XF 50mmF1.0_Review written by Swiss Photographer
In a portrait, it is the honesty that lies in-between moments that captures my fascination.
What is the story and context behind it?
What is it truly telling me?
For me, portrait as well as reportage photography, are about trust and creating an atmosphere where anyone can drop their guard. Facing each other eye-to-eye with mutual respect, that is part of my philosophy. It is not only about taking a photograph as such but also about getting a glimpse of the soul in front of me. To show the beauty I see in you.
The fact that I can learn something new with every person I meet is what I love most about photography and about life in general. To see with my own eyes what power an idea can have and how far the actions of just one person can take us as a community will never stop to amaze, inspire and motivate me.
To tell the story of Air Zermatt, one has to start at the very beginning where you will find Beat Perren, a ‘Zermatter’ through and through. Born in 1929, he remembers the days, when the village was cut off from the rest of the world in winter. The locals had to rely on the community and worked together.
Today, the silhouette of the Matterhorn is well-known all over the world and Zermatt is most famous for its international alpine tourism and for pioneering mountain rescue. With increasing alpine tourism, accidents and the pressing need for a new solution for mountain rescues, medical transportation increased as well. Back then, accidents, especially on the glacier, came close to a death sentence. More so, with no hospital nearby. In 1968, Beat Perren, then pharmacist and pilot, wanted to change that and decided to buy his first helicopter, especially for that purpose and thereby laid the foundation for a long history of revolutionary innovation and precision in that field.
Today, we know that response time is most crucial and that helicopter rescues provide the only realistic chance to save lives in the merciless mountain tops. However, like in photography, the equipment alone does not suffice, only in the skilled hands of dedicated people can we unleash the true potential.
Their dedication, their nerves of steel and their trust in one another when working at the highest levels of precision but has left the deepest impression on me is their willingness to risk their own lives to save another.
You will find that most of the crew members grew up in the Swiss mountains where climbing comes as a way of life and with its long-standing tradition is second nature to them.
Growing up surrounded by nature with its own will and power must leave a certain humbleness in one’s personality. This is certainly a crucial component to their uplifting spirit and incredible teamwork.
When I first learned about the history behind Air Zermatt, it became my ambition to pay tribute with a series doing it justice. Transporting the charismatic character of Beat Perren, documenting the home of Air Zermatt and its dramatic landscapes.
After shooting this reportage with the new XF50mmF1.0 lens and its incredible aperture of 1.0, in combination with the X-T4, I cannot imagine a better set of equipment to tell the story. Capturing even the slightest rays of light, this lens is ideal for my style of visual imagery. In portraits, I love to play with the balance between shadows and light, what is deliberately shown and what is hidden. In a reportage, it brings me great freedom to shoot with almost no available light.
The gradients between light and shadow are smooth and the colors possess a richness and finesse that Fujifilm is known and loved for. Rounding it off with an aperture of 1.0 and an overall cinematic look. I was pushing the limits by shooting hand-held, constantly moving or sitting in a flying helicopter or gondola, battling with changing light conditions while experimenting with the aperture. Supported by the X-T4’s new in-body image stabilization (IBIS) I was still able to catch surprisingly sharp images with a look that does justice to the drama of the landscape.
This lens brings you close to your motive, giving your picture an intimate feel. I enjoyed going through these images especially because of that particular mood, pulling you into the portrait.
In such an overwhelming wide landscape my eyes like to wander off, searching for small details and graphic elements. Objects or people appear on a closer look, giving a reference to the true dimensions of the scenery.
I kept the post-production to an absolute minimum to give an impression of the rewarding outcome one can expect of this gear. Some of the images even with no adjustments at all. The high-quality including the cinematic look have a positive impact on the whole workflow.
Simplifying my life.
In reportage photography, I want to keep my gear as compact and versatile as possible. Keeping me light and flexible on long days of shooting and constant movement. Before using the FUJIFILM X-Series, I was used to getting bad headaches the day after a photo shoot. Working with a heavy camera is tiring and thanks to Fujifilm simply unnecessary.