black and white

So you think you are a Photographer !

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Bollox are you ! Most people that carry cameras these days are just camera owners.

If you buy lots of ingredients from a Supermarket and carry them around with you it won’t make you a Chef, not even if you do have a £10,000 Cooker and all the pots and pans. You need to learn all the classics and possibly even start off in the pot wash or on veg prep.

Well it’s the same with a Camera with all the gear, it takes years of practice and a lifetime of learning.

One very well known Photographer once said to me ” you have to do a long time in the trenches before you can call yourself a photographer”

It’s no good watching Youtube and having a good look around Social media. YouTube does help but youtube is not a great way to learn and retain information. Social media is either one way or the other it’s either lots of people blowing smoke up your arse, or a lot of hate. Most of the time its gives you a 50/50 view of your work by uneducated people who might be lying for their own benefit !

The other issue these days is so called Ambassadors or Influencers ! Most just work to a template of formula to produce images you want to see that you think are great. Technically most of their images are fine but are they any good ? They are famous today but will you remember them in 10-20 years time ? Who made them famous ? Their work or their association with a brand ? Don’t get me wrong there are some great Ambassadors out there with some amazing work but do you know the good from the bad ?

Don’t even get me started on the Fake Instagram and Social media stars with paid followings and brown filters !

People these days who are making crap images have even started to slag off some of the greats or try to debunk there work in a vain attempt to make themselves feel better.

It’s all becoming a real mess how do new people know who to follow and how to learn ! Well it’s not easy its a complete minefield out there and coupled with that the fact that most people with a camera think they are a Pro the moment they get the camera out of the box it’s a big mess.

I have seen many an argument about Bruce Guildon or Martin Parr the funny thing is most people don’t have a clue what a good or bad image is or why ! So there is no way they can work out who are the modern day greats !

I won’t go in to the guy I watched tell Nick UT he used the wrong film when he shot the Napalm Girl !

A great photographer will be out there every day honing their craft and probably won’t even have time to teach or talk until they are a lot older and have more time on their hands. I have seen people leave University without a body of work and set up teaching workshops and people actually going on their courses ! Most of the Course content has been stolen form the internet or they have been on other photographers workshops to make notes and just replicate there course ! They are passing on No Passion and No Skill. There are so many workshops and courses out there now the market is flooded.

I remember reading about 10 years ago, how that one day the world would be saturated with cameras and then the new cream of photography would rise to the top. I think we are at that point now but the water has become so muddy most people don’t have a clue what makes a great image or a great photographer and social media and political correctness is holding the future greats back like a great big dam. Combined with people with really average images trying to convince the world there work is great and some brands even falling for it !

I am now retiring in October this year so don’t read this thinking he is just trying to sell his own workshops because I am not.

You might be thinking he thinks he is the dogs bollocks that Matt Hart but far from it I don’t like any of my work and if you have been on any of my workshops you will know I like about 9 of my own images, and they all mean something to me personally.

I did find it funny on facebook when I read about a guy that culls his images down by first removing all the out of focus shots  ! I think omg just stick the bloody thing on Auto you won’t miss !

Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about learning to use a camera, this for most people takes a while but also the whole process is a lifetime of learning. Some people get stuck in the cocky pixel peeping stage where they know the camera inside out then then spend their lives on social media telling everyone how great they are ! They forget we have Google so we can just google their work and see a bunch of random shit with no meaning or context. These are the people that go to all the gear shows and try and piss off all the staff at the Trade counters with their vast knowledge. What they don’t know is everyone just thinks they are a dick ! I love to google people having an argument about images and see how really bad there work is !!

No one gives a flying fuck what camera you have and if you are loyal to a brand any more just learn how to use what you have or find the right camera for you. It’s just a box that takes a photo learn to use it then move the fuck on.

The only way to learn how to make and take pictures is immerse yourself in Knowledge, read up on the real greats from the past the same way great painters copied the brush strokes of the masters before them. You will go through the stage of copying the peoples work you admire but then it’s time to start to find out who you are and what you have to say with your camera. Most people with cameras these days are like those kids in school with the tracing paper just copying what other people have done and never really moving forward.

I have taught thousands of people over the years and only a handful have listened and studied the greats and then gone on to produce great bodys of work or find their own style.

