Last year as part of a Facebook Group Home Project I decided to shoot Jane’s Second home her Allotment Plot. This was shot over a 12 month Period in 2018 and was shot on the Fujifilm GFX50s with 32-64mm lens and it was also shot in Colour with minimal editing using Classic Chrome. I could not give this Project as much time as I would have liked but I managed to get enough images for a book and at some point in 2019 I will sit down and make the book. As soon as I started the project I realised the wider Project could have been a study of all the plot tenants and not just Jane but I barely had time to shoot jane and her plot.
I won’t bore you with any more words here are the images from The Plot.
If you have been watching my YouTube Channel you will know that my 2019 Street Photography Project is Litter. I started of over thinking the project but after a quick look back over some previous work its all started to fall in to place and I am sure it will evolve in time.
I am going to use my Fujifilm X100F for the Project and back the X100F up with the Fujifilm Xpro2 and 18-55mm Kit Lens, I probably won’t carry both cameras with me at all times but I do like to have a backup camera for a project. I want to film as much of my project as possible for my YouTube channel and this will be filmed with a combination of diferent cameras over the course of the year but will be a mixture of Canon Fujifilm and DJI and possibly GOPro.
My project will focus on Litter and peoples relationship with litter, I will only give the images simple city titles so that the viewers will know what cities the images were shot in but not what the relationship is between the little and the people in the images if any !
The viewer will be left to draw their own conclusion from the litter in the scene, from how long it has been there to weather it is litter or potential litter.
The image above for instance will just be titled Liverpool and the bag on the floor in this case was taken away by the girl in the image, but in my project you will have to draw your own conclusions.
My project images will all have litter of one form or another in the scene and this is just to highlight the amazing amount of litter we walk past every day. I have always wanted to do a project that says something and could possibly make people think differently about our city Streets.
After walking the Streets of nearly all the UK cities I can say that some are worse than others but over the last few years people have got a little better but the councles are getting worse at emptying bins and general street cleaning. So much so that there is now Human Excrement and waste in more and more back streets.
Don’t get me wrong people still drop litter and quite a few just don’t care and will never change. I guess I went to school when the UK had an epic litter problem back in the 60’s and were taught at school to bin it with the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign.
I have a facebook group called Bag it and Bin it the group is about Litter and Dog Poo, and I have always wanted to try and tell the story in images and so decided to give it a try for my 2019 project. I don’t expect to change the world overnight but I thought I would try and put this years project to good use. I was recently over in Ireland and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of litter. There was a lot less litter over in Ireland and I was told its because people respect their country more.
My project will evolve and if you want to follow along then check out my YouTube Channel and don’t forget to Subscribe to get updates on new videos.
My 2014 Portrait Project became what I can only describe as complicated, this was for many reasons. One reason was arranging times when it was a convenient time for both my subject and I to be available for a shoot, it became quite apparent very quickly this was going to be a big issue. The weather also had a big part to play in the timing of shoots and it was too nice or two wet for some of the planned shoots. I also quickly decided shooting planed portraits was not for me. I love to shoot people but in a more candied reportage style, so the whole project started to go downhill from day one. But I decided to continue with the project and just see how it progressed.
If I ended up with just a hand full of images but learnt a lot from my project the whole year’s project would have been worth it. But hardly any progress was made over the first few months, I said to myself over and over again, never again….
Every project I start is for a reason and this project was designed to not only take me out of my comfort zone shooting people I had first met on the Internet, but also shooting people I had not met at all and only ever spoken to via social media. There were a couple of exceptions, an old friend Sam and her husband Chris who approached me at the start of the year. Sam does not like having her photo taken but wanted to step out of her comfort zone and have her portrait taken by me this year. How could I refuse, Chris ended up having his portrait taken as he waited for me to finish shooting Sam, the best part of this story is, Chris has now brought a camera and taken up photography. Looks like Sam will have to get used to having her portrait taken!
One thing I found out very quickly was trying to pin someone down to shoot them at a date and time was almost impossible, this alone made me want to throw the towel in from the start. I love street photography and event photography it’s the spontaneity that gets me excited, I just love it when all the elements of a great shot fall in to place. Trying to get a subject to be in the place they wanted to be, to be shot how they wanted to be shot on the right day at the right time in the right dress, with the right light was almost impossible !
On one occasion I was due to meet my subject at 9am, but after a few Facebook messages and phone calls they did not arrive until 1pm, by this time the light was useless and the planned location was in the wrong direction to the sun and it was pouring with rain. We had to wait for the rain to stop then shoot a new location. By the time we got the shot it was nearly dark. This was a big learning curve for me. Did I want to spend a whole day shooting one subject for my project! The simple answer was NO!
One Lady came all the way from Australia and was very much out of her comfort zone when I shot her image so thank you Linda.
I love all my projects, making each project last a year was a good move, it gives me time to completely hate the whole project and to want to throw in the towel, but when the mojo comes back to then pull yourself out of that hole using the towel as a rope !
