07 août 2019

Le faire pour soi: le freelance photographique!

On parle souvent de photo-thérapie comme une activité dérivative de notre quotidien répétitif et angoissant d'aujourd'hui. Et il existe plusieurs chantres Internet de cette tendance grandissante de relier l'activité photographique à une recherche non-encadrée ou si peu de ressourcement personnel. Bien sûr l'idée n'est pas nouvelle en soi et répond déjà au plaisir de plusieurs de photographier.

Cette thérapie par l'image est un choix libre qui se veut lamons contraignant possible tant techniquement qu'artistiquement. Elle propose l'observation spontanée de notre environnement dans un cheminement subjectif dans le choix ouvert de moments picturaux personnels. Elle nous "décale" de notre schéma habituel quotidien et elle crée une espèce de nouvelle routine de créativité sans la contrainte du résultat obligatoire.

Pourrait-on parler alors d'un véritable freelance photographique? Certainement dans la mesure où cette liberté nous incite à franchir des frontières à la fois personnelles et sociales dans l'accomplissement de notre existence. Il n'y a plus de mandats spécifiques à l'acte de photographique si ce n'est que notre propre inconscient créatif qui explore ses sujets favoris et c'est bien l'essence même de cette photo-thérapie.

D'autres formes d'expression artistique offre les mêmes potentiels thérapeutiques. L'art engénéral est un formidable exutoire de l'esprit humain.

L'autre aspect intéressant de cet exercice libérateur est son point de vue individuel qui l'exclut de l'encadrement incessant et perturbateur de la pression sociale qui nous enveloppe de plus en plus de son coté pseudo-justificatif de notre existence. Ic pas de place pour le coté moralisateur de l'intelligentsia du monde photographique destructeur de l'inspiration, de la nouveauté et de la provocation. Le traitement du sujet ad-libed est ouvert à toute interprétation iconique.

Quant est-il du résultat de cette démarche libératrice? Assurément un contenu qui diffère de notre grille habituelle d'images enregistrées. Mais surtout un témoignage de notre force créative à produire une photo plus provocante qui peut peut-être demander un effort supplémentaire à celle ou celui qui la regarde. L'émotion est au rendez-vous car elle traduit celle que vous avez éprouvé au moment de la prise de vues.

L'être humain est souvent à la recherche du soi à travers ce qui l'entoure et chaque élément de cet environnement contribue à sa connaissance et son expérience personnelle. La photo-thérapie prolonge cette observation en la figeant sur des moments particuliers que vous avez retenus en toute subjectivité.

01 août 2019

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR: the expensive (muscle) Fujifilm trans-standard!

Not another big bazooka lens to hand-hold all day long! I cannot contradict my own preferences for using more compact and lighter photo equipment. But first I must confess that I had really like working with the Fujifilm X-H1 model. And optically my preference have been always for wide-angle, standard and (short) telephoto lenses. And many "pro" standard zoom lens models offered by manufacturers are in fact fulfilling these various tasks. So why not a test run with the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR trans-standard zoom lens.

The Fujinon XF 16-50mm F2.8 Pro is a very beautiful piece of optic and very well carefully crafted too. Yes it is big and heavy, I won't contradict you in that matter. And don't try to put it into any of your pocket even the largest ones. No, the only way to bring it is holding it in your hands which can be convenient if you are attempting to do pictures with it! But what I love the most regarding many of the "pro" optics is their level of consistency along all the range of their focal lengths and apertures.

The Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R WR is not a compromise lens in any way and that explain mostly its dimensions and weight. Although it is not really a discrete optic device you can manage your behavior to counteract the effect of its relatively larger size. With its largest angle of view of 83.2 degrees the XF 16-55mm offer a perfect flexibility into urban, travel spontaneous photography subjects. And it can also manage interior photography to a some extend. At the long end (55mm) it can be used as a portrait lens. Its close focusing distance is modest but may be sufficient for standard size objects like flowers or food plates.

