC X-Fujifilm 50mm f/1.2 back in 1979

Episode 2 – Professional vs Professional

Takashi Suzuki, Optical Design Division Senior Manager talks about how Fujifilm, professionals in the photography field, responded to professional photographer’s requirements to launch the GX680 Professional large format system in 1986. The lenses for the system had to be high enough in resolution in order to maximise the benefit of large format film.

Takao Araki, Optical Design Division Software Manager talks about Fujifilm’s amazing and unique approach to improve the calculation process that goes into each lens design. In 1956, they built one of Japan’s very first computers!

Episode 3 – The heritage of XF lenses

Taiga Noda and Hiroki Saito, both of the Optical Design Division in Tokyo talk about how without the heritage of Fujinon, many of the new XF lenses would not have been possible.

The result? The craftsmanship of FUJINON

See all of the steps that go into making each and every hand-made XF lens in our factory in Japan.