Events Inspiration

2017 FujiLove LIVE – Reflections And Inspiration

· 18.March.2017

I spent the last weekend of February at the first FujiLove LIVE event in New York, NY. What a wonderful experience it was. During these two days, I found myself drawing inspiration from numerous sources. On my flight home, as my mind raced with new photographic ideas, I started to reflect on the things that made me grab my camera during the event. I want to share those thoughts with you here.

New locations have always motivated me to create photographs. My flight to LaGuardia from Mississippi was no exception. I was blown away by the view as we approached the airport, it was spectacular. As we banked around Manhattan on our descent, I found myself instinctively taking pictures of the skyline out the window. Once on the ground, I could hardly wait to get to my hotel, dump my suitcase, and head out to explore the city.

‘Manhattan from a Bird’s Perspective’

After a quick Uber to my hotel in the East Village, and a brief google map study, I ventured out to grab a bite and do some evening photography. As I set off down Houston St, I was mesmerized by the people. I have been living in a small town on the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi for the last two and a half years. I think I saw more people in my first couple of blocks than I typically run into over an entire week in Mississippi!

‘A City that Doesn’t Sleep’

‘Late Working Flower Girl’

I stopped at a Mediterranean Tapas bar for some dinner and a glass of wine. The restaurant was obviously a hangout for the 20-something crowd on their way home from work. My day had started at 3:45 in the morning, I had missed a connection in Houston and was physically exhausted. However, the energy from this crowd was feeding my inspiration. Any nervousness I had about being out in the city by myself after dark, vanished.


I spent four hours Friday evening taking pictures and soaking up the atmosphere in the East Village. And although I was dead tired when I got back to my hotel, I couldn’t sleep. I was pre-visualizing images and planning what street corners I should go back to tomorrow night. FujiLove Live started at 9:00 am the next morning; sunrise was around 6:30, that would give me a good couple of hours to shoot before the conference started!

‘The Street is a Stage’

‘The Pursuit – Shady Figure Enters Stage Right’

I was out the door, camera in hand, by 7:00 Saturday morning. The walk to Bathhouse Studios, where FujiLove LIVE was taking place, was a 25min walk from my hotel. I wandered slowly, drawing inspiration from the smells, sounds, and sites that surrounded me as the East Village woke up.

‘Lady in Red’

‘Sailor Jerry’

Once at the Bathhouse it didn’t take long to meet other passionate Fujifilm photographers. More inspiration. Meeting new people who share my love for photography is always exciting. I enjoyed hearing what these new friends liked to shoot and how they use their gear. Of particular note was a conversation I had with Jens Krauer, he inspired me to undertake a personal photography project that I have thought about doing for some time. But due to a combination of fear, laziness, and doubt in myself, I have not followed through on it. This weekend I am starting that project. I will not have any regrets in the future that I did not give it my best effort.

‘Walking the Dog’

Without a doubt, Damien Lovegrove, Valerie Jardin, Elia Locardi, and Karen Hutton were each a huge inspiration to me over the course of the weekend. They are all incredible photographers, and their passion was evident in their presentations. I picked up ideas and tips from each one of them, and I am excited to put them into practice.

I have not done any portrait photography before, and feel intimidated by artificial lighting. So, I found it fascinating to watch Damien sculpt with light. And contrary to what I had always thought, he demonstrated that soft light is not nearly as striking as hard light in portraiture. Although I have no aspirations to become a portrait photographer, I now feel confident enough to give lighting and this genre of photography a try. I know it will make me a better photographer overall.

‘Man in the Brown Fedora’

‘Man with the Mustache’

One of the things Valerie said during her Saturday presentation struck a chord with me. She said “street photography is a slice of life, and life is not flawless. Often the imperfections make the shot.” Her words made me realize that I do not need to create technically perfect images. The mood and feelings that a photograph portrays are much more important. I will take this to heart as I continue to develop my photography.

‘Reflections After the Storm’

Although I have been shooting a lot of street photography this past year, my roots lie in nature and wildlife photography. Both Elia and Karen are incredible landscape photographers, and their images moved me. They rekindled my passion for nature photography and inspired me to make more room for it alongside my street photography interests.

‘Flock of Pigeons on the Move’

On Saturday, Karen led us in a meditative “grounding” exercise. I have used similar exercises to help me relax and destress but had never thought to incorporate them into my photography routine. I am confident that practicing this exercise will help me become more aware of my surroundings. It will allow me to see things that I would not have noticed before. Creating an image will not just be about clicking the shutter anymore, it will be about the journey leading up to that capture. As a result, I think my images will have a deeper meaning to me and evoke more emotion when I look at them.


‘Pool of Red and Purple’

On Sunday, Valerie and Karen made a presentation on visual storytelling. Other photographers have told me that linking photographs through a story or theme is an excellent way to create a cohesive body of work.  For example, shoot with a fixed focal length lens, take photos of subjects that are red, or shoot at night. But Valerie and Karen put a different spin on the concept of storytelling. They suggested creating a story by choosing a subject and then “shoot close, shoot medium, shoot wide, and shoot at various depths of field.” Take a wide shot to establish your story. Then shoot details to elaborate on it. I hadn’t heard it put this way before, and I was excited to give this method of storytelling a try. Tompkins Square park was around the corner from Bathhouse Studios, and it had several basketball courts. So, on our lunch break, I decided to create a short photo essay on a group of young men playing a pickup game of hoops.

‘Pickup Game in the Park’



‘Two Points’

I can’t finish these thoughts on inspiration without talking about gear! Now, I am relatively new to Fujifilm. Last June I decided to leave all my pro-Nikon gear at home on a trip to France. Instead, I purchased an X100T and took that small camera with its fixed 23 mm lens with me. What a change from hauling a DSLR and a bag of lenses! It was liberating, and I have no regrets. This Christmas I bought an X-T2 and am now fully committed to Fujifilm. I know that gear does not make you a better photographer, but there is something about the feeling I get when I have one of my Fuji cameras in my hand. Plain and simple, they are fun to use. I can’t explain why. It is just something you must experience. And when a camera is fun to use, you use it more. I am never without my X100T. As a result, I am becoming a better photographer because I am taking more pictures. It is no longer a chore to bring my camera with me. It became evident to me over the weekend that I was not the only one who felt this way!

‘A Good Read’

FujiLove LIVE was a great success, and hats off to Tomash for organizing such a fantastic event. I left New York feeling inspired on many different levels and am raring to go out and shoot.

So, what inspires you? Light, location, gear, music, art, other photographers or creatives, taking a workshop, watching a movie? Whatever it is, find it and embrace it. Use that inspiration to channel energy into your photography and grow as an artist. Enough reading, now grab your camera and create some images!

Some impressions from the 2017 FujiLove LIVE event (photos by Jens Krauer):

About Author