It’s not easy and involves a lot of work and that is why most people don’t ever learn and don’t ever get anywhere and the camera manufactures love you because it’s you that they can convince that there new lens or new camera can make you a better Photographer but sadly there are no shortcuts. Hard work dedication and a lifetime of learning is the only way.

If I wrote a blog post about the Fujifilm X100F it would reach 20,000 people if I made a video about it it would reach 80,000 people, If I talk about how to move forward in your photography and become a great photographer I get about 100 hits ! What does that tell you.

I used to teach a learning to see workshop where I gave people the formula to be a great and successful Photographer but because its involves hard work people don’t follow the route. I think out of all the courses I did only 3 people really listened and one is now producing great work and has been talking and exhibiting their work.

Instead of going to all the gear shows support all the great Exhibitions around the world that are not about the gear but about great projects and great work.

In the UK we have Hull International Photography Festival and Photo North in Harrogate the Birmingham Photography Festival etc

Go to an Art Gallery and see how the masters paint light in to a scene or frame and image.

Have a look at the great books by Bluecoat Press.

I hear people moaning about the cost of Exhibitions at £5 or £20 and it makes me laugh, they spend £1000 on a new lens and some shitty bags and more lens cloths and that new KickStarter thing that they think will make them great at The Photography Show but £5 -£20 spent on looking at real work by real people will inspire you more than any bit of kit but it might not make you feel happy inside like a new camera ! People were moaning about paying £20 to go and see Don Mccullin’s work in London a while back. I was shocked, I wonder if people realise how much these things cost to put on. I have a friend who put on a small exhibition a couple of years back and it cost him 35k  ! It’s not like TPS where all the brands pay for all the artists.

Photowalks also help, get out in the fresh air with like minded people, be careful you don’t get stuck with the know it all gear freak ffs they will drive you insane, but listen to the conversations that way you will hear some new names you can research and find out about the next Exhibition or Festival you might hear some names you have never heard off and find out that there work inspires you.

So how is this blog post going to help ! I think most people could not give a shit to be honest they just want to be YouTube famous or have 20,0000 likes on Insta.

I am not going to give it all away in one blog post I am going to write a series of posts and now I am out and about again try and make some YouTube videos that really do help the few people that really want to learn to make it. It’s all up to you though as I say there really are no shortcuts.

The truth is it’s all about Projects and Finding your own style but its like weight loss you can tell everyone losing weight is all about diet and exercise and because that sounds like hard work they switch off ! You can’t lose 3 kilos in 5 minutes and keep off you have to work at it.

It’s the same with Photography you have to start by researching who the greats really are in the area of Photography you want to learn then immerse yourself in there work. Once you have learnt as much as you can you need to get out there and shoot and shoot. The more time you spend with a camera in your hand the better you will get, and that is where Personal Projects come in.

Don’t shoot for your friends and social media shoot for you shoot something that really means something to you, shoot something that you are passionate about it’s not about likes or fluffy comments it’s about learning ! Start a project today and make it last a year and produce a book at the end of it.  Do you know how many times I have said that and how many people have done it ? How about if I told you the greats work on projects all the time !

Good luck

 

 

Out Out !

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It’s been a difficult year so far, apart from a couple of days work at Peoples Ford Liverpool I have hardly been out with a camera and this bank holiday weekend was the first real chance to be out with my camera this year. I thank my good friends Rich and Elaine for the opportunity to get out and get some fresh air.

Not going in to many details but waiting for my Gallbladder to be removed and daily pain has taken its toll. Not only am I now in daily pain but every now and again when a stone decides to move in to a bile duct I have around 15 hours of intense pain and this can be at any time of day or night at at the most random and annoying times. Lucky for me I had a weekend with minimal issues and was able to get out with my camera, even thought I probably drove my friends mad moaning about my Health !

I have driven past the Marble Church for about 10 years and about 5 years ago I decided I would like to try and photography it. However it’s one of those places on a journey so you very rarely can be bothered to stop. I had a vision in my head of what I would like but as soon as we got there it started to rain. Great for cloud formation but a pain in the arse for rain on the lens !!  I also had a vision of what I wanted to shoot and to be honest the first walk around the Church I realized I was to close and needed to be further away I also had to deal with too much distortion up close and did not have a tilt shift lens.

