7 minute read
Camera to Cloud for Photojournalists
Documentary photographer and Early Access Program winner Rory Doyle creates a project close to home using Frame.io Camera to Cloud (C2C) and FUJIFILM X-H2S
Rory Doyle is a busy man. Splitting his time between photojournalism, editorial, and commercial work, he lives a life ruled by deadlines. “I call myself a working photographer, rather than a photojournalist,” he says. “It’s probably 80% editorial work for publications, and the remaining 20% is mixed in with other jobs. Schedule-wise, it can get quite challenging.”
Time pressures are further exacerbated by editors briefing in assignments just days – even hours – before he needs to travel. When we talk, he’s just returned to his home in Mississippi after being on location in Miami to document the effects of climate change. “I got the call and just had to go,” Rory insists. “That happens quite a lot, but I prefer and enjoy that challenge. There’s an adrenaline rush when I’ve got to get the most out of a situation because I know there’s no other chance for me to make images.”
As a photographer constantly on the move, Rory was the ideal candidate for the Frame.io Camera to Cloud (C2C) Early Access Program. Like many who applied, he didn’t expect to be one of the lucky ten selected, but was delighted to get the call to try out this revolutionary technology before it was available to the public. “I was curious to learn more about the camera. I’d seen colleagues using it for photojournalism jobs, and thought it was something I could transition to,” he admits. “I feel like dinosaur-heavy DSLR cameras are going to phase out, so downsizing again without losing quality is of real interest. Cloud technology is also fascinating; it’s something my DSLR doesn’t have.”
Photo 2023 © Rory Doyle | FUJIFILM X-H2S and FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/400 sec at F2.8, ISO 2000
Photo 2023 © Alan Winslow | FUJIFILM X100F, 1/60 sec at F2, ISO 320
While cameras are now central to Rory’s day-to-day life, it wasn’t always like that. Rory and his three siblings grew up in a family where both parents were teachers and, latterly, his mom wrote for a newspaper. She spent time helping them with their writing, so there was a degree of inevitability when Rory went to university and initially majored in journalism.
“After three-and-a-half years, I knew I was capable, but I was not super passionate about being a reporter,” he confesses. “So, in the last semester, I signed up on a whim for an optional photojournalism course. That changed everything. Those years of training to be a writer transformed my approach to being a storyteller with a camera.
“I found great joy in telling a story from a visual perspective, rather than thinking about structuring it on a piece of paper or keyboard,” he continues. “Everything felt exciting. Even in that class, I remember feeling a sense of excitement, exploration, and enjoying the challenge of making a beautiful image.”
Storytelling has been central to Rory’s image making ever since that lightbulb moment in his final months at university. Now, he relishes the challenge of working on assignment. “It’s almost inevitable that what you’re thinking will happen, won’t,” he smiles. “I’ve realized I have to be adaptable; accept what I am presented with. I would love every photo I make to be in the most beautiful light and the best situation possible – but that’s not a reality.”
While his work takes him around the country, the project Rory documented while using C2C is both closer to home and much more personal. In early 2023, Rory and his wife Marisol opened Leña, a pizza and bagel restaurant in Cleveland, MS. Like any new startup, they needed images for the website and social media promotion.
“I am not a cook. I’m not a food person. I didn’t grow up learning to cook. And so I didn’t grow up loving food in the way I do now. And that totally comes from Marisol,” explains Rory, taking up the story. “We have been married 16 years and she’s changed my life. She was born and raised in Mexico, so all of a sudden I’m with a partner who grew up in an environment where food was central to the family and culture. My culinary understanding completely expanded.
Photo 2023 © Rory Doyle | FUJIFILM X-H2S and FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR, 1/100 sec at F2.8, ISO 200
Photo 2023 © Alan Winslow | FUJIFILM X100F, 1/125 sec at F8, ISO 200
“For years, Marisol has worked in different restaurants and always been a hard worker. After two decades, it was the first opportunity for her to have her own place. I couldn’t be more proud,” he effuses. “I do all the photos for her social media, which is basically the only advertising we’re doing at this point. Pizza photos get a ton of likes and shares – the bagels are pretty minimal in comparison. But once we open for bagels, the line is out the door!”
Selecting a combination of FUJIFILM X-H2S with FT-XH File Transmitter and just two lenses – FUJINON XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR and FUJINON XF33mmF1.4 R LM WR – Rory set about documenting all aspects of daily life at Leña, with C2C integral at each stage.
“We used the cloud in two primary ways,” explains Rory. “One was documenting Marisol’s day leading up to opening the restaurant. I’d make images and was looking at them on my computer within seconds, selecting those I’d eventually print. But the Fujifilm team got them printed and framed straight away, so we could have the images back in the afternoon to put around the restaurant.
“When we opened later the same day, the cloud was vital again. I was making portraits of customers, while a picture editor looked at the photos as they appeared on Frame.io. They’d select the best, then print on an INSTAX printer to give to the customers. I’ve done events in the past with an instant camera, but having a higher-quality image printed for customers straight away was great.
“The technology is even more relevant for commercial or nonprofit jobs,” he continues. “For anyone wanting to be heavily involved with the creative process, it makes sense for the company or brand to have instant access, helping control the flow.”
Rory also sees opportunities for C2C to be used when he’s on assignment. “Currently, when I’m out in the field, I take the memory card out of the camera and copy the photos over to my laptop manually – but this eliminates all those steps. Occasionally, I have to add a caption, but in an emergency situation the cloud could be perfect. I make the picture and my editor in New York could be accessing it instantly.”
Photo 2023 © Alan Winslow | FUJIFILM X100F, 1/60 sec at F2.2, ISO 250
Photo 2023 © Alan Winslow | FUJIFILM X100F, 1/60 sec at F2, ISO 1000
Perhaps most important of all, Rory suggests, is that by creating a direct, real-time connection between the journalist’s camera on the ground and the editor in the newsroom, this groundbreaking technology could also have huge implications in the fight against fake news, and the threat posed by AI-generated images.
“We’ve already seen major publications print images that are fake, and people win competitions with images made using AI. It’s scary because it can be used in so many harmful ways; I feel like there’s more harm than there is benefit.” he warns. “But C2C could become more prominent in the journalism world; it may become a standard.
“There are probably breaking news situations where editors, people laying out the pages or designing the web news instantly, will want that footage as fast as they can get it. As publications learn about the cloud, it will be incorporated into daily workflow more and more.”
While those days may be a little way in the future, Rory remains focused on the present, continuing to document life at Leña while the images are safely stored on Frame.io. “I have a goal to document the restaurant in the long term, telling this story as a tribute to Marisol and her efforts,” he concludes. “I don’t quite know what it will become, or if people would buy a coffee table book of beautiful pizza photos, but it’s just a great way to tell her story.”
Want to read more? Hear from another C2C Early Access Program participant, Dru Smith, who talks about his C2C experience here.
The world’s first native digital stills camera integration for Frame.io Camera to Cloud is now available for FUJIFILM X-H2 and X-H2S via FT-XH File Transmitter and is fully integrated into FUJIFILM GFX100 II.
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