Full circle


Going full circle is something that happens to us all to some degree.

Some circles are positive, whilst others burden and become a hinderance. Some circles provide enlightenment, whilst others a merry-go-round one cannot wait to get off. My circle and focus for this blog post is fortunately one that has provided much insight and education, support, new acquaintances and destinations. I'm a different photographer because of it but also a very grateful one too. 53mm has benefitted from it and as a result, has initiated the start of many more circles to learn about the sorts of targets that will further the initiative. I have progressed from the many conversations and inspirations shared, as well as encounters and chances, opportunities and risks taken. My circle has been one that has allowed me to live a photographers life, but that isn't in any way suggesting that I have made it a career. No. It remains a passionate hobby, but I am involved enough to be able to slot it into my life and live the dream for brief moments. That's suffices. For now.

I started my photographic journey with one Fujifilm camera and one lens and after 3 years have landed right back at that point. Full circle. BUT with a wider, wiser perimeter. For me, this feels like home and it's good to be back.

I have experienced more, owned more, sold more, talked more, collaborated more, posted more, created more, experimented more, enjoyed more, failed more and succeeded a little and I am thankful for every shutter release and instant.

But as one circle ends, another one unfolds and new journeys await with new destinations. I just don't know where yet.

In brief, my destination at present is a lot different from the place I started from. I am more sagacious and have become more stringent in my approach. I guess, coming full circle has led me to come to understand that I no longer want to be a part of certain aspects of 'popular' photographic culture and am resorting to what I have learned from old skool practitioners whilst embracing all that that means; being stubborn in my stance and clear on my outlook.

Stop the train...

My present terminus, has enabled me to address one area in my photography with new eyes. One that I have always been intrigued with - cost/costs. I have not been immune to G.A.S. In fact, I have easily been the opposite but I have learned from my bouts of it what I need and what I don't. For now, after owning an array of other lenses, one lens is enough for who I am as a photographer. The versatility of the XF35mm F/1.4 is enough. Period. I knew this from the start of my X-Series journey but I am much more secure in my understanding of this now. All of my gear is used and has been recycled from other photographers and I don't think that is about to change. Rather than forking out for new gear, I am more than happy to re-use equipment from photographers who have lovingly cared for their resources and take over cherishing them as they steward something new. I guess, I see myself now as a rescue photographer in that sense. My second hand kit is limited but it is everything I need. I feel this is a good destination to settle at. But my culling in costs hasn't just bought me to this point. I know this new grasp on spending  is to stretch into another area and that is software.

Apple and it's marketing model of apps, apps, apps hasn't helped us as photographers. For with this new method of acquiring the digital darkroom, comes a revamped model of making money, ending the days where you could buy a piece of software outright and have it for years on end, including those all important updates. Not many providers offer 'one-offs' any longer and if they do then the fear that they may change to subscriptions is ever present. Adobe, being the giant that it is, now venturing into this subscription based ownership of it's programs, has changed the game and no matter how many new candy-coated features come along, it doesn't take away that monthly bite that has to be paid. To me, this takes away the peace of mind of owning something that is so vital to ones creativity. It's more about hire purchase than freehold. If like me, you feel disgruntled at the thought of loaning their goods as opposed to owning them, then you too might discern this sting as a stunt in creativity, encouraging dissatisfaction. I feel dissatisfied. Especially with the announcement of new subscription prices for the new products that are marketed as the new must have. I'm afraid that their use of the word 'classic' doesn't help in settling my worry that one day 'classic' will turn into obsolete, irrespective of the lure of a cheaper monthly premium. My understanding is that this 'classic' stamp is really a hidden attempt at slowly transitioning the more cost conscious photographers towards the bigger, more expensive plans once 'classic' is forced to pasture. I don't want this anymore and here is a deeper awareness of my new destination. Adobe Photography Plans in whatever shape, form or price are not something I am buying into any longer. The sad thing is that I have invested a lot of money in presets for Lightroom and that will be money down the pan BUT it is a sacrifice I am going to have to burden or maybe forgive myself for as I venture elsewhere. In the UK the new, new cloud based photography plan is a whopping £19.97 a month and let's face it, 20GB of storage space eventually isn't going to be enough to match the 1TB offered with the price hike. I am not the only one who feels this way. Many of my heroes in photography, who in fact 'do' this for a living, are beginning to feel the sting and are starting to voyage elsewhere to greener pastures. And if they feel like that, then amateur-old-me has no reason to stay with Adobe's monthly rates. I do get why Adobe are doing it. This strategy is a sure fire one of securing revenue that eventually will allow for more advances in their software, but I can't be a donor to their cause any more.

So where now?

Ideally, to an editing suite that I can buy outright and own, like the old skool way, receiving updates without the premium bite.