All the basic lens control rings (Aperture, Zoom, Focus) are easy reachable and their specific "grip" can be identifiable with after a short learning time. The filter-accessory size of 77mm is simply gigantic, so prepare you to spend extra money for even a basic protection filter and remember that at this big diameter the optical glass quality of these add-on accessories is a paramount factor to consider before buying (just for not helping you to keep your economy money). Lastly a beautiful but prominent plastic petal lens hood is included with the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is part of the select "pro" Fujifilm series X lenses. It insure certains specific characteristics that all these special optics share like the weather resistant feature and an implicite better design and manufacturing for a more intense use of the lenses. And on a long term those red badged XF Fuji lenses represent a better value on the resale market. The three control ring (Focus, Zoom, Aperture) are fairly large and smooth to operate. The aperture ring is click-set for 1/3 stops.

Fujifilm proclames that the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR is ideal for portraits, landscapes, action/wildlife, urban/ street photography and video. Sure it attests of its own great versatility for all these various subjects. And the temptation to keep the XF 16-55mm F2.8 as a permanent resident on your X-series camera body can be overwhelming. Pairing the lens with complementary one(s) will probably ask you to select another red badged X-series zoom or fix focal length lens to get the same level of overall quality.

An interesting question can be asked concerning the focal length flexibility of the Fujnon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR? Can it replace all these fix focal XF lenses such as the 16mm F2.8, the 23mm F2, the 35mm F2 and the 50mm f2? If you eliminate the size and weight factors of the equation, the respond will be probably yes. Having working with some of those fix focal optics, I cannot see significant differences between their (high) picture quality output compare to the zoom one.  So yes it is a very good combine all-in-one product (however you may have to muscle your arms and shoulders a little bit!).

I was debating myself about the pertinence of selecting a weather-resistant (WR) lens over very good optic such as the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS which a more compact unit with optical stabilisation (OIS). Obviously the stabilisation feature doesn't really have to be considerate with a Fujifilm X-H1 model that have already in body image stabilisation function (IBIS). But the WR option can be an issue even if I am not always photographying in adverse conditions, it can happens very often in North America (Rain, cold, severe wind, snow, etc) and sometimes during travel (especially high humidity factor). So for a complete peace of mind you may want to fully rely the WR feature that also facilite greatly the maintenance of the lens.

The red badged Fujinon XF series lenses are expensive products. If you are considering to own some of them it can be a strong financial issue. Surely to get one or more of them, you will have to down play your acquisition pace (providing you are not millionaire!). The good thing about it is the fact it will allow you some time to consider seriously which type of lens will really suit you. You may even try one before buying it at a camera shop or may be rent it for a short photo essay (In Canada some  photo product retailers offer such a program).

What to conclude about the Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR zoom lens? It is in fact a very high quality optic and very well built. But moreover it is a very handy trans-standard zoom lens which will answer the needs of an urban traveller photographer who love to move around and choosing a great variety of different subjects to immortalize. It can work in almost any environnemental surrounding (providing you don't immerse your camera-lens combo!). And it delivers photographic image results that sustain the Fujifilm exceptional optic reputation. There are only small drawbacks (size & weight) that can be compensate by hand-holding your camera for doing ... photography!

20 juillet 2019

The One Lens, One Camera Syndrome

One Lens, One Camera or ...
You already know that repeating story about this or that photographer that has gotten rid of all his or her precious and abundant photo equipment to be more creative free with a minimalist one lens-one camera (body) combination. It happens periodically and it is adding a lot to the controversy opposing the other extreme that propose to have the latest models and an extensive array of lenses and accessories.

But is it really better to impose you (material) limits at a level that will deter any attempt to transgress any material obvious limitations? Sure, you want to specialize your point of view that will represent your style or your picture signature. Many good photographers have already done this, but you have to remember that their working context was very different in the past because of the lack of photo equipment availability, the technical limitations in optics, in image supports (films) and post-processing were specific conditions of their time.

... Two (or more), better than one? ...
Today things have evolved and are still evolving at a fast rate. We are by far a lot more photo educated even in the case of the less photo interested audiences. Ignoring those facts is simply restringing our own capacity to share our works because of the inherent today exigences.

Does it mean that you have to over equip yourself to be able to produce a successful original picture? No for sure, but it can help you if you can extend your technical versatility even slightly just to prevent an eventual succession of repetitive images. Sometimes you need a new point of view to explore that will help to flourish your creativity. It can be a technique, it can be a camera process, it can be a lens, it can be a lighting aid, etc. Because the same basic subject may be represented in such many other ways that are beneficial to our own vision.

