By Ian MacDonald
My name is Ian MacDonald. I am an Official Fujifilm X-Photographer based out of Vancouver, BC, Canada. My work centres around candid and documentary photography, with a focus on street photography, travel photography and the occasional wedding. I have also been an educator for over twenty years, currently offering group street photography workshops, private one on one photography workshops and photography education online with students from all over the world. Collaboration with others and building relationships within the photography community are central themes for me as I love the social aspect of photography as much as I love the artistic side of it. It is all good.
I am on the road a lot for my travel photography and my workshops. While I have been fortunate to see and photography some amazing places there is no doubt in my mind that San Francisco is my favourite city. It has a soul, a vibe, a culture that speaks to me as an artist and pulls me back often. When I travel to San Francisco it is always by myself, purely to satisfy my own inner need to create new photographs in this city that I love so much.
For my most recent trip in the fall of 2016 I knew that I was going to focus on street photography work in and around San Francisco’s Chinatown. With this in mind I packed incredibly light, taking the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the 35mm f/2 lens. I also brought the 16mm f/1.4 lens for a few cityscapes I planned on shooting, but it remained in the hotel room for 90% of the trip.
The X-Pro2 and the 35mm f/2 lens feel like they were made for each other. When you hold them in your hand they just feel right. I was expecting a bit of rain on this trip, so the fact that both are weather resistant was also a reassuring bonus. With this combo on a sling around my body, and a few extra batteries and cards tucked into a pocket, I was good to go for a week’s worth of shooting. Traveling light always feels great.
The light and shadow interplay in San Francisco can be beautiful and San Francisco’s Chinatown is always very colourful. With this in mind I knew I was going to shoot all of the images on this trip in colour. For a consistent theme I chose to use the Classic Chrome film simulation, set with a slight boost of contrast to darken the shadows and pop the highlights.
I hope you enjoy this series featuring the wonderful people who spend time in San Francisco’s Chinatown as much as I enjoyed photographing them. I also encourage all of you to spend time with just one camera and one lens. It truly does make you a better photographer.