The choices that I have given myself, after much research are: the Luminar 2018 program, that is imminent in its release, Capture One Pro 10 and Google Nik Software and I am excited by all these contenders.

Luminar 2018 looks like the very capable bridge I'd be ready for as I cross over from Lightroom to something new and I would use this as a stand alone program, not as a plug-in. The cost is nice too at £53 as a pre-order with a few extras thrown in to seal the deal.

Capture One Pro 10 comes in at £249 for sole ownership with all future updates and is an incredible darkroom. I even purchased a series of tutorial videos a while ago to learn the ins and outs of this editing suite but that price tag is a little of a hefty one right now, in amongst purchasing a new house. BUT I do have time on my side. My current subscription to Adobe runs out in February 2018 and as a means of halting my cancellation, as an existing customer, I received 60 days free subscription meaning that I will only have one month subscription to pay before I cancel for good. This could mean that I enjoy the fruits of the 'classic' Lightroom and Photoshop package until the time where I would naturally be ready for a new flame, save up and buy Capture One Pro 10 outright. In theory, I would have saved enough to purchase Capture One Pro 10 by then, all the while learning it's ropes. That's option 2.

Option 3 is proper old skool but carries some speculation. Google Nik Software has a very exciting future now that it has been taken over by DxO. A take over was only a matter of time seeing as the Nik editing suite has helped so many photographers create and present their work and as a result amassed a vast following. It seems like its a win-win situation for any company with the photographic and programming experience to tackle its continuation, something DxO has in droves. It's such s relief to discover after a campaign to save it that Nik is to carry on. It is guaranteed to be a popular choice BUT will it change to a subscription system in order for DxO to claw back what they forked out for it? Time will only tell and I hope they present a sensible option for the masses who right now are enjoying its use for free. Finding an agreeable balance might prove to be slightly tricky. We all watch that space.

Each option has its own pros and cons. New versus old. Established versus new kid on the block. Cheaper versus expensive. But I am going to go down the Luminar route. OK, it doesn't have a file system yet but that is promised for 2018 and should plug that hole nicely. Price, features, speed of use and functionality seem to be right for me. Capture One Pro 10 is a fraction too costly BUT that isn't to say that it wouldn't be the right option later on down the line and I do have the tutorials. My Luminar 2018 preorder has in fact already been sent so 16.11.2017 dawns a new beginning to the look of my photography away from Lightroom. I have had a little experience with Macphun's Creative Suite so the cross over shouldn't be that drastic. I'm looking forward to it.


So to cut this long story short, 53mm has a new destination too, after coming full circle itself, and is moving home. Squarespace has become too expensive and after taking into account the wonderful kindness of the PATRONS that support 53mm financially, and my own budget, WordPress is going to be it's new residence. The costs of this move will be a fraction of the annual fee with Squarespace and with the new 53 magazine making it's home with LucidPress the overall costs would be more in line with sensible economics rather than the false economic model I have been living by with the 53mm initiative thus far.

The new website will be home for the 53 magazine as well as a few of the key features that have made the present website inspirational. Content is now secure, with 5ERI3S, PROCE53ES, X-pert 53 and 53mm Featured AND with the 12x53 contests and a few new ideas the bi-monthly magazine should be packed with inspiration. I think a change is in order to freshen things up. The 53RD COLLECTIVE is looking great with the new line up of photographers and the 53 magazine will be a great home for them but I'd also like to celebrate more of the followers of the Instagram feed to inspire even more use of the XF35mm lenses and X100 equivalents. The new start is just the platform I'd like to attempt to take 53mm to in order to search for new avenues and collaborations.

Exciting times and 53mm phase 2 will be launched in early 2018.

I appreciate you

So going full circle has been such a good thing, for my personal photography and for 53mm. Opportunities are on the horizon, and I'm looking forward to bumping into whoever or whatever they are on the way to a further destination or two.

Thank you for ALL your support and encouragement so far, for being a solid community of companions. You All have not only developed 53mm into what it is but also me as a photographer too. 53mm's vision and intent is as strong as it's ever been..

And thank you for taking the time to skim over some of my thoughts and conclusions. I hope it all makes sense.

Wishing you inspirational light.

Inspiration is the Intention

Illuminatingly Yours.






53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Kudo Bass Is A street photographer from edinburgh, Scotland, who like our last 53mm Featured photographer, joshua Simmons, hasn't been shooting long. In her 10 short Months of building her Instagram feed, crafting her understanding and skill of using her Fujifim XT-1 and XF35mmF/2WR lens, she has established a stunningly recognisable style that oozes notes from the master photographers.

Kudo's eye, style and aesthetic finish are reminiscent of my favourite photographer, Saul Letter and when shooting street, it would be hard not to be influenced by him to some degree. Kudo's work manifests compositions and colours as well as the feel that Saul captured when shooting his own street series. This visual prowess is what drew me to her work.

