Tag: X-Photographers Spotlight

X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Doug Chinnery

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

Doug Chinnery headshotLike many children I was given a Kodak Brownie, when I was around seven or eight years old, I think, and I happily cut off peoples heads and sloped my horizons burning through film at an alarming rate. When I was about twelve or thirteen my step-father gave me a Russian Lubitel Twin Lens Reflex medium format camera, a Rolliflex knock off. He taught me the basics of aperture, shutter speed and ISO and I was hooked. I think it was this camera that also made me fall in love with the square format. In the early years of married life, like so many, photography had to take a back seat but as digital cameras began to emerge my interest was reawakened and an anniversary gift of a digital SLR from my wife, Elizabeth, opened my eyes to all of the new possibilities that digital opened up.

At that time, I was working as a sales and marketing manager in an industrial manufacturing company but I started getting opportunities to make some income from my camera; selling prints, shooting weddings and portraits (which I hated!) and then teaching workshops. This gradually grew until I was only working part time for my company. When the recession started my MD wanted me to return to my role in the company full time, something I felt I couldn’t do. So, I pushed the company car keys across the table to him and walked away to become a full time professional teacher, writer and photographer. It was a huge step, but one I have never regretted.

As for my style of photography, I find myself in a strange position. I know in so many books and articles we are encouraged to develop a personal, identifiable style, but I just can’t. I have no style. I can’t shoot just one way, or with one technique. This is why I don’t describe myself as a ‘Landscape Photographer’ or an “Outdoor Photographer’. I am just a ‘Photographer’. I see things all the time, wherever I am I want to photograph and when I see things I visualise the image in different ways depending on the light, weather, the mood, my mood. I look at photographers websites who have a distinct style with envy – they are so slick and flow so beautifully. But I just can’t be like that. I just take pictures and present them in the way that I feel suits the subject, light and mood best. Perhaps having no style is my style?

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Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

I lead workshops all over the world and needed a high quality camera system which would stand up to the rigours of professional travel but would be light and inconspicuous. I was impressed with Fuji’s investment in lenses and also they way they were responding to users feedback rapidly. To me they were clearly a company dedicated to producing a customer focused system. My first body was an X-Pro 1 and within a couple of hours of using it I was astounded by the results and delighted by its usability. Since that day I have hardly used my DSLR system at all.

I now use a full range of prime lenses for my personal work and when travelling light can manage with just the 18-55mm and 55-200mm zooms in almost all situations. Although I do find myself lusting after the new 10-24mm!

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Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

I believe we should shoot images for ourselves, not to impress others or to conform to rules they would try and impose upon us. There are no Photography Police. Then if others like our work, that is great, but if we are satisfying ourselves creatively it shouldn’t matter to us what others think.

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Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

I have a number of photographers who inspire me, in fact, I list them all here.

But there are some particular ones I would mention. I love the quiet beauty of Michael Kennas work and would also encourage people to look at the extraordinary work of photographer Valda Bailey whose images truly bridge the gap between photography and painting . Another English rural documentary photographer who has had a huge effect on me is Chris Tancock and especially his long term project Beating The Bounds.  I would also point to another major influence as being Chris Friel, a master of alternative techniques who sees the world in extraordinary ways through his camera

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

When I started using the Fuji system I tried to use it in the same way as I used my DSLR and found it soon frustrated me. I soon realised it is better to work with the system, not to fight it. So rather than working in Manual as I was used to, I switched to working in Aperture Priority. I also found it much easier to use auto focus on the Fuji than manual focus as I did on the DSLR. For this I manually selected which auto focus point I wanted active so I was still in control of my depth of field. I have always only shot in raw on my DSLR, but as with so many Fuji users, I fell in love with the jpegs and so I now shoot in Fine Jpeg + raw. I use the jpegs for social media, my website and so on but then process the larger raw files as my master files for client work. And for anyone wondering if you can print large images from the Fuji sensor, yes you can. I have clients printing well in excess of 2 meters wide from Fuji X-Pro 1 raw files and the quality is stunning.

