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4 minute read

Life Finds a Way

Shut off from his regular wedding photography, Eric Kelley decided to chronicle family life in lockdown using two lightweight and versatile X Series lenses

Life goes on. And with it, photography. Stuck at home in quarantined Charlottesville, Virginia, wedding photographer Eric Kelley and his family decided to document their daily routine – both as a means of personal expression against the stifling routine, and as a simple and striking record of these strange days.

“Locked down since March 7,” explains Eric, “my wife started blogging, and we heard from a lot of people that it was really encouraging to read how things were going – albeit poorly in the beginning!”

“This is why documentary photography is so vital,” he continues, “communities all around the world have experienced trauma, and talking about it is important for long-term understanding and healing. Visual proof is just as important, so that’s what we did. And it’s been both fascinating to watch how we lived during this time, and helpful to look back through the images as proof of what our memories tell us.”

Daily shooting hadn’t been a part of Eric’s life for quite some time, but he persevered. “This brought me back to seeing that I enjoy being behind the camera, and it’s not just about weddings,” he says. “There are things to photograph everywhere we look, and everything deserves to be seen and shared with a greater audience than just our own two eyes. So I realized I was able to bring people into our little world to develop community in a whole new way.”

The process of documenting family life in lockdown was very different to Eric’s day job of capturing weddings, not only due to the subject matter, but the style of shooting, too. “This project opened me up to using multiple lenses and I was able to achieve a more documentarian approach than fine-art feel,” he explains, “and though picking up the camera on a daily basis was easy at first, it soon became more of a chore than fun, and harder to be diligent with the process.”

Diving into this documentary style, Eric chose to capture these dislocated days with two X Series lenses: the XF10-24mmF4 R OIS and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR. And if lockdown has been all about adapting to new circumstances, Eric found the lenses a perfect match for his project. “They were great for a storytelling, documentary style of photography,” he says. “For me, there is fine art at one end of the spectrum and photojournalism at the other, and it’s in this latter area that we need adaptable cameras and lenses that help us document whatever setting and scene we are in.”

“With weather-resistance and Optical Image Stabilization, the versatility of the XF10-24mmF4 and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 let me be right in there with my family, getting close and able to make fun, ‘as they happened’ photos. I used the XF10-24mmF4 the most, as the very wide view means it’s great for photographers capturing in tight interiors close up to their subjects, like I was. It’s safe to say that many photojournalists and news photographers have a lens like this on their camera most of the time.”

Eric Kelley uses the FUJINON XF10-24mmF2 R OIS and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lenses to frame everyday life on lockdown.

Photo © Eric Kelley | FUJIFILM X-T3 camera and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS lens, 1/450 sec at F5, ISO 320

There’s even more adaptability in the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 with its 7.5x zoom range, and Eric found it to be a great all-purpose lens. “Not much else will cover all of the bases for you like this. It goes fairly wide angle and zooms way in for you to capture most anything you need to shoot. So, whether you’re standing on the sidelines enjoying your kid’s athletic career or wanting to take portraits of the family, the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 allows you to do it all.”

“Overall, both lenses proved to be very sharp, versatile, and easy to use,” says Eric. “They don’t have superfast apertures, but FUJIFILM cameras make up for that by having a fantastic ISO range, allowing you to shoot anything, anytime, anywhere. And they’re light enough to mean you can have the camera on you most of the time. For a family project like this, you never know when inspiration will strike – you need to be ready for it.”

Eric Kelley uses the FUJINON XF10-24mmF2 R OIS and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lenses to frame everyday life on lockdown.

Photo © Eric Kelley | FUJIFILM X-T3 camera and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS lens, 1/90 sec at F5, ISO 400

Eric says his favorite image from the project is: “Lora, my wife, and Bette, our six month old, sitting on the front porch of our house. We bought the place just over three years ago, in what now seems like a very different world. We’ve done major renovations on it, spending countless hours working in the yard and garden. Seeing the roses, flox, boxwoods, and random flowers that we’ve planted brings me so much joy.”
 
Yes, life goes on. And then some.

The FUJINON XF10-24mmF4 R OIS and XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR are now available at FUJIFILM Authorized Dealers across the US. 

Eric Kelley uses the FUJINON XF10-24mmF2 R OIS and the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lenses to frame everyday life on lockdown.

Photo © Eric Kelley | FUJIFILM X-T3 camera and XF10-24mmF4 R OIS lens, 1/4 sec at F4, ISO 6400


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