Mood and relationship are strengths in Kudo's compositions and this draws the viewer into the scenes that she records. There is a strong presence in her work that evokes emotion and the promotes the experience perceived at the time of capture from both the photographer and subjects point of view.

Isolation is another characteristic that runs throughout her work. It's a wonderfully creative expression that attempts to intertwine the human condition with the street environment, to make these places the opposite to what they really are. To change them from being channels navigating the hustle and bustle of daily life into solitary episodes with the street, gifting the viewer a chance to explore a narrative about her subjects and her shots. Kudo's photography seems to strip the busy street scene down to a very basic yet beautiful level that takes the viewpoint of lone subjects and conjures an intriguing response to their interaction with their locale. On top of that they are aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Graphic notes and touches also show up in Kudo's shots and this is an element I am particularly drawn to in photography. Lines, pattern, repetition, interesting vantage points, form and shapes and strong contrasts between these elements are explored effectively and heighten the artistic approach and punch that her images exhibit.

There is a real dedication in Kudo's photography and one will come to understand that more when reading about what she commented on about her experiences with the XF35mm F/2 WR lens. This portfolio hasn't just come about through patient persistence alone. The lengths, the distance and time spent on her native streets goes to show us what has gone on behind the scenes to capture images like she is sharing with us. The fact that she keeps a record of the distance traveled whilst making her photography brings even more appreciation to her work and an admiration in her efforts to practise, to progress and ultimately become more proficient in her work.

I am so pleased that Kudo agreed to be featured. I am very fond of her work and look forward to seeing her shots appearing more on the 53mm website when she becomes an official 53mm Ambassador Photographer, shooting for the revamped 53RD COLLECTIVE.

In the meantime, this is what Kudo had to say about her work and her XF35mm experience.

Hi, I’m Kudo Bass. I shoot street photographs in Edinburgh, Scotland, and post them on my Instagram account: @kudo_bass. I shoot ‘street’ because I love it. The whole process is like magic. It fascinates me.
With nothing more than determination and a good pair of shoes, anyone can pick up a camera, walk out onto the city streets, and pluck beautiful, surprising works of art out of the air. This still amazes me. Of course, it isn’t easy. It takes total focus, hours of practice and not a little luck; but it’s this that appeals to me - the challenge, the difficulty, the hard work before the pay-off of getting ‘the shot’.
It all started suddenly for me, less than ten months ago. I discovered Instagram on 16th October 2016, and took my first ever street photograph the next day. It was my first day in Edinburgh. At the time, I knew nothing about street photography. Coming from a quiet Scottish glen, the buzz of the city made me want to capture some of the new sights all around me. All I had to shoot with was an iPhone6, but for a complete beginner that was OK... for a while.
Since that cold, late-autumn day, I’ve walked 1,820 miles and posted 783 images. Somewhere along the way, I got frustrated with the limitations of the iPhone (mainly depth of field). After a long conversation with @joshkjack, I picked up a second-hand Fuji X-T1 with a single prime lens – the Fujinon XF 35mm F2. It’s the only kit I have. If I’m outside, the Fuji is with me – every day, everywhere. It’s tiny and light, so it never feels like a burden. I don’t even use a camera bag – I just pocket a spare battery and lens cloth. The camera and lens are both weather sealed (this is Scotland) so rain or shine, I can keep shooting.
For me, process has to take second place to time spent on the streets shooting. That’s where I’m learning the craft, not at a desk. So, no laptops, no Lightroom, no hours spent tweaking RAW files. I shoot JPEGs on the Fuji (which are beautiful), then Wi-Fi them straight from the camera to the iPhone. After a few minutes editing with Snapseed, they’re posted - quick and simple.
There’s an immediacy and purity to street photography - no need for models, dramatic landscapes, lighting setups, or travel to exotic locations. No preparation. No idea even, when you set out, what you will see or choose to capture. I love to just walk out the door, and shoot quickly, on instinct. The Fuji fits this perfectly – all the physical knobs and switches can be felt and worked quickly without even looking at them. No fiddly little menus while shooting. On a couple of occasions I’ve shot three decent candid portraits within ten seconds, with different settings, while walking down a busy street. That’s quite a buzz when it comes off!
The XF 35mm lens (53mm equivalent) is perfect for shooting street. The shutter is so quiet, even in burst mode, that taking candid portraits is easy, even in quiet locations. Up close, the lens renders beautiful, flattering portraits without distortion. I also love to use it to create cityscapes, with tiny striding figures between towering buildings. After shooting for so long with just this one lens, I can previsualise the shots without raising the camera – essential when things are happening quickly.
It makes me laugh to think – the reason I bought the X-T1 (and not an X100F) was so I could swap lenses - use zooms and primes. But, because of the sheer quality of the XF lens, I’ve never taken it off the camera!




