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 !
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
Quite a long way back, I was asked to talk at The Photography Show by Marc Horner from FujiFilm UK. I had been a FujiFilm X Photographer for a while and was very excited to be able to represent Fuji at the show, easy decision to make ! I just said yes, and put it to one side it was months away and I had plenty of time to prepare. I did think about it every now and then and decided to get my good friend Gerallt Jones to shoot a short introduction Video to start my presentation. I wanted to keep it true to Fuji and have the short film shot on the Fuji X-T1 in black and white. We got together with a few of the Fujiholics on the 15th of February 2015 to shoot the film and I was not in a good place !! I idea of messing it up was getting to me big style. I was freezing up to the camera, every time G asked me to speak I forgot what I was doing, it got so bad we dropped the voice parts and just went for a soundtrack! I think suddenly it all hit me in 34 days time I will be up on a stage and what if I forget what to say! That was going round and round in my head for a few days after the video shoot ! I just did not want to let Marc and FujiFilm down and was getting nervous. I teach courses all the time, and talk all the time but this was for FujiFilm and it was at the NEC ! I managed to stop looking at the great big Cake, and break it down in to small slices. I left the presentation to the last minute to finish off, and then put the video on a flash drive and presentation on my lap top all backed up to a spare stick just in case I lost the first one ! Well time went by and I was fine very proud to be asked and was very excited, by the time we had got to the NEC and was relaxed and ready to go. We managed to get in to Hall 5 and see the StreetScape stage the night before and that was fine! Well it was big! Like a great big cake! But it was fine.. We made our way over to the Hotel and met up with the Fuji team and had a few drinks and everyone was excited about the show. We went up to our room and I got in to bed all relaxed then BOOM ! Great big Cake came back, 12.00,12.30,1.00,2.00,2.30,3.00,3.30 no matter how much I tried to think about every slice it was still a huge CAKE ! We made our way over to the show and I got set of for talk number one of my five talks for the weekend, and I was still stuck with a huge cake, all the normal nerves and worries about what can go wrong. We set up and a crowd started to form not just a couple of people at least 100 people were around the front of the stage, I thought I hope they all stay and don’t wonder off! Sip of water Video goes on I take my position and its time.. By the time I had got on the stage and started talking I was CAKE free ! 100 people had become 200 then 300 and I was having the time of my life and I did not swear once! What an amazing experience to get up on a stage and not only talk about my passion for Street Photography but to be able to do it for FujiFilm UK. So thank you Marc Horner and FujiFilm for asking me to talk it was an amazing experience and thank you The Photography Show for the great stage set up, and the AV guys who relax you and make it all so simple ! One of the best experiences you can have as a photographer is talking about your work and your passion, so thanks every one that came to see me, I hope you got something useful out of my excited waffle ! If you want to come and see what I am all about then here is a list of my UK workshops for 2015 WORKSHOPS Images above by Gerallt Jones Thanks for coming guys and listening so intently to my Street Life talk…
We met up at 17:00 hours in Victoria Square and a Fujifilm X30 was given away as a prize.
We then set of to Royal Mail Street and made our way to the Old Line Birmingham Canal after a brief Street camera demo from myself and a quick Q & A by Damien Lovegrove.
Damien was soon to live up to his new name and the Love Gloves came off for the above shot. The Loveglove name came from a Japanease translation of Lovegrove a few weeks back when Damien was representing FujiFilm UK in Japan as one of the FujiFilm X Photographers.
Most of the images from the evening were posted on Twitter under the #FujiTPSWalk and are well worth a look. I managed to grab a few images between chatting and demonstrating a few street photography techniques. We then made our way to a local pub for a quiet drink before ending the evening. So, if you are at The Photography Show next year look out for a Street Walk, one of the best ways to see a city and make new friends.
If you don’t want to wait till then, have a go at this great competition by Clifton Cameras and FujiFilm UK and try to win one of three Fuji X100T’s and possibly a trip to Paris.
You can also come on one of the free Photowalks planned over the next 6 months, see web site for details http://www.techtoyreviews.com/fujifilm-xt10-rumors-sensor-fuji-xt1-price/