After taking a few reference shots I decided to move back towards the road where I had seen this Church from and the closer I got to the road the vision I have had for so long started to fall in to place. The rain stopped and a little light hit the church and lit up the graveyard. So I quickly framed the church between the bushes  and grabbed a couple of frames. I was using one of my Fujifilm XT3 bodies and the amazing 10-24mm lens, I normally use this camera just for commercial work and only ever take out my X100F on most trips but decided I wanted something a little wider today and this used to be my default Landscape Lens.

I am quite happy with the shot and I guess it just goes to show all good things come to those that wait ! I think if I had stopped and tried to shoot this Church 5 years ago it would not have been the same !

After the Church we went to the woods, the weather forecast was supposed to be over cast all day but over the last few years I think these little showers have been quite hard to predict so the cover of the tree canopy in the woods was a good choice.

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I think you can tell my mood from my images and I have always noticed this. It’s been a crazy year this year and at times as now, my mood has been quite dark. The irony of going to the woods to shoot bluebells was not lost on me being a black and white shooter  ! I just loved this path and the darkness of the woods so wanted to capture the way the woods made me feel at the time and I think this image did just that.

The next image says a lot to me, I fell out of love with Landscape images because for me there was always something missing ! Without a human element or something living I found it quite hard to connect with some scenes. When I was composing this shot I loved the way the light was hitting the ferns in the foreground and lighting up the bluebells but really did struggle with the empty space on the left ! It was at that point Jake walked in to the scene a couple of frames later I had an image I was happy with.

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I had almost fallen out with Photography this year, but it’s surprising how a day out with great company and some fresh air can bring back the urge to make and create images again… I need to go OUT OUT more often !!!

You can find these images on my Instagram account @matt6t6

 

Projects 2019

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I’m a bit late thinking about my 2019 project and I have not even finished my 2018 Project !

Not that I have to finish it on the 31st January this year as I have given myself and the group that are all doing the Home project extra time as we have to have the images ready for an Exhibition in Hull next October at the Hull International Photography Festival the first weekend in October 2019.  My Home Project is The Plot and is all about Janes second home her Allotment.

I can just share one image with you from my Plot project and its the one below.

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Part of my projects process it to work out what I would get the most out of that would also push me and take me in a new direction but because I have a few other project on the go I am probably going to be quite reserved next year, because I want to concentrate on YouTube in the first couple of months and i have a house to finish my time will be limited for a while.

I did however start thinking about my 2019 projects when I shot this image in Edinburgh a couple of months back ! It was pouring with rain and as I stood there with my X100F grabbing some frames of wet people running for the train I started to get a few ideas flooding in but most of them would be to much work.

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I am already working on two projects that are long term and one is Where is Jane and the image below is from that very long term project and is all about finding Jane. She is on the Path to the left if you are struggling

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A big part of my thought process for projects is taking photos and see if they would work as a body of work or how difficult the project would be to shoot and how long it would take ! I guess these thought go through my head all the time.

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Ideas like the image above come and go and eventually just like when you smell freshly made coffee one such idea will excite me and it starts me on my new Project Journey.

Next year I am going to take you on that Journey with me on my Youtube Channel.

 

Ireland with the X100F

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If you read my previous blog post or watched my YouTube video you will know I have just been to Ireland for the first time in years.

I had a rough time in Ireland with my health so did not achieve all I wanted but had a relaxing time apart from the times I was kept awake all night with Gallstone Pain.

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I was going to shoot lots of video but did not feel up to it so there is just a short film on YouTube this time.

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My previous blog post was all about the iphone and how amazing it was to have with me so that I could shoot, process and upload the images in seconds.

This is just post it just to share a few of the images I shot in Ireland with the Fujifilm X100F my favorite camera in the Fujifilm range for so many reasons and even though I have just brought two X-T3’s for Landscape and Video they will never beat the weight and ease of use of the X100F.

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I really did not want to be carrying a tripod and bags of gear with me everywhere I went in Ireland so kept it really simple. Canon G7X MKII in my pocket for video and back up, X100F over my shoulder and iphone in my pocket.

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I have to confess to mostly using the iphone and then second came the X100F and last the G7X.

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We were blessed with Storm Ali whilst we were in Northern Ireland so managed to get some interesting shots of the Giants Causeway and with storm force winds it was quite a challenge at times.

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I used the X100F with a Lee Filters 0.9 Grad handheld in front of the lens just to darken the sky and keep the spray off my lens on most of the shots.