53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Joshua Simmons Is A Warrant Officer in the United States Army and has been a photographer for a little less than a year using the Fuji-X system.

I continue to be surprised when I read the introductory line to this 53mm Featured entry as Joshua's style and capture demonstrates a skill far beyond that of someone who has spent less than a year behind a lens.

I first came into contact with Joshua's work with this superb image.

There were two things that struck me about it. Firstly, the strong use of the silhouette and the shapes that were being showcased through it were fascinating. The stark contrast between the silhouette and the sky also made for an increased aesthetic presence and punch, demonstrating a great use of the monochrome palette too.

The second thing that grabbed me was the narrative behind it and the place and activity encompassing the scene. Here, we have an intimate glimpse into the life of a deservedly respected profession, whilst documenting it in a well composed and visually stimulating manner. 

It's not hard to understand that from this point forward I became captivated by Joshua's work.

The photojournalistic theme that spans across his army and family based work documents moments that are very personal and one can't help but feel that you are almost privileged to be a part of the shot. This is also something unique about the structure of them too. You are flung into the scene and this is a very welcomed attribute, especially within the nature of his military photographs. The viewer is poised in the photograph and as a result, isn't just a bystander but is involved in some way, even if that be in following the subject into a scene. I really enjoy how Joshua enables this, welcoming you into his world or indeed the world of the subject being captured.

I am extremely touched by the sheer collection of photographers that are members of the 53mm Community. Spanning far and wide, our interconnectivity is a global affair and the circumstances and ways of life that are shared also astound me too, Joshua, certainly fitting that category. He uses the 53mm FOV in an emotive manner, wanting the viewer to share the moment he records the shot, and not just in sight but in as many sensory ways as photographically possible. It's a unique window into the world of someone entrusted not just as a serving soldier, but as a devoted husband and father too.

Joshua has a great ability to evoke narratives in his shots and the collection that he has submitted demonstrates this in so many ways. I can't help but get a nuance of Fuji-X Photographer Patrick La Roque in his execution. If this is an approach he is working towards, then I feel that he is well on the way to accomplishing it.

His photography skills don't end with his documentary work as his passion for photography spills into astrophotography too and under another profile name @5solaphoto, Joshua celebrates this enthusiasm in a spectacular fashion.

I couldn't be happier that Joshua agreed to be a 53mm Featured photographer for the 53mm website and I look forward to following his progress well beyond his first year of shooting. When asked about his use of the XF35mm lenses, this is what he had to say.

Hello, my name is Joshua Simmons and I am an amateur and self-taught photographer serving in the United States Army.  I was born in Oakland, California and spent the majority of my life in the Bay Area and suburbs of Seattle, Washington.  I didn’t grow up with a camera in hand or even a particular desire for anything photographic.  It wasn’t until I had a camera phone that even the glimmer of a window opening for my desire to pursue photography began to show.  During the Fall of last year my wife, through my prodding, brought home her mother’s consumer level Sony DSLR and I purchased a couple lenses.  All the while I had my eye on the Fuji X-T2 and it didn’t take long to convince my Bride to agree to the purchase of the camera and several lenses, one of which was the XF 35mm f/2! 
Immediately I fell in love with the combination I had.  The field of view, small form factor, quick focus and sharp delivery was everything I could want in a camera and lens.  This lens possesses a ubiquitous quality that forces you to think, “How would this look at 35mm(53mm)?”  The focal length both brings you into the subject and simultaneously opens your eyes to its wide world once inside.  Whether the intimacy of a portrait where I can be brought into the subject’s circle it also opens my eyes to the depth of their personality or the expanse of a landscape with the smallest detail being emphasized.  This lens, like the Fuji-X system, inspires you to get up, get out and see.  Look up, look down, left, right and sideways.  Observe the ebb and flow of the world around you and in that brief moment capture the beauty, the truth, the dream.
Whether street photography, documenting the daily life of my family or my work, landscapes, nightscapes and astrophotography, the XF 35mm f/2 is a lens I always have at the ready.  I only hope to do it justice and produce quality images full of the life that was on display when captured.  Soli Deo Gloria! 




53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Christian Cross Is A Self Taught Photographer, specialising in Street Photography Based In London, UK.

What strikes me most about Christian's photography is that he knows his environment. He knows it intimately. Knowing where, how and when to shoot it. For some, this might be obvious seeing as he exclusively shoots his street photography in London, but London isn't a small place nor just a walk in the park. It is vast and whether you are a resident or not you still need to know how to capture it. I guess for photographers adept in this particular genre the place you shoot needs to be some sort of friend and it's a friend you frequently need to visit and explore and get to know.

