A few notable things happened with my photography in 2013. I started shooting Fuji X cameras more and more, I started shooting street photography in a serious way, I started looking at my photography more as an artistic outlet with less focus on making money, and I think I really started to see my style come together in a natural way. These things aren’t necessarily unrelated.
At the end of 2012 I’d purchased the small Fuji X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera, thinking it would be a nice niche camera for some of my shooting. I didn’t expect that at the year end, 13 of my 20 favorite images would have been made with small Fuji cameras (some are with the X100s that I added later in the year). These small cameras really changed my approach to everything. I slowed down and became more methodical. In interacting with portrait subjects, I was no longer stuck behind a huge camera body and lens anymore, which changed the nature of the interaction, resulting in better photographs.
For the last several years, my wife and I have taken a trip (sans children) to New York City. On previous trips I’ve done a little street photography with a big DSLR, but it was not ideal. In 2013, I left the DSLR at home, traveling with just an X-Pro 1 with 18-55 zoom lens and a couple of primes, and also with my medium format film camera. For much of the trip, I walked around with the camera around my neck with lens at 18mm, camera at f/8 and auto-ISO and just started looking for interesting people. I quickly became hooked on street photography. I’d been frustrated for awhile that I haven’t been able to shoot much landscape, and the street photography fills that void perfectly. All I need is a couple of hours to head downtown to Raleigh or Durham and just walk around. No getting up early. No scouting for the perfect view. I do hope to return to landscapes someday, but in the meantime street photography makes me very happy. That said, one of my absolute favorite images of the entire year was my landcape image of Lake Crabtree in the fog.
In the fall I decided to add an X100s, Fuji’s all-in-one camera with a 35mm equivlent f/2 lens. It has quickly become my favorite camera ever. Absolutely perfect for street work. There is a reason that so many photographers have been raving about this camera. Did I happen to mention that I love this camera?
I continued to shoot film in 2013. Three of the 20 here were shot on film. I wish I’d shot more. I wish more had turned out better. I have a love/hate relationship with film. But when magic happens, lots and lots of love.
My DSLR, the Nikon D700, only accounted for 5 of the photos that made this list. Two of those were concert shots, where the Fuji just comes up short in the autofocusing in extremely low light department. One was with the Lensbaby lens that I have for the Nikon. I could have easily have used the Fuji for the other two. The D700 has become my niche camera. I did not see that coming at the start of the year.
I look at my work now and definitely see a style. I didn’t go in search of it, but it found me. It developed very naturally, and I suppose my interest in a lot old film photographers played a large role. It took me a long time, but I think I’ve finally gotten to the point with digital photography where I can create the film-like look that I want out of it (without having to spend hours in post).
Finally, it was really hard to pick and choose what photographs made this list. There were a handful of no brainers that easily made the list, then it got difficult. The portraits were difficult as can be. I still can’t believe I’m leaving off some of them. The live music photos were almost impossible to choose from. I could have easily made a top 10 just for those, but so many of them stood equal that I just couldn’t narrow further, so I only picked two. And I don’t even know that they are my best two, just two that resonate with me.
Anyway, that’s my rambling thoughts about the year. I’m excited about where I am creatively on this journey and can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.