Philip Ewing has been an enthusiastic amateur photographer since his 35mm days on the university student newspaper. Today he works as a journalist in Washington, D.C. You can find more photos at http://metrocommutr.tumblr.com/
Photographers love to insist the camera doesn’t matter – our creative vision is what truly makes a picture, as the old bromide goes – but inside the family, we know a camera can make a huge difference.
When I decided to make a serious go at a photo project documenting my daily life on Washington, D.C.’s Metro underground system, I did not begin with a clear sense for what the images should be. Sometimes you can imagine a photo beforehand and getting it is just a matter of execution. Sometimes you sense there’s a picture out there … you almost smell it … but you don’t know exactly what it is or how to capture it. This was one of those.
So starting last year, I began taking a camera with me every day on trips to work and around town. There were — and are — many more failures than successes. Plus my DSLR, along with the fast prime lenses I needed for dimly lit subterranean stations, was killing my back and shoulders. The files from my compact point-and-shoot didn’t have the detail or depth I wanted. Fortunately, there was a huge wave of anticipation about the then-new X100S, and I got on board. It has turned out to be an investment that has paid many unexpected dividends by enabling me to create pictures I didn’t know were there until the moment they presented themselves.
The unobtrusive little camera is light enough to carry all day, so you’ll actually take it with you, but it doesn’t force you to sacrifice sharp optics or a good sensor. It’s effectively silent, preserving your discretion in quiet train cars where an SLR shutter sounds like a gunshot. True, the X100S has a few quirks and faults and it isn’t the only tool I use to capture images. But the X100S is the one I carry 90 percent of the time, and it more than any other has helped translate the “sense” of a picture into an actual image.
As it turned out, the other keys to the Metro project were the two most basic things in photography: People and light. If any of the pictures have been successful, it has been because good light hit an interesting person at just the right time. The trick was figuring out those places and moments and just being there to try to catch them.
When a woman in a big woolen scarf emerged from a field of silhouettes as she stepped into a sunlit escalator — click. When a sunbeam inside a train car made a circuit over the passengers as we went around a bend, I set the camera to underexpose the scene and make a certain rider pop against the shadows. Dialing up 1/60th, f/2.8 and ISO 1250 with the Velvia film simulation mode can make the harsh-lit interior of a train car into a miniature stage for our human comedy.
There’s another aspect of using the X100S that has taken me by surprise: Its effect on others. Strangers stop you to ask about it — “It’s been years since I’ve seen somebody out using an old film camera!” they say. Once, I was photographing outside a Metro station and a D.C. police officer walked over. My heart began to race as I silently rehearsed a speech about my rights to take pictures in a public place. But there was no summons that day. “Hey,” he asked — “what kind of camera is that?”
Date: Sat 3rd May Time: Arrival at 10.00 and continue shooting for six hours. Venue:Sanderson Hotel , 50 Berners Street, London, W1T 3NG Limited to 6 attendees only.
Format of the day
This hands-on Fashion X Street workshop will focus on the various techniques and ideas Alex frequently uses when shooting an ‘On-Street’ Fashion, Press or Portrait, shooting with both daylight and flash for varied environmental and lighting effects. During this free 6 hour course, you’ll be learning/testing loads of tips, tricks and secrets. Suitable for all levels of photographers, you’ll be receiving personal hands-on tuition, tailored to your experience level, especially exciting for those still on the fence about switching to the X-Series from traditional DSLR, rangefinders and/or other formats.
You will receive hands-on coaching to achieve the results which have helped Alex become a very sought after UK fashion photographer.
The street shoot portion will be followed by an hour of post processing, Q&A and optional portfolio review
What you’ll learn
We’ll be shooting a professional international Fashion Model you’ll will be taken right the way through the process, from set up to directing your model for maximum results, learning the following along the way:
In-depth manual control and familiarisation of the various features unique to the X-Series, as well as basic manual photography.
Accurately & confidently selecting and using the new Fujifilm Fujinon lenses, in both Auto & Manual focus modes, with a variety of focusing techniques for different lighting and environmental situations.
Knowing how and when to switch between the various view options of the Hybrid viewfinder and LCD to get the most out of these great tools in every situation.
Looking for, identifying and creating dynamic compositions on the go, for that ‘reportage look’ whilst avoiding the typically boring/posed images.
How to shoot in the ‘real world’ and ‘on the fly’ with varying lighting conditions and moving subjects on the Streets of Soho.
How to use your flash in various ways, for either fill or creative lighting, as well as incorporating existing or external light sources, to enhance your creations.
The final part of this day will then be spent post processing and editing your new images using Lightroom, to prepare them for your portfolio as well as going over any aspects you might want to revisit or discuss again.
Simply bring your camera, desired lenses and flashes.
Fujifilm will be providing a selection of X cameras on the day for you to use – including the brand new X-T1 and X100S.
Those wanting to post process your own images on the day will need to bring your own laptop (with the latest version of Lightroom already installed)
T + C’s
No additional, further or other costs or expenses are included in any prize unless stated. For example, the costs of transport to and from the event are not included.
There is no cash alternative
Where do I sign up?
The competition is now closed and congratulations to the winners. Details of the day will be shown on here and on Facebook after the weekend!
About Alex Lambrechts
Professional photographer Alex Lambrechts has already exhibited in London and New York and currently shoots commercially for magazines, brands, companies, music and fashion labels, travelling internationally.
Whilst he is well recognised for his ‘Quirky, often Edgy’ Children’s campaigns, and incorporating a ‘raw/street documentary’ style to his fashion editorials, Alex is forever closely studying the Masters of past & present, and is MOST passionate about the genres of ‘Social Documentary and Street Photography’ of which he is tirelessly working on personal projects. Alex’s most recent published works can be found in GQ Japan, Vogue Italia, 3 regional Elle and 2 L’Officiel mags and Nylon to name only a few, all these shoots were executed using Fujifilm X-Series cameras.
One photographer, one Fujifilm X-series camera, a whole lot of great images
X-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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.”
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.
Internationally-renowned photographer Alex Lambrechts insists on excellence – so naturally he uses X-series cameras
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.
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.
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…”
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.”
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.