There are many X-Photographers, some who share they work with the 53mm IG feed, who have done just that and have worked hard to become well versed in the territory that they choose to shoot. Doing this, they then understand it and are at one with it if one were to get all philosophical about it, and as a result they both become accustomed to each other, working together in partnership to bring the best out of each other.

Monochrome is the main palette that Christian shoots in and he utilises the 53mm FOV remarkably well to capture his everyday shots of the people he frequents or discovers for the first and last time or the landscapes kissed by the London's light. His gallery of shots on his IG feed is a great documentary account of how London lives in this day in age. The contrast that he applies to his work sometimes makes the shadows deep and bold and highlights sharp and crisp, aesthetically producing dramatic light photographs like that of X-Photographer, Rinzi Ruiz. His silhouetted shots are superb. Whilst one the other hand and depending on the mood he wants to convey, he can then shoot softer tones to compliment the street portraits he often takes. Christian has a great eye for black and white photography.

Throughout his repertoire and certainly in the shots that he has very kindly submitted for this feature, his compositions always have an action or a visual verb that helps tell a story about the place, person or observation taken. These can be subtle or in your face obvious, but they help to enhance the beautifully taken XF35mm shots that he records.

They are not just images that capture a still moment but rather they possess something within the frame that showcases and celebrates gestures and motions, decisions and dialogue. You can't help but wonder what it is or has or is about to go on in his photographs and I thoroughly enjoy this unique aspect about his work. His images also capture more than the aesthetic as you are often bombarded with the sounds, the noise and the hustle and bustle of London making his work an experience in themselves when viewing them.

I couldn't be happier that Christian agreed to be apart of 53mm in this way and I couldn't urge you enough to visit his IG feed and see for yourself a photographer literally at home in his art.

When asked to share his thoughts on using the XF35mm lenses in his photography, this is what Christian had to say:

Hi, my name is Christian Cross and I am a self taught amateur photographer with a Fuji camera and a passion for street photography. Born in London, I grew up in (Peckham), where most people would avoid because of its reputation, but I must say I wouldn’t have become the man of passion and drive that I am today if I didn’t go through challenges that life brought my way. So from the moment I picked up my first camera till this very same day, I am determined to capture London’s street life and diversity of many nationalities that roam through our Welcoming Streets of London .
It all started just under three years ago, when I went on a EyeEm's photowalk, (EyeEm- for people that don’t know is a photo sharing app.) It was on this day in Shoreditch that I got my first taste of street photography and since then I haven’t stopped and have been hooked ever since. It was there that I first started with a 35mm on a entry level Nikon d3200.
I soon brought myself a fuji x-T1 with a 35mm f2 lens and for me, something just felt so right, I knew from this moment that I was always going to use a Fuji, and have done till this day. I think I have what they call GAS syndrome (haha) because when the X-Pro2 came out I preordered it straight away. Such a beautiful looking camera and I’ve always been a fan of rangefinder style camera's, so this suited me perfectly.
So for the past year, from the start of 2016 till today, this has been my go to camera with the 35mm f2 lens and what an amazing combination it is.
At the 35mm focal length, which is so versatile, and having the f2 lens which is fast to auto focus, it really helps for street photography.
My style of photography is all about capturing the moment, the moment of everyday life and emotions on the streets of the beautiful city of London.




53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Craig Whitehead Is A Street Photographer Based in Cambridge, UK.

SIXSTREETUNDER hasn't an Instagram following of 20,000 for nothing. He has a impressively adept skill at capturing truly awe-inspiring street shots that showcase a colour palette that is full bodied in presence and signature in recognition, whilst maintaining a visual potency that forces the viewer to gawp in wonderment at what he records. 

It's a real pleasure to have him agree to be a 53mm Featured Photographer.

What delights me about his work is that is has been honed through practise upon practise, shot after shot to define a style and a vision that is then reinvented constantly to always evolve his calibre of photography. It seems that Craig isn't one to settle easily with what he produces, but is always working, pushing towards improving his photography and his shots throughout this interview and his Instagram feed bare witness to a visionary that is at the top of his game and growing.

His photographs display a certain sheen to them that celebrate a clinical coolness or mellowing warmth to his hues, tones and shadows. Colour grading is wonderfully employed for the genre of photography he is known so very well for and the deep, plush notes and sumptuous, slick tinctures resonate throughout his frames. His images also have an intriguing element of story telling too, showcasing engrossing compositions with the subjects interacting superbly with their surroundings to ingest a point or relationship about that moment of capture.