We don't want to encourage redundancies, material over expenses and waist, or simply working incapacity provoked by overabundance of photo equipment. And for most of us, less can be far better that more and more. And we want also to master properly what we own already to extract it the best of our photographic vision of this world. But trying something else is also part of the creative experiment.

... Or purists may ask for a fix focal lens oppose to a vari-focal optic?

Minimalism is not a bad thing by itself and demonstrate an effort to reach the finest use of a photo equipment. It helps to conceive and refine our own visual signature. It imposes to ourselves to transgress other contextual limits to our photography such our choice of subjects or surroundings. But even being minimalist must not prevent ourselves to be open to something else, something new, something disturbing that will force us to reach another creative level.

13 juillet 2019

Off-planning a photo subject

Find your subject. Be focused. Concentrate your effort. In brief don't improvise! Is it true? Is it the real inspiration? Or it is more redundant and less provocative? That's maybe the real factor...

What is creativity if not doing something out of the usual path of thinking and be free to improvise something that exceed the precoder limit imposed by the other's frozen mind. Because in fact although the algorithm of all images from the past is interesting and can be inspiring for certain, it is also a closed store of imagination that justify its dogmatism by saying wrongly that everything has been already done and is now repeated in this today world.

Choosing a starting point, for example a subject, is in fact a way to motivate a new search and open a blank page that has to be written, sketched or registered. Every time it can offer a new perspective if we accept to explore the subject without (too much) pre-conceptions or pre-perceptions that are stopping our creativity. In visual art such as photography is, there is an esthetic to be found in every different subject and which can easily exceed its traditionally known profile.

Each new moment in our brief life has its own particularities. But its uptake (freeze moments) can be challenging for the observer like us. And as we want to transmit this diversity of views perceptions, it tends to vanish instantly. We have to train ourselves to be ready and pre-perceptive of what is happening and be able to participate to the endless flux of life. Because photography is a way to register a moment (action) in the chain of life.

At the end the photographer is the center subject of its contextual surrounding which will define the originality of its own personal perception. Creativity is a fragile thing, a kind of flower of your mind. And this beauty is not really appreciated by many of us that live a gray life because they are submerged by the overwhelming pathologic search of their physical and psychologic security. But it happens that somebody, somewhere, sometime will indeed open its mind and be emotively involved by our work. This why you must persist in your life search, it a human duty!

07 juillet 2019

The essence of revisiting a subject in photography.

What we have first in mind into many artistic fields is the word "inspiration". Inspiration can be seen as the motor or the fundamental motivation to experiment and produce a pure artistically expression through different medias or techniques. And photography is truly part of this (as for all others visual arts).

Having the motivation can be translate to a spontaneous envy to register something you have seen in the real or foreseen in your mind. This process can be pro-active or reactive and will trigger a series of actions on your part to (tentatively) produce an output that will represent your interpretation of you have seen and what, I hope, you will photograph!

Human are in perpetual evolution to try, to change, to sophisticate their ways of doing things. We can call it refinement or the search for better if not the best. When we stop doing so, we regress or die simply (or disappear) by not being able to follow progress of life.

Clock and Frame Fragmentation.
Revisiting is, in the same time, the observation what it was, what it became and what it would be. It is going beyond of a first view or a first impression of someone, something, some context or situation. It is like to try to represent less trivial aspects of it and better translate its profound signification, sentiment or motivation. Yes, we can be lucky to get at first glance the essence of the subject but consider this as a very rare event. This is also why doing professional photography (seriously) is so a difficult task considering the incapacity to revisit the subject of assignation more than one time most of the time.

For sure you can train yourself to photograph similar subjects and gain a precious experience and knowledge that will serve you in other critical moments. But very often during a professional assignment you may be never really able to explore, experiment and revisit your subject after giving you some time to evaluate your previous work and to plan a new approach to it. That is the beauty to be an artist (amateur or not!) because these factual constraints of commercial photography don't exist anymore.

A personal favorite among others: The chair.

How many times will I revisit a specific subject? In fact, it never ends because there is always something to observe, to select, to interpret a different way. This on-going eternal sophistication of our life is infinite and even after our own death, someone, somewhere can retake the torch to pursuit our path as we may have done ourselves for works from preceding photographers. That is the beauty of revisiting a subject and enhanced it ad infinitum.