I now know I hate shooting planned portraits, I can’t think of anything worse than trying to organise and plan a shoot with people you have not met and may not meet again. I found out the British weather is just as unpredictable as I thought it was. I found out getting people to relax for their portrait was very complicated and required a lot of work, most of the shoot in fact was taken up with getting the subject to relax. I have noticed even with some of the best portraits I have ever seen there is sometimes a look in the eyes of boredom or mind wondering! I have always hated that look, in street I always look for those few seconds before eye contact to try and make the shot.
I was lucky to be able to shoot a couple of my subjects as they worked; this made the whole process much easier. On the whole people are quite hard to work with as subjects, the more creative they are the more difficult this becomes.
Don’t get me wrong some people are great and I would like to say thank you to all the people who have allowed me to shoot them and use their portraits in this project. It was a pleasure to shoot you all and in some cases quite a laugh. Some people I could not shoot and this was more down to both my work commitments and theirs, as well as the distances we would have to travel.
I have learnt quite a lot from my project I can now use in my street and event work, I also have far more confidence in asking random people for a portrait than ever before! I have always been able to ask people for portraits but, not always had the confidence with some types of people at the important times. I won’t let these given moments pass me buy any more. I probably won’t shoot this type of portraits again but if do, I will plan at least a day or half a day for each shoot.
I have also found the Fuji X cameras are just perfect for Portraits, the XPro1 is my favorite, it slows me down and makes me think and also relaxes my subjects a lot more than a huge great DSLR in between my face and theirs. The Fuji X-T1 is also great when you want to speed things up when you can see the subjects mind wondering.
So in the end I managed 14 images, not as many as I thought but more than one a month so not to bad.
So that’s the 2014 project out of the way now for my very exciting 2015 street project…
This is going to be short but sweet, I have finished my book at last and it’s now available on Blurb in hardback and as an e book. The hard back has two price options and the e book is £9.99 the e book is here and the hardback options are here.
It was a difficult decision to make the book as small as it is but trying to squeeze 365 images in was just too hard so I made the book a lot smaller. Following three months of shuffling and writing captions and Exiff data for every image, I changed my mind and started again.
There is a forward in my book from my good friend Paul Saunders, former picture editor of The Times and just a couple of pages of writing from me. I decided to let the images do the talking.
The book will be available at Cambrian Photography North Wales at their Annual Show on the 31st May 2014 close to the Fuji stand so please feel free to come and say hello as I will be there all day.
It’s nearly April..
Where is this year going?
I have been flat out with the day job now due to staff sickness I have been working 10-11 hour days and trying to plan my year, I have only shot one portrait for my ‘Face Behind The Keyboard’ project and its now bugging me! Everyone was telling me my ‘Year Of Black And White’ was going to be hard, but it was very easy compared to this project.
I have a plan for the portraits and most are outside environmental shots and so far we have had lots of rain and I have been busy or my subject has been busy, one portrait in three months is very depressing. I am quite sure by the end of the year I will have shot everyone I need to, I have even planned some of my trips this year to visit some of my friends to shoot their portraits, so hopefully all will be fine in the end.
I have booked up most of my year with talks around the UK and planned what events I am going to shoot as well as planned most of my holidays and breaks, just a few left to organize.
I have stopped doing talks at clubs and events with slide shows. I am using and promoting printing and talking about my images in print, I think it’s more personal and at the end of the day I love to see my work in print and hope that the people that attend my talks will be inspired to print their own work.
In amongst all the chaos I have decided on my 2015 personal project, and can’t wait to get started. It’s going to be a project in black and white about ‘Available Light’. When I first started photography I used flash and fixed lighting and used to love it but now I prefer to use available light. When I say available light that can mean any light I have available, so I am going to have to set myself some rules. I will talk more about this in a future post on the 2015 project.
I am now as you all know a Fujiholic and totally addicted to Fuji Cameras. At the moment I have a large selection of Fuji glass and my main bodies are the Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji XPro1. I will be using Fuji for everything I shoot from now on these cameras inspire me to go out and shoot. Fuji are a perfect fit for me.
To answer all the questions I get in the mail, no I don’t work for Fuji and Fuji do not pay me to use or test their products. I just fell in love with their camera systems and love the company and all the Fuji Team are great. I buy all my camera gear from Cambrian Photography in Colwyn Bay North Wales and they can post all over the UK. Sarah Jones is my contact and is always willing to help anyone interested in buying any Fuji gear. She loves Fuji so much she sold herself one!
I have started a few social media groups for Fujiholics. I have been very busy this week but found time to set up a facebook,Google+,Instagram and Twitter accounts for Fujiholics and along with my excellent Admin Team of Professional Photographers, writers and bloggers hope to have so fun with Fuji over the next few years.
Right that’s all I have time for today, must finish my well over due book!