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We had an amazing time and now I have to put together a workshop on Achill Island with Matt Walkley so will leave you to look at a few of the images I made with the X100F.

I am moving to YouTube next year so feel free to hop on over to YouTube and subscribe and hit the bell, that way you can see what I am up to in 2019.

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Projects

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I have always been passionate about Photography Projects and I even include Projects in my talks and workshops. Projects are fantastic for personal development but frustrating all at the same time. The hardest part with most projects is getting started ! Once you are started its not too hard to stay motivated, as long as its a short project.  A short project is for around a year.

I started my ‘Where is Jane’ & ‘Where’s Jane’ project about six months ago but its not been going to plan. Its a long term, double project based on my old facebook posts about my travels with Jane.

I got it wrong from the start and decided to shoot the project in Colour and with the Fujifilm GFX because I wanted to put the images in a Exhibition with really big prints. The downside to this idea was I really don’t carry the GFX with me everywhere I go with Jane, so the projects were not really getting off the ground and I ended up shooting with all types of camera, also I am  not a fan of colour so it was all at a standstill !

This weekend in Edinburgh I shot the black and white image above and it was that lightbulb moment ! I was doing it all wrong and it should be in black and white and not camera specific !

So I am going to start the project from scratch but this also means I can add into the project all the old images from facebook that made me want to start the project in the first place.

‘Where is Jane’ & ‘Where’s Jane’ are two very simple projects,  one is looking for Jane in the images and the other is knowing where she is in the world ! Trust me its confusing enough for me especially as I am Dyslexic so just the wording alone is confusing.

Below is a set of images for ‘Where is Jane’.. as in where in the world…

 

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The following set is for looking for Jane..

Some are easy and some are a little harder !

Some are a cross between the two projects..

Still Confused ?

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I always find it interesting how a project evolves over time. The ‘Where is Jane’ project has been stalled for far too long but now at last I have found a way forward. Hopefully one day it will be a book and an exhibition. Its still a little confusing but I am quite sure it will all make sense in the end ! I hope.

Photowalks 2017

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Here we go again, another year of Photo Walks.  This year I will be leading four Fujiholics Photowalks. The Liverpool walk has already taken place but Bristol, Edinburgh and London are still up for grabs.

I would like everyone to know that you can bring any make of camera with you and that includes smart phones. You can also come without a camera just for a day out.  It’s all about like minded people getting together to have a great day out and to share ideas and meet new people.

The walks are free to sign up to, I only ask that if you sign up then change your mind, please follow the link from your Eventbrite confirmation email to remove yourself so other people can sign up as numbers are limited.

So far this year London is in the lead with 280 people signed up.

We would like to see more families and children on the walks and would like you all to know that kids are welcome as long as they are accompanied by an adult. Why not bring them to London and make a weekend of it.  They can use their phones or even buy them a throw away camera.

Photowalks are great, I have met friends for life on the walks and also made some amazing business contacts. They are a great way to explore our cities on foot with a great bunch of people.

A route and map is emailed out to everyone that signs up approx 1 week before the event to download to your smartphone or gps device or you can print out the map. You don’t have to keep up with the guys at the front as we tweet our location throughout the day and use a unique hashtag for the day. You can stop for refreshments along the way or even a cold beer and then catch up a bit later by taking a shortcut using the tube.

In London this year we have the Fujiholics Team and a few other Pro Photographers as well as some retailers so hope to bring you a few offers for the day. There will be quite a few Fujifilm X Photographers and Ambassadors about as well. The Fujiholics Team really do make you all feel welcome.

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I would love to see as many of you guys on one of the walks this year, the last three walks are spread out all over the UK so feel free to come and join us.

Here are the links to the walks..

Bristol

Edinburgh

London

If you want to buy cheap train tickets then here is a link to sign up to The Train Line ticket alert.

If you need to know any more details then feel free to contact us info@fujiholics.com or matt@fujiholics.com

Hope to see you sometime in 2017…

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Exposure Triangle the rest is personal.

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I had another great year at The Photography Show and this year was just the same as last year as far as questions were concerned, but this time about the Xpro2 and not the X-T2 so I have decided to answer a few questions in this blog.  If you came to the show and listened to my talk for Fujifilm UK, you will know how much I hate writing and why. I also only tend to write my blog when I have something to say, the rest is just noise.