05 juillet 2019

Compacité et relativité (des appareils photos)

Un géant parmi les tout-petits...?!
La compacité est une chose bien relative car elle dépend essentiellement des perceptions. Par exemple, pour plusieurs, le Fujifilm X-H1 est un appareil professionnel compact même si on le combine avec un objectif Fujinon pro comme le XF 16-55mm F2.8R LM WR. J'ai eu l'opportunité de posséder brièvement cette combinaison boitier-objectif et bien sûr j'ai apprécié la qualité exceptionnelle de construction, d'ergonomie et des images exceptionnelles obtenues avec. Cependant je dois ajouter que mes membres porteurs (mains, bras, épaules et dos) l'ont perçu d'une toute autre façon surtout en comparaison de ma sélection habituelle du Fujifilm X-T20 avec l'objectif Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4R LM. Dans ce cas précis, la différence de poids et de dimensions passe du simple au double.

Un compact comme le Fujifilm X-E3 répond bien
 de cette définition de petit format ludique
Ce qui m'amène à ce débat sur la compacité relative des choses. Prenons un autre exemple de l'appareil cellulaire dont les dimensions d'origine éléphantesque sont passées au micro-format pour ensuite se rétablir dans leurs dimensions actuelles s'apparentant de plus en plus à une mini-tablette numérique, le format de poche étant réservé maintenant aux peu fortunés dont je suis! Évidemment je conçois aisément qu'il n'y pas à proprement parler de forme, de format et d'aspect idéal aux choses puisqu'elles s'adressent à une diversité d'utilisateurs aux caractéristiques ergonomiques très différentes.

Mais revenons à nos appareils photo numériques d'aujourd'hui, un créneau de produits de plus en plus spécialisé un peu à l'image d'un passé moins récent car l'instantané est devenu très justement l'adage des appareils cellulaires multi-fonctionnels. Il y a donc un certain nombre de catégories de ces appareils. Les plus petits se glissent dans la poche et utilisent une optique fixée définitivement au boitier. Il y a aussi ces appareils possédant des objectifs zoom à très grande amplitude proposés dans des boitiers tout en un qu'on appelle "bridge" et donc qui font le pont entre l'ignorance et la compétence.

Bien qu'il mimique l'esthétique des anciens boitiers reflex,
 le Fujifilm X-T20 est véritablement un appareil de faible encombrement.
D'autres proposent l'interchangeabilité des objectifs tout en se contentant d'un plus petit format de capteur d'images. Ici le débat prend toute sa verdeur si j'ose dire opposant les différents défenseurs de la veuve et l'orphelin sur la base de performances techniques particulières à chacun de ces formats de capteurs dont l'utilité générale reste à prouver même un cadre professionnel. Et la nomenclature des catégories en dimensions d'appareils se poursuit jusqu'aux plus grands. Et bien entendu certains modèles continuent de se prétendre des compacts au delà de tout sens raisonné.

On a associé même certaines technologies comme les appareils n'utilisant pas de visée réflexe optique  mono-objectif, qui requiert un miroir et un penta prisme ou penta-mirroir, pour les assimiler à la catégorie des appareils dits compacts. Aujourd'hui avec les derniers modèles offerts par Canon et Nikon, il faut se rendre à l'évidence que le choix d'une technologie n'entraine pas automatiquement une réduction de poids et de dimensions. De ce point de vue j'ai tendance à considérer ces deux dinosaures du marché de l'équipement photographique comme ... de prochains fossiles!

Mais la question se pose. La tendance à la compacité l'emportera-t-elle sur la résurgence des laideurs et de l'encombrement des prétendus "plein format"? Je dois avouer que ma foi profonde pour le petit, bien fait, pratique et esthétique vacille parfois devant l'agression actuelle de ces tenants de la version du machisme matérialiste. Mais j'entretiens l'espoir que la raison l'emportera sur l'absurdité et l'ignorance. En un mot, restons compacts et concentrés mes frères et soeurs!

02 juin 2019

On Leaves! / Effeuillons ...

A leaf can personify the brief time of living life with its rapid grow from almost nothing to its splendid apogee.
Then its downfall  is magnified by its change of color up to its final extinction.

Family leaves




Leaves and Die