Richard Vogel has a long history in news and documentary photography and a long-held love for street photography, so naturally we were interested to find out what he thought of FUJIFILM X-Pro3.
“I was a photo assistant for several years and worked for many different photographers who specialized in everything from food to fashion,” says Richard, whose previous employers included Mary Ellen Mark, Annie Leibovitz and Magnum photographer, Bruce Gilden.
“But my passion was always shooting on the street,” he continues. “I began working as a freelance photojournalist for a photo agency before getting a job with Reuters and then Associated Press, working in Southeast Asia. I also worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Vietnam before moving to Los Angeles to work as a photo editor.”
Richard describes himself as a visual anthropologist and cites this as one of the big reasons for his love of photography. However, the thing that really drives him is the power that an image can have. “We’ve all seen photojournalism make a difference, so we can never underestimate the impact a photograph can have. This is why I love documentary photography,” he tells us.
Street photography, on the other hand, forms a kind of escapism for Richard. “For me, it’s like a meditation, a walking meditation. Unlike photojournalism, I find a different kind of freedom on the street, with no pressure to illustrate a story or cover a breaking news event,” he explains.
Richard took X-Pro3 to his usual stomping grounds, namely the streets of Venice Beach and Santa Monica, and one of the first things that he noticed was the hidden tilting touchscreen LCD. “One departure from X-Pro2 – and one that seems to be getting a lot of discussion – is the LCD screen and I wasn’t sure how that would work for me,” admits Richard.
However, after using the camera for a few weeks, his opinion changed. “I realized it wasn’t an issue at all. In fact, I really liked it. The flip-down screen is, in my opinion, an improvement. I can now use it as a waist-level finder and for very low-angle shooting,” he reveals.
Richard goes on to talk about the Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder, which allows you to change from a 0.5x optical viewfinder (OVF) with parallax-adjusting frame lines, to a 3.69 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) at the simple flick of a switch. “X-Pro3 is really a camera that is made to use the viewfinder, and the more I used it, the more I enjoyed the experience,” he remembers. “It forced me to slow down, allowing me to be more precise with my framing.”
But most of all, Richard loved the way X-Pro3 allowed him to go unnoticed, while remaining dependable for framing the perfect moment whenever it arose. “It’s quiet, small, and has a very low profile. Also, the autofocus is extremely fast and accurate – the Face/Eye Detection is really amazing – spot on.
“And lastly, the files are stunning,” he adds. “The new sensor renders a file with a very pleasing tonal range.”
Richard thinks making a photograph that will resonate for generations to come is as much about the narrative as it is about the image itself. “For me, it’s really the combination of photography with a written story that carries the most impact around the world and can help to create change. I really believe that,” he says. “I think, as a photojournalist, I have a responsibility to be honest and impartial as well as respectful. I also feel a responsibility to my colleagues, because much of what we do in the news is a team effort.”
And by holding truth and authenticity above all else, this change is something that Richard strives to achieve. “I was contacted once by a reader, asking me how they could donate to a blind school for musicians I did a feature on while I was in Cambodia,” Richard recalls. “That was really great, and the kind of difference you can only hope to make,” he smiles.
So, does Richard think X-Pro3 is up to the job? Here’s what he has to say: “It’s the perfect street and reportage camera. X-Pro3 handles extremely well, feels great in your hands, and is very unassuming, drawing little attention to the photographer.
“You might say it’s a camera that gets out of your way if you allow it to and, while it may not be for everyone, it’s definitely a camera I would love to add to my kit.”
X-Pro3 handles extremely well, feels great in your hands, and is very unassuming, drawing little attention to the photographer
About The Photographer
Richard Vogel is an LA-based photojournalist and street photographer who has spent much of his career traveling around the world, working for some of the world’s most respected news organizations.