Street photography for me is about creating art from random, chaotic and unpredictable moments that we encounter in our daily lives while weaving in emotive stories. Growing up and living in inner-city London meant that street photography was a perfect fit for me. These days takes it up the majority of my time.
Scouring the streets for hours on end in all weather conditions was one of the things which initially drew me to Fujifilm cameras. The camera I use for street photography is as important as finding the right subjects and compositions. Having a camera which is light-weight, weather-resistant, easy-to-hold and use throughout the day is non-negotiable for my style of photography; this made the X-Pro series a natural fit.
In general, as the sensor size of a camera increases, so does the weight and size of the camera body. For this reason, medium format has typically been reserved for landscape and studio work, andit’s one of the reasons why I previously wouldn’t have considered a medium format for my work. However, with the GFX50S II there is that perfect option to use large formatfor street photography.
The GFX50S II is light enough to hold in the hand for hours without getting tired. In fact, it is lighter than the vast majority of medium format cameras and even some DSLR cameras too.
Street photography is about seamlessly slipping into the background. I like to be completely focused on my surroundings and connect with the street. The camera I use also needs to act as a part of me rather than a complicated tool I have to keep fiddling around with while taking a shot.
The speed of the camera, both in terms of the autofocus and the operating speed, really stood out in my mind. Being able to shoot the large files the GFX50S II produces in burst mode meant I was able to use this camera as I would use a FUJIFILM X Series camera. The same can be said for the autofocus speed which has no trouble tracking subjects on the street going about their daily lives.
When it comes to handling the GFX50S II, I found the dials on top and controls at the back of the camera to be well placed and easy to use. The touch screen also works extremely well in studio settings when it comes to pinpointing where to focus.
Weather plays a major role in the life of a Street Photographer in London. In my case I see rain and fog as nature’s special effects, and absolute love shooting in such conditions. Having peace of mind that the camera is protected under rainfall or when walking through thick fog allows me to fully focus on taking photos. The weather resistant X Series bodies were a major draw for me when it came to selecting a camera and Fujifilm have kept up their tradition of making weather-resistant camera bodies with the GFX50S II.
Being able to shoot from the hip is a street photography technique mastered by past street photography greats like Fred Herzog. I used this technique frequently with the 50s II’s flip out screen. Shooting from the hip gives the advantage of being discrete, candid, as well as capturing the scene from a lower perspective.
Another inspiration of mine is Ernst Haas; I love the way he introduces motion into his street photography. Shooting blurred-motion street snaps has always been a favourite of mine. The IBIS system also allows me to get more creative with my street photography and makes it a lot easier to introduce motion blur into my shots.
A major advantage of using GFX for street photography is being able to utilise the high-resolution sensor, ISO performance and impressive dynamic range. It gives further room to be creative once I return to my office to edit the photos.
For me, the editing process is equally as important as taking the actual photos. I like to see my photography as the raw ingredients while my editing process can add to the story, emotion and the general feel of my photographs.
A major advantage with shooting on GFX is the freedom it gives you when editing with software like Adobe Lightroom. I was able to edit the GFX files with the same ease as I edit my X-Pro files but with more leeway when it comes to dynamic range, colour depth and the ability to crop into your images without losing detail.
Street photography allows me to create art from everyday experiences, from what is so often ignored, dismissed and not appreciated. From somebody’s daily commute, to a person just going for a walk to the shops or having a conversation with a friend on a street corner, there are incredible, interweaving stories and beauty all around us. Now with GFX, I’m able to capture the same street scenes, but with even more detail and clarity.