Patrick LaRoque

X-Pert 53 Interview

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Fujifilm X-Photographer Patrick laRoque Is A Photographer with a very strong passion for visual stories and narratives.  He Is Also A Member Of The international Photographers Group, The Kage Collective (Pronounced Ka-Gay). He Is Based on the outskirts of montreal, canada.

Patrick LaRoque has gotten lost in Venice and has been caught stumbling through Tokyo streets in pouring rain but he would go anywhere for an assignment. Patrick is a highly accomplished photographer and he is a Fuji-X Global Ambassador for good reason. He has a formidable eye for shots be that in portraiture, in design, in colour or in black and white. His skills also see him being an accomplished story teller and not only am I proud to have him share his X-pert 53 answers, but he is also going to be the 12x53 Judge for the Story Telling Round of the 53mm Photo of the Month Competition. From these photographs alone, one could learn a great deal and if he is one of Vincent Baldensperger's favourite XF35mm lens photographers, then he should be one yours too. A fantastic honour to have him support 53mm and a true gent to converse with too.

Here is Patrick's X-pert 53.

1. What Genre Of Photography Do You Specialise In?

This question should be simple enough to answer but it's actually not that obvious. I guess I'm a commercial photographer, in the sense that I mostly work for companies in various industries: advertising, arts, fashion, design and architecture. But the documentary aspect of my personal work mixes into most projects I'm asked to do these days—there's a very personal angle through all of it. Even writing has become part of it. So I don't specialize in a specific genre as much as a way of seeing? Boy...that sounds terribly conceited but it's pretty much my reality right now. It's why the phone rings, anyway.
Officially I'm a commercial and documentary photographer. The specifics are always in flux.

2. Why Do You Like Using The XF35mm Lenses?

The classic XF 35mm f/1.4 R was the first lens I bought when I made the switch from Nikon to the X series—with the X-Pro1, early on. Obviously it blew me away and still does. It's the lens that made it very clear how serious Fujifilm were with their new system, how far they would be pushing in terms of optical quality. And it had that certain "magical" appeal we all understand but have such a hard time defining.
Now we also have the f/2 version, which in my opinion is just as spectacular.
Obviously we're talking about an equivalent 50mm: the famed normal lens, closest to human eyesight in terms of field of view, proportions...common knowledge. But the fact is, beyond the IQ and whatever magical dust these lenses are sprinkled with, there's an inherent truth to any subject we shoot at that focal length. It has that very distinct characteristic. I'm also a huge fan of the 23mm (35mm) FOV and the added airiness it provides given the same scene; all while still remaining "real". But a 50 is a 50—you know...classic and "nifty".

3. What Do You Like Photographing The Best With Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses? 

Well, the great thing about these lenses is how close they can focus, making them a great choice for a variety of subjects. I love using them for details when shooting design work, but obviously also portrait or documentary photography. I was in Japan last winter with nothing but the X-Pro2 and XF 35mm f/2 as my one and only kit. It was a perfect travel combo. Withstood some pretty intense rain one night too, I can tell you that. We usually feel we need wider angles when traveling and that's certainly warranted...but shooting street in Tokyo with the 35mm forced me to look closer and work harder. A much more intimate take.

4. Do You Shoot Professionally With The XF35mm Lenses?

Of course I do: the X-series is the system I work with, period. Both personally and professionally. I shoot with all the XF primes and some of the zooms as well. I even use the X100T as a 35mm equivalent. Both 35mm lenses are essential as far as I'm concerned.

5. Fuji XF35mm F/1.4 Or Fuji XF35 F/2?

Oh you're going to hate me Iain: both.
I know that's cheating but I can't give up the f/1.4—too much history for one, but also that aperture and all it offers. Then again I wouldn't give up the size, speed and feel of the f/2. So there. Fortunately, I don't actually need to choose ;)

6. How Often Do You Reach For Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses?

The f/2 was glued to the pre-production X-Pro2; it's still glued to my final camera. So VERY often would be the answer. I have to admit the X100T has been feeling lonely for months now as a vast majority of what I've shot this past year on my own time or during workshops—family, street etc—has been with that combo.

7. Could You Live With Just An XF35mm Lens In Your Photography Bag?

Not professionally, no. Simply because I need to be able to shoot a variety of looks in a variety of conditions. Now if all of my work was purely documentary? That would be a whole other ball game. Didn't Cartier-Bresson shoot a 50mm for most of his career? Who am I to question that. And he did so for very precise reasons, all of which have to do with that reality factor I mentioned before. On a personal level I have no problem working with a single lens, technically or philosophically. I could live with just a 35mm or just a 23mm...either one. They're both a natural fit for me.
When I'm not working that's what I shoot with 98% of the time.

8. Do You Like To Use Available Light Or Studio Light With Your XF35mm Lens/Lenses?

I think it was Joe McNally who once said: available light is whatever light is avaiIable—meaning speedlights et al included ;)
I use whatever is needed to get the shot in the conditions I'm presented with. Both lenses offer fast glass so natural light is usually possible under normal conditions. But they look fantastic regardless. I did several product shoots with the f/1.4 the first year I switched to the X-series; no complaints from anyone. I enjoy both approaches to be honest: flash AND natural light photography.

9. What Fuji-X Camera Body Do You Prefer To Use The XF35mm Lenses On?

Again, I'd have to say the X-Pro2. As I said, this was my kit abroad last winter and it's been my goto combo since the prototype days back in early November 2015 (I received the f/2 and pre-production camera at the same time). There's the weather resistance of course but just the feel of these two together...they complete each other perfectly. A small, tight little unit; silent and discreet.

10.Do You Have Any Favourite Photographs Using The XF35mm Lenses?

Tons...here you go.

11.Finish This Line: The Fuji XF35mm Lenses Are…

... extensions of my eye and my soul...refined.

Iain Palmer

Abundant Magazine