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One of the great things about TPS is the fact that so many photographers get together in one place and get to inspire each other. I always come away from the show buzzing with ideas. This year the biggest buz and the coolest places to be where the SmugMug Stand and the Fujifilm Stand, this is in part to the huge community of like minded photographers that love to be part of what is becoming the coolest collaboration in photography ever.

To many people get bogged down in the TEC, at the end of the day you only need a box with a lens and a way of controlling Aperture, Exposure and ISO the rest is all personal taste.

We all choose cameras we like the look and feel off and we listen to the people around us for feedback and read reviews etc, that is the same for a sofa or pair of shoes or a toaster.

People are free to choose what ever camera they like so there is no real need to moan about one you don’t like go buy one that fits your personal requirements.

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All you really need is the exposure triangle the rest is just semantics!  I was asked over and over again at the show to pick all the fault’s in the XPro2 and when I said it does not have any, one person was pushing me for a fault he even said “so what would other people say was wrong with it” I don’t know what other people would say I have never been one to wish a camera had this or what or needed x or y I just buy a camera that I feel an emotional connection to and that has the exposure triangle close to hand, after all that is all I NEED ! I don’t need much more in my line of work, I am a Photographer and just need to take pictures.  I do like a great lens to give me a sharp image if I want a sharp images and Fuji lenses give me that in droves.

I have an XT10 for Street and to stick in my pocket and that has a 27mm lens on it, I have another XT10 with a 90mm lens on it. My XPro2 has a 35mm f/2 lens on it and my X-T1 has a battery pack and 50-140mm on it most of the time. These are all for different jobs like a mechanic with a socket set! The Cameras are the ratchets and the lenses the sockets so picking fault in ratchet or socket for one job is pointless when you have a great set of tools ! I get asked about 4k video etc and I roll my eyes ! I have two GoPro cameras for video if I want to shoot 4K but in all honesty the Video in my XPro2 or X-T1 is great for blogging etc If I wanted amazing stunning video I would buy a new tool for my tool box not moan about the ones I have.

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So why do I buy new cameras if I am not chasing the tec ? I chase the warranty that’s why, you see so many people blaming the manufactures and moaning about faults 5 months or 8 months out of warranty.  I thinks it’s mad! Social media has become a media hub for moaning about out of warranty issues with all brands.  As a professional even before I used Fuji X Series camera I used to buy a new Nikon body every time the warranty ran out that way if I ever had an issue I could return it and get it repaired without any hassle. To be honest in all the time I have owned the Fujifilm X System and I don’t look after my tools as much as I should, I have never had to have them repaired. The only camera I sent back was one of my X-T1’s for the light leak issue and that was turned around in 7 days.

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Quite a few people think we get our kit for free but this is just not true, I paid for all my Fuji X Cameras and lenses before I was a Fujifilm Ambassador and still do to this day. We do get to hire new gear when it’s available and free of charge but it has to be given back. The only camera I have been given was the Fuji XPro2 and this also had my name on the serial number. This was a gift for all my hard work in the XPro2 launch and my ongoing work for Fujifilm. But when I say given, if I had invoiced Fujifilm for my time this it would far outweigh the cost of the camera.

Mirrorless cameras make great tools and don’t take up any room so you can in fact have quite a few in your toolbox, I also do like a spare body for back up.

I was asked at the show if I could choose one X Series camera what one would it be ! That is like saying what is your favourite Socket or wrench! Well the answer if it was a toolbox would be SnapOn and what ever socket I needed for the job.

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So why Fuji, well I started buying the X Series cameras and the found this great community around the world that all had this passion for the brand, they would share there passion and I soon found myself starting Fujiholics to put on events to get everyone together to share the passion and take photos, mostly of coffee and cake and each others cameras it appears !

As far as a camera is concerned, I only need an exposure triangle and I am happy, but the X Series have given me so much more I have never had so many collaboration talks with so many photographers. The Fujifilm teams all over the world are all great people and are all part of the community in one way or another.

If you pushed me to say what is the best all round Street Combo I would have to say the XPro2 and 35mm f/2 lens at the moment but that’s because I LOVE shooting Acros Film Simulation with Green filter Jpegs are my thing at the moment as I hate processing with a vengeance.  The 35mm f/2 is just sexy that is all !

I try to have an emotional attachment to my work and I need the same feeling with my camera system. Perfect tool for that is right for the job.

They X Series do look good next to a coffee and cake to !

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