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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! 

Iain Palmer

Abundant Magazine