One of the initial things that alerted me to Craig's Instagram feed, upon clicking on a particular shot that caught my eye, was the traffic he attracts. Now, I am well aware that numbers of 'likes' alone, doesn't qualify for a 'good' shot, but it is a start and from SIXSTREETUNDER's point of view, all the likes that he receives are followed by a plethora of comments explaining how inspiring his photography is and how respected his work has become. For me, these are the things that help constitute to a good photograph. Yes, liking or disliking a shot is purely subjective, but the comments he collects don't lie. He is a photographer that lives the 53mm maxim, Inspiration is the Intention and whether he acknowledges it or not he is inspiring others with his very special eye and brand of street capture.

What you will see in this article is a small series of shots that display aesthetic prowess but also clever chronicles too. Whether that be full in your face obvious or more subtle there is some context to the photographs he delivers. Patience is such a virtue to a street photographer, to wait in order to get that gesture, that item of clothing, that reaction from the street public to complete the vision for the shot at hand. Craig demonstrates all that is needed to shoot a quality street portfolio and for those of us that knows what that entails, many more frames would have been taken in order to get 'that' shot as well as time between them. Nuances of Eric Kim, Alex Webb and Fujifilm's own X-Photographers, Rinzi Ruiz and Ian MacDonald can be seen in his images where his applications in colour, visual realtionships, narrative story telling and dramatic light are concerned.

At the time of writing this, Craig is in Barcelona working his street photography magic so his Instagram feed would be a good place to visit to see his Spanish Street Series.

It's a treat to have Craig added to the 53mm Featured roster and certainly is a photographer to keep a close eye on in the future.

When asked to talk about his experiences with the 53mm FOV, this is what he said:

This may all sound like some crazy rambling but that's because it is. I'm no writer, I've always been involved in image making in some way pretty much. I'm definitely pretty obsessive and anyone who follows my work already I have a style that can only be described as bi polar. One day I'll be shooting with a 35 with a bit of distance the next I'll be using a 12mm and getting so close I actually knock into people often. 

I got my first camera back when I was probably 15, before that I had used my dads camera and disposables on holidays but never really been interested but around 15 I had been rollerblading for a few years and thought it would be fun to get some photos of my friends. I have absolutely no clue what the camera was and had no idea how to use it. I remember by dad relaying the instructions to me about aperture and shutter speed but I didn't understand really and I only put one roll through that camera. 

I probably didn't try again until I was in uni studying illustration. So 10 years ago now. I'm my first year my dad bought me a Nikon d40 for my birthday and since then I've always had a camera nearby. I also have a Minolta x300 with a 50mm on it That I probably used to use more than the Nikon and I still use as well as using the lenses on the Fuji bodies. I went through quite a few different nikons working my way up to a full frame d600 which I eventually got rid of for a Fuji X-T1. 

I'm assuming everyone reading this feels the same way I do about Fuji camera so I won't get into trying to explain the unexplainable feeling of using a Fuji for the first time. There was no turning back at that point. I'm now using an X-Pro2 and as of writing this I have a 35mm f2 in transit. The photos accompanying this were all taken with the X-T1 and the 35mm 1.4 which I actually sold to get the 23mm 1.4. The wider focal length personally suits me but not having a 35 in my bag has definitely frustrated me. Although I may prefer something wider I really don't think anyone should be without a 35 (50) it's a classic for a reason. It's an incredibly versatile focal length and especially when you consider the new 35mm f2 it's super light and small and weather sealed which definitely comes in handy in the UK. I think if I had to travel with a single focal length it would have to be that! 




53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Mustafa Hacalaki Is A Photographer Graphic designer From Montréal.

Mustafa's graphic-fuelled vision is inherent in all the shots he takes. He really does have a gift in composing images that aesthetically sing out of their frames. He is highly adept at using his everyday life to craft something beautiful, something optically exquisite to observe and ultimately enjoy. Very much like the master, William Eggleston who used colour to his advantage to capture the mundane in life and make it beautiful, Mustafa bares some of this ability in his work. This isn't at all to say that what he takes, in essence, is mundane, but what most people would pass as just an unimaginative or normal view, standard in most people's everyday life, Mustafa cultivates through angle, vantage point and gesture to reinvent it, and rejuvenate it to stand out amongst the crowd. His shots have that visual pizzaz that demands more than one look to take in all that he has intended the viewer to see and be a part taker in his vision.

Recently, Mustafa really caught my eye with a series of shots he is currently working on that bare the parity of yet another of my photographic heroes, Saul Leiter. The classic misty-windowed look from Leiters photographs like T 1950, Street Scene 1959 and Snow 1960 and carry this resemblance in Mustafa's work.

