17 février 2019
Eh bien non, grosse désillusion en perspective, l'originalité du propos, l'expérience du médium et la volonté de persister n'est pas l'apanage de tous. Ça aussi fait parti de la différence et de la diversité humaine qu'il faut célébrer aujourd'hui. Mais il y a cette fâcheuse, et faucheuse, idée tenace du nivellement par le bas qui justifie l'abaissement culturel au niveau du rire gras.
Certes le phénomène n'est pas nouveau, nouveau mais avec l'avènement Internet, il pollue maintenant nos horizons et contribue largement à la démotivation des efforts des véritables mais souvent fragiles auteur(e)s ayant une pensée innovatrice, provocatrice et rafraîchissante.
Comme je suis abonné-participant à certains autres forums-photo et plates-formes de diffusion comme Flickr, il m'arrive de déceler des talents émergents ou encore bien expérimentés et je prie intérieurement qu'un ou une directeur(e) artistique les découvre, les présente et les encourage à offrir ce cadeau à notre humanité devenue pauvre culturellement par sa recherche matérialiste individuelle réductrice.
Aujourd'hui je rends hommage aux efforts souvent inconnus mais si essentiel à notre civilisation humaine que font tous ces créatrices et créateurs de contenu et qui réinventent parfois à leur insu ce médium qu'est la photographie.
14 février 2019
Il y a toujours cette image tenace que que la photographie urbaine se définit essentiellement par la street photography, un courant culturel qui remonte aussi loin que dans les années 1950 et 1960 et plus particulièrement aux États-Unis dans les mégapoles comme l'exemple connu de New-York.
La street photography qui a eu comme précurseurs d'autres grands photographes observateurs de l'activité humaine en milieu urbain comme Alfred Stieglitz ou Henry Cartier-Bresson, a inauguré une vague déferlante qu'on pourrait assimiler à la photographie exploratoire et souvent spontanée de notre environnement citadin.
Mais doit-on réduire la dimension de la photographie urbaine à la réalité de l'activité humaine seulement? Ne doit-on élargir son propos à tout ce qui relève de l'urbanité sans restriction. Ses paysages (urbanscape), son architecture, ses artéfacts, sa mobilité, etc. En ouvrant l'horizon de son champs d'étude visuel, on y constate une grande richesse de sujets et d'interprétations artistiques.
Bien sûr il ne s'agit d'exclure l'essence même de l'urbanité, i.e. l'empreinte humaine. Cette dernière reste toujours implicite de tout environnement urbain. Tout élément de son contexte comporte une histoire, un impact, une émotion. À travers ces constructions, ces assemblages, ces ensembles neufs, clinquants de presque perfection mais aussi ces lieux délaissés, défaits, désuets, il en demeure tout un trame historique antique, moderne ou contemporaine à capter et à partager.
Notre point de vue doit élargir son champs visuel au delà du microcosme individuel humain pour se projeter vers l'affirmation sociale qui le propre de notre évolution humaine. Notre regard doit embrasser tous ces horizons souvent oubliés qui sont la signature d'une civilisation ou si vous préférez d'une communauté civile devenue essentiellement urbaine.
Les pistes de la photographie urbaine recoupe toutes celles de la photographie en générale. C'est ce qui la rend si riche, si originale, si créative et si évolutive.
07 février 2019
The big difference is that photography was presented on a two dimensions hard support like paper or cardboard at the time. Yes there were slide shows (classed as audio-visual) but the fact was that photography was considered finalized when the image was printed.
Today the picture representation is now virtual meaning observed from screens of different dimensions and resolutions on diverse hardware supports. Yes the image is still fixed but not permanently as it use to be in the past. And this very picture stay virtual and is memorized to digital support which access and durability can be variable and uncertain.
Reflecting on these two different periods of my modest life (film & digital) I came to the conclusion that the hard printing may be the only way to get a final photographic representation that will be preserved, consulted and reproduced in the future. So don't prevent ourself to select, edit and print your best or more significant pictures.
All the pictures presented in this article has been taken by the author during the Leica Akademie in May 1997. There are all scanned from the original slides (colors may have shifted over time).
05 février 2019
|Every manufacturers seem to mimic the Leica commercial strategy|
by concentrating their line of products to a niche market.
I cannot prevent myself to comment about all those new cameras and lenses that have launched within the last year and so. Nikon (Z), Sony, Olympus (E-M1X), Panasonic (S1, S1R) for example are so expensive cameras that we may now considerer the Leica price availability to be on the average!
|Source: Fujifilm France|
Hopefully some manufacturers are still trying to offer more accessible models such as the Fujifilm X-T100 or X-E3 but these ones are still a strong investment for the non-rich beginners like students or low rate workers.
With a price tag of $1250 (including the XF23mm F2) the Fujifilm X-E3 cannot be assimilated as we use to call an entry-level model but it is the price to pay to get an image sensor that equal the X-T2.
