'Personal work' with the Fuji X100s and Point and Shoot mode.

There is a wonderful phrase that professional photographers use to describe the images that they can't sell. It's called 'personal work.' OK, it does include pictures shot for portfolios, tests etc. and all sorts of other non assignment photography but I've always thought it was a wonderful phrase and makes holiday and family snaps seem much more 'artistic'.

My 'personal' work usually involves shots with people doing stuff in them. Now, I could sell these as editorial images but I usually choose not to. They aren't really travel or location images and of course there is no chance of a model release and they aren't really in the style that would generate a lot of sales. They are usually in a kind of documentary / reportage style and while 'street photography' is a description I dislike, because it's one of the photographic internets great cliches and source of some fairly dispiriting images, but I suppose it's that as well, since it is mostly photographs shot on a street.

This 'street photography' usually involves tourists in Stratford-upon-Avon which is a rich source of material. People from all over the world come for the 'Shakespeare experience' and even on a Tuesday afternoon before the school holidays start, it's still crowded.

I used my Fuji X100s with the two conversion lenses and set everything up to reflect my current simple tastes. ISO 100, jpg. only, auto-everything. Once again I was concentrating on the pictures and not the gear. So point and shoot mode. And some people think that's a derogatory term, as if the more you fiddle with your camera the better the photographer you are. Pointing and shooting are after all the two most important elements in photography.

As I've indicated in recent posts I'm currently really not inclined to do any 'fiddling' whatsoever. I just want to spend my time creating photographs in as finished a form straight out of the camera as I can make them. I'm also in the mood to shoot what ever makes me want to press the shutter, rather than consider whether I will be able to sell the results. And as you can see, I'm also indulging my passion for square framing. 

I've got the X100s set up to do this. It's also set up to produce low contrast, unsharpened images with saturated colour. I do still edit in Photoshop, but much quicker these days and in a much less complicated way. Yesterday, I deliberately shot jpg's only, so that I wouldn't get involved in the raw processing workflow that I'm trying to get away from.
Below are all the shots I took and as you can see they are pretty consistent.

Some need sorting out, but after years of working with Photoshop that's not a problem. 

Now I hope people don't misunderstand what I'm currently doing. There is no intention on my part to argue that jpgs. yield as good results as raw files, because they don't. Nor am I trying to promote some point of view that says people should be shooting jpgs. rather than raw. It's just that I've spend so much time converting raw files, rather than doing what I actually enjoy doing, taking pictures, that I'll pretty much do anything at the moment to avoid creating yet more of them. I have several thousand waiting to be worked on as it is and the thought of producing yet more has led to this change in my operating practices. 

The X100s did it's thing very well and I liked shooting at ISO 100. Dynamic range suffers a bit but the jpgs. are smooth yet sharp. 

Now I did shoot a few pictures on my Blackberry phone as well. But yesterday only to upload to facebook as a kind of live updating diary. I'll be doing this for all of my shooting excursions from now on. If you're interested in this then here's the link - https://www.facebook.com/soundimageplusblog Yesterday I even managed a 'selfie.'

Now I fully expect to shed a few readers with this new approach and I doubt many of the sites who very kindly link to my articles will see much future in continuing to do so if I stop writing endless comparison articles on how this piece of gear does X,Y and Z marginally better than some other piece of gear. 

It's interesting that using a camera in a mobile phone has got me to this. Who would have thought that something that I have spend a lot of time denigrating would actually get me more interested in creating pictures and less interested in lens and camera appraising. And something is changing since I seem to far less interested about new announcements than before. 

Regular readers will know that there is every chance of me 'resuming normal service' in the future, but I suspect this won't happen for a while. Because this isn't just an 'enthusiasm' for a new piece of kit, this is an 'enthusiasm' for a whole different approach to creating images and one that is less gear centric and workflow demanding than before. It's also much more enjoyable and definitely liberating and those are things that will be difficult to give up once I've got used to them. 

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