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What’s next for you?

I am patiently awaiting the launch of an X-Pro 2. I am sure Fuji will have some special for us when it comes out. In the meantime, I am already planning locations for 2016 and 2017 and have personal projects ‘on the boil’. Gnawing away at me is a huge backlog of images which need processing too. One day, when I am ready, I would love to produce a book, but I don’t feel I have a suitable body of work yet, but I enjoy writing for photography magazines and leading photography tours and workshops.

Contact info

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X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Jefferson Pires

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

downloadMy name is Jefferson Pires and I am the founder of a menswear and lifestyle online magazine called SchoolBoyCouture. I got into photography due to multiple reasons. When I was younger I used to always carry a sketchbook and sketch whatever I saw, capture whatever inspired me. Photography was a natural progression of that. Also when I first started my site, I wanted to create original content that stood out from competitors. It is then that I started taking photography seriously. The first proper camera that I got was a Fujifilm X100 when it was first released.

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Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

I was drawn towards Fujifilm because of the unique form factor and the emphasis on physical dials. It’s great to see how much the ‘X’ camera lineage has progressed since the X100 and even how much the X100 has changed due to regular software updates. I’ve still got mine and it holds a special place in my heart, even after all these years.

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Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

A lot of people tend to get caught up in the technicalities of things. ‘Pixel Peeping’ and ‘Spec Wars’ are all a waste of time in my opinion. There is always going to be something better around the horizon and the camera that you spent hours contemplating and comparing online is going to be obsolete before you know it. What’s important is that you buy something that works for ‘you’ and that makes you want to go out and shoot. That’s exactly how I work. Think of the bigger picture.

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Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

I spend a lot of time on social media platforms like Tumblr, Pinterest and even the VSCO Grid. I think there’s some fantastic inspiration that can be had from those channels. But the simplest thing you can do is put your smartphone away when you are travelling and look around you. There’s inspiration to be had everyday, right in front of your eyes.

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

Be yourself. Try not to copy someone else’s style of photography because that is unique to them. Instead try different things and you will eventually find your niche. And, like I mentioned earlier, you don’t need the latest gear to take the best pictures. It’s all in the eye. Capture what you see!

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What’s next for you?

I’ve recently launched The SBc Journal on my site with its own dedicated Instagram account. It’s a page where photographers from around the world can showcase their work. All they have to do is submit their images on the site via email or tag their images with #TheSBcJournal on Instagram. The Instagram account handle is @TheSBcJournal.

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Contact info

instagram
twitter
facebook
website

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X-Photographer’s Spotlight – Matt Hart

Tell us about yourself and what got you into photography?

I was born in Hammersmith in London, England UK. I was born Dyslexic and I struggled at school with the more academic subjects, but did very well in the Arts and Science. I found being Dyslexic more of a gift than a disability. My Dyslexia was one of the more rare forms where two areas of the brain are not connected in the Wernicke’s area and Broca’s area, so there was no hope for me to improve my academic skills. After I found out Einstein was Dyslexic along with quite a few photographers at the time, there was no holding me back. I had a dream of one day becoming a photographer. I left school with average grades and started out shooting events and weddings with 35mm film. This was short lived due to starting a family so the photography was hit and miss over the years. I am now a professional photographer shooting events and street photography, as well as teaching photographers on training courses and workshops in Street photography.

I moved to the North West of England about 9 years ago to be with my girlfriend Jane, at first it was quite hard to adjust but now I find that Liverpool inspires me to take more and more images. The North West is also in a great position in the UK for me to travel up and down the country to teach courses and talk at events.

I have always been a people watcher, it’s in my nature to want to know what is going on out there on the street, and I feel at home out in the streets of our cities. I think Street is very important even to this day of digital. There have been so many amazing Street photographers in the past and if it had not been for them documenting the streets of the world we would not be able to look back at our history.