The 2016 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was introduced with a price tag of $2500 which was consider at the time as an extravagance but we know now that the new E-M1X version has simply surpassed that limit by more than $1000!
The elite product presentation done in beautiful destination like Barcelona are mostly interesting for the lucky selected Web photo reviewers but don’t give much for the basic users like us… (Note: the picture has been done during a personal stay in 2011)
I hope that at least some of the most visible Web photo & video reviewers will spend less time with the the more fortunate (but who are typically less medium productive) people or the ones who are dreaming to possess these jewelry products and will reconsider the real amateurs (i.e. the ones who like and use the medium) base.
03 février 2019
|Northern Cardinal (Female)|
Yes, yes I will offend a lot of real bird photographers who spend hours and involvement to their beautiful art of illustrating birds in their habitat. But since I am only a kind of spontaneous photographer my purpose was only to demonstrate how versatile and rewarding it can be by simply using the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8R LM OIS zoom lens.
For those you this can be interesting I am located near a river on the north shore of Montreal, Canada. So here are some flying neighbors visiting my backyard:
|Northern Cardinal (Male)|
|Hairy woodpecker (Female)|
|House sparrow (Male in breeding)|
01 février 2019
Today Fujifilm has already almost win every bit of recognition in the photo industry for their products and rightfully the Fuji line-up is very complete and comprehensive. Even a player like Nikon will never try to compete with Fujifilm which had forced them to develop a mirrorless alternative into the other so-call "full frame" sensor format (24 X 36mm).
Among the Fujifilm beautiful line-up we can find an interesting model under the name of X-T20 (successor of the previous X-T10). Presented by many as a downscaled version of the X-T2, the Fujfilm X-T20 is a very small package designed with a centered viewfinder à la SLR. It is a compact camera smaller and lighter than the MFT format Panasonic Lumix G85 for example. In my sense this represent the very essence of mirrorless camera category (To be compact and lightweight).
In fact a more serious exam of the X-T20 proved me wrong in every aspects of it because it is indeed a very contemporary digital camera. The Fujifilm designer department have the very good ability to create that impression of a return of the past by adopting forms and fonction controls that are legendary associated with legends in photo equipment. That can be be deceptive for some people that will strongly underestimate the very modern potentialities of the X-T20. So don't get a falsely impression at first sight.
But The Fujifilm is also a very modern digital photo camera that is giving you access of all the contemporary automatic aids and references that help to perform without bothering with many technical constraints. So again apparences can be deceptive for the fast looker.
Every time we are speaking about the ergonomics of a camera model we have mixed opinions regarding the pure handling of the device and the adaptability of the photographer to use it. At the end we find that confort is ultimately a very personal perception that depends of so many physical and psychological factors that is almost impossible to get a general rule that suit most of us. For myself I have compare the Fujifilm X-T20 with my previous compact 35mm SLR camera experiences. And because we want something small and lightweight it induce to let go some bigger handling exigence like the famous hand grip with sufficient finger space to hold the camera body like a glove. Instead the X-T20 will ask you to pay more attention when you hold and interact with it.
Just a short note regarding the optional add-on grip available through Fujifilm official accessories (Hand Grip MHG-XT20) or its third-party clone (Meike XT20G). Some will find and adopt almost full-time the accessory although others will simply discard it when they discover that the add-on grip contradict in part the compact vocation of the X-T20. It is up to you to make your choice of convenience.
With bigger and longer Fujinon lenses the additional grip will certainly increase your confort and you will fell a higher sense of security if you carry the X-T20 with your one-hand. (I'm not fond of the big under opening for the battery/card access but it is a very useful feature for sure).
Since I have already a previous experience with the Fujifilm X-T10, the X-T20 predecessor, I was familiar with the camera body design and functionalities which are remaining the same for most of it. Attentive viewers will denote the discret disparition of a function button located on the rear bottom far side which has been relocated on the previous video button on the right upper deck. Video is now command by the shutter release button itself through an added option available on the control dial located on the far left of the upper deck.
Separated exposure and focus locking push buttons are a very nice idea. To have access to the Quick menu (Q) is also a fine option. The same for the touch back screen. The front focus option dial is a good tool that allows easy and direct permutation.
I have also appreciated that the Fujifilm X-T20 is not too much crowed with numerous function buttons that generate often on others models accidental activations. The back of the camera is clean, the upper deck functional, and the front very discrete except for the company and model lettering. ("What sort of camera you are using? Fujifilm my friend! Ah???")
"What is on the Menu?"
Almost everything is reconfigurable on the X-T20 if you are using the menu. So explorations, essaies and setting can customize the functionalities of the camera. Speaking of that there is also the possibility to register those specific setting on one of the seven Custom menus to be recall later. I leave you the "joy" of discovering all what this interface is able to do for help (or confusing you!). Menu presentation is fairly intuitive even for a past analog photographer like me 😉.
