Reset – Return – Add project.

We just returned from the family holiday. Three full weeks in a tent in Autrans, France. Such a luxury. Such a great time.

Besides the activities with the family, I did a lot of reading. And thinking.
I’m a person who can get really inside my head. Thinking about a lot of things, but all good. Just filled with energy. In a couple of weeks I’m starting with a new job at the office and I’m really looking forward to it. So that was in my head, sometimes. But most of the time I really did not think of work at all and thought about my family and photography. How to keep at ease when we’re returning of the holidays. Spending lots of time in nature, is one way to stay energized. The other thing is to do what you love, and in my case that’s photography and kayaking.

This blog is about my photography: Street Photography and Street portraits. I love it.
However, I find it difficult to be on the streets often enough to shoot on a regular basis. To be clear: I’m keeping the project, but the current progress isn’t giving me sufficient satisfaction. I’m commuting on a daily basis by car, which is great, but it does not get me ‘in to the city’ as public transportation would. I’m thinking of ways to adjust my thoughts on this, because there are other ways to capture street portraits and probably as well the way I’m commuting. I’m sure the output will increase soon.

But when I was thinking about this, another idea came to mind: create an additional project which does give daily opportunity. Luckily I’m with my family often. The family calendar is full. So why not capture daily live; the mundane. I’m going to commit to an additional project.

There are lots of way to document family live / daily live. I’ve given this quite some thoughts when on holiday. I’m not interested in capturing grand, precise and clear summaries of what I’m doing. I’m thinking more about triggers for my memory. Small slices of what I’m experiencing, what I see, what I feel. I want to capture those as a small series as well. That’s why, for now, I’ll call the project ‘Slices’.

A couple of examples which I made the last couple of weeks, all taken with the X-T1 and the XF35mm1.4, processed in Lightroom. I’m trying some new style here. This style is totally different then I’ve done before. The high contrast, black & white, very gritty style I’ve used most of the time, I’ll keep on using. But for this project it feels too harsh.
So I’ve tried to process in a more subtle way. Bit of muted style. Not sure if I’ll include black & white and color, or that I’ll stick with one type. Still fine tuning both processing styles, but I’m rather pleased with this muted look, so I’m close to capturing it as a preset.

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New challenge: Street portraits

A new challenge, a new goal:
I’m going to shoot street portraits, and it will be a long term project.

Photography has had my interest as long as I can remember, although I haven’t spend a lot of time to it in my youth. Then, in 2003 or so I decided to boost my interest and quality by doing a professional photography course.

Until then, I mainly was interested in doing landscapes. And they were terrible.
In the course a wide variety of photography disciplines were handled, which really opened my eyes. I totally forgot about landscapes and I was totally interested in doing portrait shoots. I actually did a lot of portrait shoots, got my own small studio and started doing shoots commercially as a side job. Next were a couple of weddings, which I really enjoyed doing.

But I also enjoyed my day job, being a Business Analyst in IT.
At work I was thinking about the photography clients and when I was doing photography stuff, I was also thinking about all the things I needed to do at the office… In meeting I was actually ‘seeing’ great portraits. The light flattering the attendees of the meeting and I was composing the best portraits I did not shoot.

Also, I did not enjoy photography anymore. I could not get creative like the way I wanted to be. Having clients meant I needed to standardize my workflow to become profitable. But I didn’t want that. I wanted to determine the best shots by looking at the clients. By capturing their inner personality. Not by offering a couple of standardized shots. I’m a bit extreme here, because it has not been really like this, but you’ll get the idea: I did not enjoy my hobby/commercial product anymore.

So in 2009 I decided to stop my photography business. For a long time I did not think of my camera gear. After a while I sold all my heavy Canon gear, the studio strobes and deleted my online presence. I had to take a break.

Obviously, photography was in my blood and it was inevitable my interest would return. It did. I had looked into a small kit, which still offers high quality output, but without a need to go to the gym to be able to lift the bag. I invested in the Fuji X series. First an X-M1 with a couple of fast prime lenses and just last month I upgraded the kit with an X-T1.

Upgrading to the X-T1 was ‘necessary’ because now, in 2017, the photography bug got back from it’s hibernation. I still love photography, but this time I’m not going to restrict myself with paying customers. I want photography to be my hobby so I’ll be able to do whatever I want. For now my interest is focused on street photography and portraits.

To give myself some guidance, I’ve put on this website/blog. I want to do what I want, but still I want to commit to the bug. I love great people, photo’s, being outdoors and to learn new stuff… to challenge myself. So this website is mainly for me; to give my hobby an outlet. And sure, I love the interaction with likeminded people, so please do reach out if you want to ask, comment or whatever.

It would have been easy to grab a photo of from ‘back then’ to set up the blog of this website, but I will not do that. This will be my outlet of my new challenge. And let’s face it, a challenge it is. It has been years without proper shooting, and that is showing. I need to learn to feel the moment again, feel the light, feel the tools. It is not ready at my fingertips. It needs to be re-developed, which is perfectly fine.
So that is what I’m going to do.

I probably will include a few street photos I’ve taken in the past in my portfolio pages, but regarding my blog posts I will use new work only.

For now an easy and posed portrait of my daughter.

Fleur
Fleur, posed, Fujifilm X-T1, XF60mm