GFX Impression by Gary Heery
Born in Sydney, Australia, Gary Heery studied sociology and psychology at the University of New South Wales. In 1974 he moved to the US where he co-founded India America, a magazine chronicling Native American society and culture in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Two years later he moved to Los Angeles where he photographed album covers for Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Joe Cocker. He also shot portraits of film and music stars for magazines including Life, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Interview. In 1981, Heery moved to New York, opening a studio in Soho where he photographed album covers for Madonna and Paul Simon (Graceland) and advertising campaigns for Swatch, Karl Lagerfeld and Sony.
Since returning to Sydney in 1987, Heery has worked in advertising and fashion with clients such as American Express, Pepsi, Westpac, Telstra, Toyota, Lane Crawford, Qantas and Coca-Cola. He has shot award-winning campaigns for the Australian Wool Board, Trent Nathan, Dove and Sony. He was a three-time finalist in the Citi Bank Portrait Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW, a finalist in the National Gallery Portrait Prize and was selected for the American Photographer Annual.
He is a much sought-after speaker at photographic seminars. His exhibitions and books include Nudes.
Recently I was given a test run of the GFX and agreed to use it on a new art project I was working on. I also agreed to let Fujifilm Australia video this project and record my feelings on the camera.
I continually work on new projects and have published 7 books and have a thriving advertising career and have one or two exhibitions a year.
I am not particularly an equipment freak. I treat most things as a portrait and have used this philosophy even when doing still life’s. I usually use a standard lens and look for speed of capture, a great file and of course clarity and sharpness in a camera.
Before digital cameras I used medium format and 4×5 cameras and moved into digital with a Hasselblad and a Leaf back and then to an SLR style format. I have rented and used Phase but found it too expensive to purchase and I like using my own gear. So to find a medium format camera with a big file at a reasonable price was an exciting proposition.
We did our ice shoot on a very hot day and since water and ice were flying everywhere I was happy to know the camera was water resistant. We all know that disaster water and electronics can cause. I started shooting with the standard 63mm lens as usual which I was very happy with and then was astounded by the sharpness of the 110 mm Macro. I wish I had more time to do some comparison tests but we were cranking and focused on getting some great images.
I am very impressed by the quick focus and the clarity of the focus review; the 3.2-inch rotating LCD is a bonus for a 4eyes guy like me. I often struggled with this in the SLR and always needed to be tethered to be really confident of sharpness.
The files were immaculate with great dynamic range and clean shadows. I also enjoyed the choice of profiles and am looking forward to exploring them. The more you can do on the shoot day in the camera the better instead of thinking “we can do that in post” I suppose this is an old school philosophy. The negative was everything and now the file is everything.
I don’t retouch a lot myself and tend to go to professionals, as I like stepping back and seeing the big picture as the say. The thing the retouchers say is the bigger the file the better. Previously big files were slow and I felt I was waiting, something I couldn’t cope with. Not now.
The GFX didn’t let me down. It’s a great camera. A good fit in my large hands, in fact smaller than I thought and easily manageable given the weight of the lens.
I am very excited to explore this camera as I feel I only touched the surface of its versatility.