What I love about Street is that you never quite know what you are going to get. Things happen all the time in fractions of a second that will never happen again, and only the person who is there that day with a camera can get that shot. No one can recreate or set up some of these amazing Street moments and that’s what makes Street photography unique. So my style is still developing, I was heading in one direction but now I use the X Series, I have slowed down to re-evaluate where I am going.

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Why did you choose Fujifilm cameras?

I was shooting with Nikon for over 30 years but started to get fed up with the weight of the equipment. I had a fall on the Isle of Skye whilst shooting landscapes on holiday and broke a few ribs; this was down to the sheer weight of camera gear on my back.

When I got back home I started to look for new options and bought myself a Fuji X100 – Wow! What a great little camera. I started to use the X100 more and more and found myself leaving the Nikon D3s in the bag.  For street photography, the X100 was amazing.  Soon after that I bought the XPro1 and shot Liverpool International Music Festival with the Fuji and the Nikon D3s. Following the festival, I decided to shoot Fuji only. I sold all my Nikon Pro gear! It was a big brave move but one I do not regret. I shoot mainly black and white and the Fuji X series are perfect for my style of shooting.

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Do you have a photographic philosophy you live by?

I learnt my craft from the days of film, so I guess my philosophy is to keep it real. I would much rather go back to a landscape 20 times in my life and capture the perfect landscape than to create the landscape in Photoshop. When I look back over the years, the images that mean the most to me are the ones that are the most real. I don’t always look for the sharpest most perfect images, I want the images to speak to me and tell me a story that means something to me as well as the viewer. So its got to be right from the moment of capture, that is why I love Street and Fuji cameras, its all about keeping it real.

 

Key inspirations – What & who inspires you?

Most people can come up with list of great names for inspiration but I always struggle with this question. David Bailey was my inspiration as a young lad and also Michael Boys. I guess I love how creative these guys were and still are. I do admire some of the great Street Photographers work and styles but try not to let their images change what I am trying to achieve in my work.

The images my parents took of each other and myself as a child are the images that are stuck in my head from childhood. So I guess I draw my inspiration from family street photography.

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

  1. My style of street photography is more candid so I try and dress for the area I visit to blend in. This is why I love to use the X100T it’s so very discreet. I very rarely ever ask to shoot a portrait. I try and shoot the subject as naturally as possible, but if they do notice me at the point I am taking the shot, I will just smile and say thanks. On these occasions I have made many new social media contacts, given out business cards or even sent a print as a thank you.
  2. I like to pick busy days in the city or town I choose to shoot my street photography. This opens up the options for lots of opportunities and subjects. People tend to be busy going about their everyday business and won’t even notice me, even if I am standing right in front of them. The busy towns always have great side streets where people walk in and out of town to shop or visit friends.
  3. If I find a great area I like to spend a lot of time just hanging and blending in, just taking a few shots like a fumbling tourist so that people lose interest in me, that way I can catch them as naturally as possible. Train stations are very interesting especially the seating areas, as people are thinking more about their journey or their day.
  4. I like to look for interesting subjects, someone who stands out from the crowd, people dressed in an interesting way or with an interesting look that will compliment the background. Flamboyant, outgoing people make great subjects, but are also very aware of cameras and photographers so are better subjects to ask for a portrait.
  5. I like to find great atmospheric areas that have lots of character, I then wait for the right subject to walk in to frame. This can take quite a while, sometimes hours on some occasions. I can revisit great areas a few times before I have success. Some days you get great light in a fantastic area but no subject, the next day lots of subjects and poor light, it’s a waiting game but worth it, every time.

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What’s next for you?

I always do a yearly project and this year its natural light street photography with a bit of a twist. I am starting it towards the end of march and the images will be on my website here and I will be talking at the photography show for Fujifilm on the street stage in March http://ow.ly/JcdsE

Contact info

Blog: https://matthewhartphotography.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthewhartphotography

Twitter: @matt6t6

Website: www.lighttraveler.co.uk

Email: matt@matthewhartphotography.com

Google +: https://plus.google.com/+MattHart/posts

 

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