My last post, which was now over a year ago, explored how I took my own advice and doubled down on my “chosen style.” The concrete outcome of that decision was a reformat of my gallery home page.
So, it’s been a year, and the gallery is still the same… Has anything else changed? Absolutely! I’m a photographic hipster now.
As a refresher, here’s a taste of four pieces from the front page of my gallery site, which I think pretty accurately represents what I’m finding most interesting in my photography right now.
Though changing the gallery homepage to showcase these pieces was a discrete and deliberate act, this style of mine has been evolving for years, and in fact the images on that page were taken with at least four different cameras.
Which brings me to the photographic hipster part of the story, which is where Aaron sells his entire Sony Alpha a7R III kit and admits that he’s a full-time Fujifilm shooter now.
I bought the Fuji X-T4 right around the time I wrote that last post about leaning into a style, and over the last year I shot less and less with the Sony.
When people talk about how much fun it is to shoot one of these Fuji X cameras, they are not making shit up, I really enjoy it. But in fairness, it isn’t just the camera that is fun for me, it is also leaning hard into manual focus lenses, and especially rangefinder lenses.
My favorite lens right now is the Voigtlander Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4 (pictured above).
The history of the Voigtlander company is fairly interesting, but the TL; DR is that it was founded in 1756 and was fully defunct by 1972. Since 1999, the Japanese company Cosina has been manufacturing these “modern” Voigtlander lenses.
This particular lens is only $400 on B&H as I write this. It uses a Leica M mount, for which there is an adapter ring for just about every major camera body.
Since the X-T4 is a crop sensor, this lens behaves more like a 60mm, and for the work I’ve been doing, that seems like a nice fit for me.
I started visiting college campuses because they often have cool architecture and nobody minds if you walk around taking photos there in the summer. The one below is from Babson College. I like how the little triangle of grass, the column, and the column’s shadow breaks up the ground space.
We took a family trip out to the Berkshires this summer and visited Clark Art Institute (which has an immense campus with public hiking trails, I highly recommend it). There, I took the one below, which features the unique concrete designs of architect Tadao Ando.
On one afternoon walk around Wellesley College (also a must-see publicly accessible campus) I captured this amazing little slice of sunlight.
All three of these were shot with the Nokton Classic 40mm f/1.4, probably at somewhere in the range of f/11 to f/16 (but who could know, manual lenses don’t save any metadata!)
You Shoot What You Shoot
Years ago, on a photo trip to some gorgeous western national park, we ran into a guy who memorably quipped that “you shoot what you shoot.” I think he meant it in a dismissive, fatalistic sort of way, but it stuck with me for all these years. I do believe that on any creative journey, you can never really know where you’re going, you can only know where you are.
While I don’t believe that I’ll never post another color photo, or a photo of a person, or a landscape, I feel really good about making this kind of work. These latest few images I’ve posted feel more like “me” than any of the landscapes or portraits I’ve ever done.
Not only are the images themselves exciting to me, but actually making them feels fun. Gone are the days of setting up a tripod (or two) and standing motionless for an hour while the sun rises or sets, usually in the cold.
And who wants to spend their “free time” doing something that is uncomfortable or boring? Certainly not me.
I’d love to hear about your own style journey, and feel free to post your gallery links, too!