That everyday sighting that others involved in the scene or those that simply walk on by, blind to the aesthetic opportunities to see something more sumptuous than meets the eye, are made into works of art through careful composition, exploitation of colour and patient intent to allow the environment to fit all that hope one is pinning on the shot. This series is inspired. But his creativity to take stunning images doesn't just stop at his street and documentary photography portfolio shot with the 53mm FOV. His contributions to landscape photography using the XF35mm f/2 lens is superb too.

In particular, both his day and nighttime shots carry a certain mystery to them and maybe its the solitary feel that they evoke that aids in this assumption. A narrative silence is felt, a cinematic pause is instilled and moments of inquisitive ponder is forced upon the viewer to maybe consider what has transpired or what indeed is to come. I like to call these shots aesthetic expectations, summoning mood, atmosphere and some emotive response to the environment photographed.

It is easy to see that Mustafa has a passion for his photography and his graphic design work carries the same vein. I am honoured to have his work included in this flourishing and inspirational portfolio and his series of shots submitted in this feature more than demonstrates his unique vision to record moments and places in a very beautiful and charming 53mm FOV way.

This is what Mustafa had to say about his photography and use off the 53mm FOV:

My name is Mustafa. I am a freelance illustrator and printmaker with a passion for photography, based in Montréal, Canada.
I started in photography in 1999 when I was in art school. My family had an old 35mm analog camera with a 50mm manual lens. It was such a pleasure to shoot film and learn the developing process in darkroom. Photography has been a passion ever since.
In 2005, I’ve got my first digital camera. From that day forward, I never stopped shooting. I capture the moment to take visual notes that I use for future inspirations. Everything can be the subject of my photography. I love capturing cinematic moments, landscapes, portraits or just simple street scenes.
The first time I met with a Fujifilm X system camera was two years ago. One of my close friends had just started to use a Fuji X-20. I really liked the vintage design and the image quality of this little machine. After a little research and reading interesting reviews on the internet, I decided to get a Fujifilm camera. I was never a zoom-lense type of guy, but honestly speaking buying a compact camera with a fixed prime lens scared me a bit. So instead of buying an X100T with a prime lens, I bought an XE-2 and a 27mm f2.8 lens. I loved this camera, and the lens with it. A few months later, Fuji announced the 35mm f/2 R WR lens. It was exciting news for me, and I got one immediately. From that moment, it became my favourite lens. It is fast, sharp and very versatile! Maybe because of an old habit I feel that I am much comfortable with 53mm focal length.
Since my first digital camera, I’ve used different brands of cameras. But using a Fujifilm camera  with a 35mm lens gives me the same pleasure as using my family’s old analog camera. It is really fun to use, inspiring and something about it just makes me want to go out and shoot.
Mustafa Hacalaki





53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

Benjamin Nwaneampeh is a freelance photographer from London in the UK.

Ben has shared some of the best street portraits posts I have seen on our _53mm_ Instagram feed. He has a great photographic gift of presenting to us the knowledgable yet intimate relationship he sparks with his subjects. Celebrating them, extolling them. One gets the impression that, like all great portrait photographers, much in the way of conversation and mutual respect is achieved way before his shutter button is depressed, subsequently releasing a relaxed atmosphere establishing the perfect conditions to capture the very best moment enveloping them both. 

His love for people is so evident in his fabulous Instagram catalogue, as is his pictorial manifestations of his dictum, 'Tell stories, make art' where each visual recording is eager to make the viewer aware of a unique narrative about each and every subject. Ben's extensive and adept skill in this genre of photography is infectious and one is easily roused by his passion and those sharing his love of this ilk would be well advised to train their eye and practise through an attentive and devoted scrutiny of his many inspirational shots.

Not only does Ben use the 53mm FOV well and have a great understanding of it to compose and frame his shots superbly, but the other visual elements that make his photographs so note-worthy are equally well represented and mastered too.

Colours are vibrant and so promotional of the palettes that adorn the streets of London in their many fashionable guises. 

Contrast celebrates the skin tones of the various ethnicities he likes to photograph, containing all of the visual nuances differentiating one from the other. This is particularly true of his monochrome images, where each bestows adequate textural information to intensify the look and feel of each shot.

Available light is used to it's fullest to carve the artistry Ben employs to galvanise the potent aesthetics in his photography. A beautiful mix of shadow and brightness exists in a manner that bares a signature to his work, making his instantly recognisable from all others.

My favourite shot of Ben's carries a stunning example of the final attributes I associate to his work, that of character and charm.

The essence of the XF35mm f/2 lens, that Ben uses with his flagship X-Pro2, helps to celebrate the attractiveness, the appeal and the spell cast by this environmental portrait. Compositionally, it is truely inspired and the application of the monochromatic palette, outstanding. It oozes style and grace and each and every element works for the magnetism that its character and charm affords it; from the beautifully, bokehed background canvas to the foreground, with the elegant twist of the subjects head and captivating features teasing into view from under that gorgeous hat.