What can I say about my year of black and white! It was quite an easy project to be honest, a lot easier than I first thought! There were a couple of times I wish I could have posted some great colour images but not many. I did miss a few sunsets in 2013, well if I am perfectly honest I missed a lot of sunsets in 2013, I also did not shoot a lot of images in autumn and Christmas has been a little quiet on the photography front. But apart from that the year has been good.
I started out with my monitors set to black and white, but this only lasted a month! I could not cope with trying to work out the tones with my eye sight on the back of the camera in the field. I have also grown up shooting film and I did this without a view monitor on the back of my camera. I guess growing up shooting black and white you learn to see the tones of the colour image in your mind’s eye and you have an idea of what a final image will look like after editing. So the cameras got set to standard colour RAW.
The next issue that happened in my project was the X100 came in to my workflow and threw a great big spanner in the Nikon works. I started shooting with the X100 and its files were just the most perfect files I have ever seen for black and white. My favorite Nikon Body for black and white was the D200 this old Nikon body was just so good at producing a RAW file for black and white. But the X100 was better ! I started to use the X100 more and more and in the end I sold my D200 and my D7000 because I was only using the D3s and the X100. I thought these two cameras were just perfect for black and white and for my future projects. But then it all changed again! I found myself not using the D3s and having 30k in Pro DSLR gear laying about not earning its keep was bugging me! But the X100 could not replace a D3s ! So I went out and brought myself an XPro1 with a couple of lenses from Cambrian Photography. I was shooting the Liverpool International Music Festival at the time and took the Xpro1 along to give it a try ! It was slow and not a DSLR and I was not sure what to do, but after a while I decided I quite liked the way it made me think ! I was shooting with the pack with the D3s and when I got back home all my images shot on the D3s were the same as the rest of the Press Pack. Mine stood out only because they were black and white. But the few shots I got on the XPro1 that day had a little more thought go in to them. That was it I decided to sell all my Nikon DSLR gear and move over to Fuji Mirrorless ! This is a big leap and a leap of faith in my ability to make this system work for me in 2014 ! I have now got a Xpro1 and an XE-2 with almost all the lenses Fuji make. So this is one of the biggest changes that has come from my black and white year! I am now a Fujiholic ! Totally addicted to Fuji cameras, the build quality is amazing and the lenses are stunning, I am in the process of adapting the way I work to fit in with the camera system, it’s a very steep learning curve but I am getting there !
My black and white year has also taught me to slow down and think, to take my time, to wait and to shoot less! I am not a great memory muncher any way to be honest, but my black and white year has made me shoot less and this is a good thing when it comes to editing ! I now have more time shooting and less time editing.
I have tried to shoot Jpeg with the Fuji’s as others do but for me it’s just not working for me !
I have been asked over two thousand times this year how I process my black and white and what pre sets and actions I use! Well the secret is, there are no actions and no pre sets ! I shoot the image and have a plan in my head already for how I want this image to look when processed. So after downloading the memory card I import straight in to Lightroom 5.3, then I open the image in Lightroom and clone out any dust and marks as well as birds and crisp packets etc I check the image at 100% and also check for sharpness and camera shake. There are the odd occasions I have to go in to Photoshop to use content aware clone but very rarely these days. I then open the image in Silver Efex Pro 2 and convert it to black and white. I then use the sliders to give the image the look and feel I am after and this is how I first visualized it when I shot it ! There have been many times at this stage the image is rejected ! I just don’t like the look and feel. I then gets left on the hard drive to have a look at later in Colour ! When I made all the changes I need in Silver Efex I then import it back in to Lightroom for some final tweaks before exporting as Jpeg. I start every black and white image from scratch so sorry guys there are not actions to share or presets to share. I can’t show you all how I process my images because every image is different. I have however found a new way to process Colour so in 2014 I will be using the same method I use on my black and white images to make Colour images.
I have always hated Colour images and struggled for years with colour film ! I only ever processed Colour transparency film. I was late to Digital and have never been a fan of colour digital, until switching over to Fuji and now at last its growing on me, there is something about the Fuji Sensor and the way the camera processes the images that has made me want to explore colour !
So will I stop shooting Black and White in 2014 ? No, is the simple answer! I will probably shoot 90% black and white and 10% colour, black and white is my passion and always will be.
So my black and white year has made me move over to Fuji, I don’t think this would have happened if I had just carried on as I was, so that is one thing to thank this project for.
I have learnt a new way to shoot colour and discovered also that the Fuji cameras give me a RAW file that more suites my needs as a photographer and hopefully not only does it make my Black and White images stand out from the crowd but next year it might even make my colour images stand out from the crowed!
I have had some great feedback and interest on my black and white project and learnt a hell of a lot about myself that I want put in to words in a blog post, I can recommend a year of black and white to any one so why not start one in 2014 !
If you have any questions about my year of black and white or my change over to Fuji then please get in touch.