Working without a viewfinder is more and more popular although I persist to say that it induce a far less efficient camera holding. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) of the Fujifilm X-T20 is a very good visual reference tool with a good reactivity. Once you have adjusted its brightness to your own taste, it give a realistic image output of your subject with the essential infos with a very handy automatic rotation presentation. It can be customized if you need to do so. Informations are not intrusive of the picture area, a nice attention for the composition effort of the photographer.
For people like me who are wearing permanent eyeglasses, you will have to really get close to the eyepiece in order to have the full view of the screen. Activation of the exposure correction is clearly illustrated by the illumination of its scale. Viewing modes include the always economical option of the electronic viewfinder use only with the eye detection activation (by far my preference in many situations).
At the end the X-T20 EVF do give an average magnification coupled with a modest eye relief distance that make the thing a bit difficult for eyeglasses wearers but it deliver a fine reproduction of your picture.
Touch screen functionalities are very nice additions included into the X-T20 model. Many users will appreciate to work during their shooting or/and their pictures reviewing as for cruising through the camera menu. Today touch screens are a feature that you are expecting to have a standard access. As usual it can be shut down if you prefer to set the camera with the more traditional fashion way.
Selecting Exposure mode (manual, semi-automatic, program, dedicated)
Exposure can be set in every ways, from complete programmed (including dedicated and special effect modes) to fully manual setting of the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. All semi-automatic modes are present by simply disengage the shutter and aperture control dials from the "A" position. This is very efficient and straightforward although the ISO has to be selected with the aid of the EVF or the Live screen. Exposure correction factor can be set with the rotating dial or the front multifunction dial.
Focus (Automatic, Tracking, Manual w/aids)
Another great improvement is the newest algorithm used to calculate and set the autofocus. More reactivity and better tracking are always appreciated by photographers "on the sport".
The ISO scale of the Fujifilm X-T20 is giving you a good latitude of exposure without strong degrading quality when you are using the more sensitive part of it. I have very manageable image results from ISO 200 up to ISO 3200. B&W pictures are awesome in any cases.
Almost all my picture are registered on JPEG files since I prefer not to post-edit them too much (except for very caricatural effects). The Fujifilm cameras are fulfilling exactly that way of producing very fine images right from the start without painful and long post processing. Colors, details, finesse are there and rewarding for the photographer.
The different film simulations recreate beautiful bias without too fuss. The monochrome rendering is fantastic at such a high level that some people were asking Fujifilm to offer exclusive monochrome versions of their camera models "à la Leica".
On a very personal note I find that Fujifilm APS-C sensor format picture files to be superior to what I have previously experimented into the MFT format (may be the new MFT 20MP sensor is the most similar). Provia/Standard in color and Acros in B&W are the film simulations that have my preferences by far.
A carefully compose and exposure picture with good image stability should give a high level of quality sufficient to get an very good printable result in paper format of A4, A3 and even A2.
As usual since I am not a videographer the Fujifilm X-T20 video features wont be part of this personal review.
The off-centered tripod screw hole at the bottom plate of the Fujifilm X-T20 can be bothering in specific combination with a telephoto lens and a monopod for example if you intend to do a panning of a moving subject. That can be partly addressed by using the optional grip (MHG-XT20). Action (sport, nature, performance) photographers need to have a help when you working long hours with heavier lenses. In that sense, the add-on grip may became a full-time part of the X-T20.
The Fujifilm X-T20 is not a weather-resistant camera and precautions have to be taken when using it in adverse conditions. The X-T20 seems to be a solid device but exposing it to water, very high humidity, sandy or high winds can be hazardous even lethal for the electronics of the model. So keep a safe use of the X-T20 (Improvise a camera raincoat with a clear bag and seal the front end of the lens with a rubber band surrounding the lens hood, a protective neutral filter is also recommended).
In cold climate conditions, freeze battery pack and internal condensation are others sources of disruption to be aware. A warm extra battery pack in your pocket could solve the problem. Not exposing the camera to sudden shift of temperature from cold to warm (be progressive) will help also. There is no reason to miss photo opportunities because a more difficult weather, just be prepared and in worst case scenarios just put the camera gear in weather seal case.
After all this small study on many aspects of the Fujifilm X-T20 the most important I retain of the experience is the pleasure of using a very creative tool with real personality. Yes I have felt in love *** with the X-T20 but I am not the only one...
Fujifilm is not only a designer/manufacturer/marketer of nice cameras and lenses, Fujifilm is also a trade name under which many communities of photographers of everywhere became reunited into their commun passion of doing pictures and share their joy of using a niche product like all the Fujifilm cameras and Fujinon lenses. So be aware to not becoming yourself an active member of their photo sect!
*** "Falling in love for a camera" is not a current experience for me since a long time partly because many modern digital camera designs seem to be more oriented on electronics than pure photography.