Suzanne Stein is a storyteller first and a photographer second. She likes to tell big stories with her images and her latest project with FUJIFILM X100V is no exception. These images are all based around women and are part of a larger series that focuses on the lives of two women in particular.
“One is Ginette, who has lived alone in the East Village in New York City for 46 years in the same apartment and the other is Bethany, who is transgender and living alone on the streets,” Suzanne tells us. “While they are on the surface wildly different, they are in many ways living parallel lives. Both women are alone, both are on the edge, as are the other women in the series for one reason or another.”
By using X100V to tell these stories, Suzanne wanted to highlight the fact that there are important narratives around all of us, and that you don’t need a big setup to create images that resonate and are personally satisfying, you just need to know where to find them. “Everyday things, everything we usually overlook, that’s where the magic really is,” she says. “The greatest pictures are often obscured by what we see and take for granted every day.
“It’s about having new eyes every time you move forward, seeing the remarkable in the everyday lives we live, seeing and feeling how lucky we are to be able to photograph and to make a statement with camera in hand,” she continues.
To achieve such extraordinary results, Suzanne looks for a camera that is not only high quality, but is fast and easy to use. FUJIFILM X100V gave her everything she needed. “I’m really impressed with the picture quality. There’s a painterly quality to the way the X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor interprets color,” she tells us, going on to praise the camera’s customizable functions. “I’m in manual at all times except for focus, so I need to be able to use my fingers to change my settings quickly. The ability to put my shutter speed and ISO on the front and rear command dials really sped things up.”
Suzanne’s favorite feature of the camera was the FUJINON 23mmF2 lens, which has been newly designed to offer the best-ever clarity and close focusing performance in the X100 series. “The lens is my favorite,” she reveals. “In addition to fantastic sharpness, pictures are greatly enhanced by excellent microcontrast. Also, the lens focuses closely and that’s critically important for me.”
Another big positive for Suzanne was X100V’s small, unobtrusive design, which not only made the camera easy to carry, but helped her connect with her subjects. “People reacted more positively to me, they were less intimidated. They were able to relax and focus on my interaction with them or the moment/feelings they had,” she explains. “The potential for intrusion and ensuing negative reactions that bigger cameras can create was absent with X100V.”
Suzanne believes that what makes X100V so accessible to everyone, regardless of skill or experience, is this idea of having such a powerful tool within such an unassuming body. “It’s not intimidating for less experienced photographers, while still having lots of customizable options and image-making capabilities for people who have spent years photographing,” she says. “I think the combination of the new 23mmF2 lens and the new sensor is tremendous.”
However, most importantly of all, she believes this camera makes the perfect tool for doing exactly what she loves. “I really feel that the camera is a great storyteller,” says Suzanne. “Because of its simplicity, it enabled me to focus on the aesthetic I wanted to create as opposed to having part of my mind on my system or lenses or my heavy bag or the equipment getting too much attention.”
She concludes: “It made me realize I don’t need anything but my eyes, heart, and feelings to create pictures that mean something to me.”
It’s not intimidating for less experienced photographers, while still having lots of customizable options and image-making capabilities for people who have spent years photographing
About The Photographer
Suzanne Stein is a street and documentary photographer, currently based in New York. She considers herself a social realist and strongly believes in providing a truthful perspective with her images.