My Strongest memory of childhood was sitting in my Dad’s office at home looking through generations of photographs; pictures of my Dad as a rally driver, my Grandparents wedding, my Great Grandfather’s days in the army, and family days out that I barely remember from when I was younger. The photographs that held my attention were those that were captured in a moment; it didn’t matter if they were out of focus because they were taken in an instant. These photographs bred life into the subject and the image put you in that moment. To me that was and still is the essence of photography.
My photographic career started when I saw a friend’s Facebook page whilst I was sat in work, he had captured the most amazing images whilst working in a local zoo. The pictures were so evocative I almost felt like I was there. I was drawn to these images and they really appealed to my creative side.
The next day I went to Cambrian Photography, North Wales, and bought my first camera. In the years that have gone by, I have photographed anything and everything; my camera goes everywhere with me and my passion for all things photographic has grown stronger. In the early days, I photographed friends and family because I loved seeing how people reacted to what I had created. Thus, fuelling a desire to meet and photograph as many diverse and interesting people as I could. Within the last two years, this has led to me working with large teams of people.
My first Fuji
2 years ago I was first introduced to Fuji. I had invested a lot into my Canon equipment and I initially wasn’t sure whether I wanted to transition over to a new brand. However, positive reviews and curiosity won me over, so I borrowed an X-Pro1 for a week. I was instantly hooked and ended up keeping that camera.
I have now got an X-T10 and X-Pro2. The difference in quality between the mirrorless Fuji cameras compared to DSLR systems – such as the Canon 7D Mark2 that I had – is astonishing. How quick the focus speed is and ease of use; the general overall feel and use of the cameras has intensified my passion for photography once again.
Shooting Fuji and How it Benefits My Style
I am a huge fan of photographers like Helmut Newton, Andy Warhol and Stanley Kubrick. In my opinion, modern day photographers focus too much on perfect lighting and settings. Which, to me, ruins the atmosphere and feel of a shot. People become aware they having their photograph taken and that reflects in the image because the subject may show nerves, overthink their pose and lose any spontaneity. In my opinion, the people you’re photographing need to be as natural as possible. Therefore, I will set up the shot in the knowledge that I probably won’t actually use it – instead, I will capture the moments in-between frames. The personality of the person and how they feel in that moment make my best images. Fuji helps with this – if I see a moment that I know is right, I can quickly lift my camera and take the shot, comfortable in the knowledge that it will be sharp.
The EVF on my Fuji cameras suits my style perfectly as it allows me to create the image before I even press the shutter release. With each setting I change – be it exposure, aperture or ISO – I can see the change happening, which cuts my shooting and editing time in half. For example, if the sun moves slightly from my last shot, I can see it happening and I can correct the settings instantly.
As previously mentioned, time-honoured photographers inspire me because their pictures depicting lifestyle and the atmosphere of days gone by are beautiful. The women look more natural and care-free; the men more stylish and rough. The gritty film texture of the images gives them real elegance. I am inspired by these photographs and try to bring forth these old-time values into the photographs that I create.
I find carrying a bag of heavy cameras, lighting rigs and paraphernalia off-putting and restricting. So when I bought my Fuji kit, it enabled me to concentrate on the important things and to produce real quality images without being overburdened with kit.
The way the camera can deal with the pressure of certain shoots is unbelievable. You don’t look like a professional; you just look like somebody with a camera.
My Current Fuji Cameras
My main camera is the X-Pro2; I have used many cameras in my time as a photographer, however, this camera has surpassed anything that I have used previously. It is stylish, small, light, and extremely fast. It is a complete upgrade to the X-Pro1, yet keeps the rangefinder style that everybody loves. My X-Pro2 is regularly commented on for it’s unique and vintage look – many people assume I am shooting film.
I also use an X-T10. I use this camera with old lenses, which gives the feel of shooting on film. The manual focussing of these lenses gives the image a totally different feel. This camera is mainly used on personal projects; the outcome of the shoots genuinely looks like I have shot it on a Fujica 35mm, which is perfect for me. Shooting in this way allows me to add grain to my photographs in-camera and this style is a continual talking point of my work.
What Inspires Me To Take the Photographs I Take
At the moment my main inspiration is music and movies. I do a lot of driving in my job and listen to a huge range of music – from Jazz to Gypsy Swing; Country to Electro, and everything in-between. Listening to this music is when I am inspired and my imagination allows me to create a whole set in my mind of what I want to shoot. I also love movies – in particular the work of Nicolas Winding Refn. The way he shoots by using frames within frames and the depth of subject in his shots fascinates me and I try to reflect this in my work.
Fashion inspires me, people inspire me, locations inspire me, creativity inspires me. Before photography I was perfectly happy living in a small town, but now I have travelled the world working with some of the most inspiring individuals and that’s what keeps me motivated. Every day is different and my life has become so much more interesting. I am motivated by creativity and continually seek new ways to improve my style.
Showcasing My Photography
I showcase my work on SmugMug. SmugMug allows me to back up my images safely and displays them in a way you don’t get from other websites. My creativity is not limited with SmugMug because I can customise it fully and the interface is fantastic. SmugMug has changed the way I display my photography and allows my clients to preview their photos in their truest form. I have tried other websites and social media but have never been overwhelmed by the results. SmugMug is the perfect platform for me to showcase my photography.
Would you like to try SmugMug for yourself? Sign-up for the trial period using this link. If you decide to become SmugMug customer, you will be also automatically supporting FujiLove community with a 15% affiliate share.
What’s Next For Me
I have been working on a couple of personal projects in preparation for my shows at the end of the year. I am scheduled to cover three locations starting in London moving to Manchester and concluding in North Wales.
My London show will be fashion centred – concentrating on menswear, suiting and tailoring. I will be featuring clothing from Thomas Farthing London – these guys are incredible; they specialise in suits from previous eras but remain relevant and fashionable in the present day. My inspirations are based around Kubrick’s New York, when he was a teenager, but I have added my unique twist. I have photographed characters from all over Europe; some heavily tattooed some without, some with facial hair some without, some tall some short, some old some young – but all with something unique, which although impossible to describe intrigues me and hopefully comes through in my photography. Within the show I will have special guests, jazz musicians, models and actors and I am humbled, blessed and proud that Thomas Farthing have allowed me to host the show from their store, where people can see and feel the clothing used in the shots. I have shot every image in this series on the Fuji X system.
The Manchester show will be different and extremely out of the ordinary. I am branching out into a totally different style of images never seen before and without giving too much away it will be a contemporary fashion series but with a chilling and unnerving twist. I am sworn to silence but will release snippets of information closer to the time. This event is still a bit of a secret so please keep it to yourselves!
Finally, there will be a showcase of both events at Cambrian Photography, North Wales – all dates to be released nearer the time. 2017 is going to be an exciting year for me, with lots of new projects in fruition.
In March I will be presenting and answering questions at the photography show at Birmingham NEC on behalf of SmugMug and other partners. If you are there, I would love to chat with you!