But these qualities are true of all his photographs.

I couldn't be happier to introduce Ben as our 53mm Featured photographer this month and when asked to comment on his work with the 53mm FOV, this is what he said:

I'm a portrait, lifestyle and documentary photographer. I started photography with Nikon and then moved to Fujifilm because of size. I currently shoot with the XPro2 and the XT-1 with a good variety of Fuji lenses i.e. 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2 and the 56mm f/1.2.
This year, my photography has mainly been focused on people (portraits, lifestyle and fashion). I tend to shoot with natural/available light and I believe the Fujifilm cameras and lenses have been more than sufficient.
My 35mm f/2 is most of the time glued to my XPro2. The fact that the lens is small, quiet and focuses quickly enables me to be more creative with my shots. I love the 50mm focal length, the size makes it a no-brainer when I just want to carry one lens.
My other favourite focal length is 35mm. I've heard that the new 23mm f/2 is quite similar to the 35mm f/2 in terms of focus and size. I'll definitely have to try it out.
I tend to focus on two main things in my photography, telling stories and making art (#tellstoriesmakeart). This has become my photography tagline.




53mm Featured by Iain Palmer

@byannaelisabeth is A Photographer From stockholm, sweden.

53mm exists for photographers like Anna Elisabeth and in the same breath, it is photographers like Anna that make it what it is. Throughout the journey that she has shared with the 53mm Instagram feed, Anna has introduced us to the start of her relationship with the 53mm FOV and thereafter her continued journey of documenting the explorations, considerations, experiments and triumphs that her and her camera have made. It's been an absolute pleasure being able to partake in her photographic voyage of discovery, to subtly coin the phrase.

What has impressed me most with Anna and her 53mm photography is her understanding and employment of the XF35mm f/1.4 lens. She has such a superb comprehension of its character and feature set and when to fully utilise them to produce the magic that the lens affords. To me, her photography has a signature to it, that in such a short span of time, is a great achievement. When Anna uses the beautiful f/1.4 aperture in the unique way that she does, it is so noticeable and distinctive that one cannot help but immediately put the name to the shot. This goes as far to say that the compositions, vantage points and environments Anna takes are all envisaged with the 53mm FOV in mind. It takes a trained eye to be able to do this and as the great Zack Arias suggests, that when purchasing a new lens, it should be a photographers staple diet for at least 6 months to a year so that ones sight can be educated to see exactly how that lens sees. Anna is a model student in this regard as her work is always is of high aesthetic quality, wonderfully demonstrating this well versed dietary regime.

Anna's photography crosses over many different photographic genres and styles, truly probing the versatility that the XF35mm lenses have to offer. These five photographs, however, speak more to me of her signature approach to using the XF35mm f/1.4 and thus heralding her stamp on the 53mm FOV. 

Those that use the XF35mm f/1.4 will most certainly agree that why have a lens like this and not use it for the main, wide open. It has unbelievable scope and ability to render images with such striking detail, with that magic that only this XF lens inhibits, all the while producing that remarkable bokeh that is so 'buttery-creamy-dreamy' that one cannot help but fall in love with it. Anna's examples validate all of the above. What they also celebrate is the superb close focusing ability of the XF35mm f/1.4 lens too. So if there was ever to be a text book photo for this lens, then I think one if not all of these would stand a good chance at holding such an accolade.

It goes without saying that I was so grateful that Anna agreed to be a 53mm Featured photographer. I very much look forward to seeing what Anna will produce next as well as seeing where her camera and preferred lens will take her or more specifically, what they will see next. Judging by all of the shots that she has so very kindly contributed, 53mm is in store for some real treats and I can't wait to indulge in more of her 53mm delights.

This is what Anna had to say when I asked her to comment on her thoughts and explorations with the XF35mm lenses:

My name is Anna and I am currently living in Stockholm after almost 20 years spent in various locations across Europe. Ever since I got my first analogue compact camera at the age of 11, I have enjoyed capturing moments and sceneries. The analogue compact became a digital compact, then followed several smartphones and in April this year I finally decided to buy myself a "real" camera...
It was early summer when I finally found a second hand 35mm f1.4, and ever since, this has been my preferred lens. Together with my X-E2s it fits perfectly into my handbag. The Fujifilm design that give me all the important settings at my fingertips, in combination with the 53mm ekvivalent FOV, which matches the way I see the world, allows me to immediately shoot things that capture my attention, and translate my emotions into an image, regardless whether it is street scenes, amazing landscapes or even catching the aurora borealis.
Being very new in the field of photography, I am learning every day, and I love exploring different fields. I am especially looking forward to revisiting places I have called my home and come to love with my 35mm f1.4, as it will perfectly support me in expressing my feelings for these varied and poignant locations.