I attended the launch of the 2019 Loud and Luminous Exhibition by the Loud and Luminous collective of Australian women and non-binary photographers at Contact Sheet, “an education and mentorship space, a gallery and a co-working space” in the Sydney north shore suburb of St Leonards, located in a complex of creative spaces supported by TWT Developments, Building Hope Foundation and Brand X.
This is the first time I have encountered these organizations and there may well be some intriguing stories and documentary subjects to be found within them.
“Ever wondered what life would be like on your own private island? Or dreamt of whiling away your days as a travel blogger?
Fuji Island is the ultimate luxury escape for photography lovers….
… Created by FUJIFILM, the island comes with the latest camera equipment – including FUJIFILM’s brand new X-T3 mirrorless camera, world-famous lenses and a range of other photography goodies. You even have your own personal photographer on call….”
Fuji Island picture gallery, images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia
This sounds like an interesting concept, and I am looking forward to seeing participants’ photographs made on Fuji Island at a Fujifilm event that was apparently held there last week, the week of 3rd September 2018.
Although the Fuji Island web page states “Experience Fuji Island for USD $2,200 per night for up to two people (minimum two night stay)”, it appears that the island resort is capable of accomodating at least sixty-three people as that was the number of guests invited to the event.
Fuji Island seems to be a time-limited phenomenon rather than a permanent one:
Fuji Island is available for private hire and overnight luxury stays until 7th December 2018.
If you wish to take up Fujifilm’s special offer then make your booking fast, before southern hemisphere vacationers book up all available places!
Meanwhile we have received further information about another Fujifilm Australia event associated with Fuji Island.
Fujifilm Australia held “the XT-3 launch event on the mainland of Fiji where guests were staying (The Marriott in Momi Bay). The following day, we took everybody out by boat to Fuji Island. The launch event was held on the 6th September, and Fuji Island on the 7th.”
“There were 60 people in total attending the event. It was a mix of Fujifilm retailers, partners, staff and media.”
“We don’t have control over when media will publish articles, but we have already started receiving coverage.”
Further on Fuji Island, “Fuji Island is supposed to be an island paradise people can book. On the private island, there will be a host of FUJIFILM equipment, including an X-T3 that people can try out and take amazing holiday photos with.”
I was checking some references for my latest article on colour photography great Joel Meyerowitz when I came across the image featured in this article’s header above. Yes it is true, Joel Meyerowitz is teaching an online course on photography for Masters of Photography and I am sure it will be worth every single cent of its US$170 course fee.
Walk with Joel in all his 34 lessons as he takes you on this truly inspirational photographic journey and shows you how to stay alive to the meanings and possibilities of the world in front of you. With Joel as your guide, you will learn how to find your creative voice and identity and apply it to your own photographic subjects. Join in and share your course photographs with Joel’s student community and get them critiqued. You will also get your own course certificate from Joel too.
For over 55 years, universally acclaimed, award-winning photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, has been one of the world’s greatest image-makers. Although Meyerowitz is a street photographer in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank, he transformed the medium with his pioneering use of color. As an early advocate, he became instrumental in changing the attitude toward color photography from one of resistance to nearly universal acceptance. Meyerowitz’s work has appeared in over 350 exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world, and he has published more than 25 photography books. He was the only photographer to gain unrestricted access to Ground Zero after 9/11, which produced a body of work that led Meyerowitz to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale for Architecture in 2002.
Meyerowitz is a Guggenheim fellow, a recipient of both the NEA and NEH awards, an inductee to the Leica Hall of Fame, an Honorary Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society and a recipient of their prestigious Centenary Medal. He has taught at Princeton University in New Jersey and at The Cooper Union in New York.
It is also pleasing to see that Albert Watson is teaching one of two coming courses, with the third being taught by Steve McCurry. I hope some great female photographers will present future courses on the principle of “if she can see it, she can be it”.
“The new LUMIX GX9 is the one letting fashion portrait photographer Viviana Galletta explore LA’s stylish sidewalks on her terms. Combining incredible image quality with an impressively compact design, its tiltable viewfinder frees her up to capture her unique perspective on the city. A 20.3-megapixel sensor + no low pass filter with Dual Image Stabilisation guarantee head-turning image quality, while creative in-camera effects let her add an artistic flourish to her photography.”
Panasonic has released its very first photographer video for the Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 featuring German fashion photographer and model Viviana Galletta, perhaps signalling the camera’s intended user base or at least two of them, fashion photographers working on location and women.
Ms Galletta is a former user of the Lumix GX80, known in the USA as the DMC-GX85 and in Japan as the Lumix GX7 Mark II, as she attests in an interview by the German Lumix G Experience website.
Will there be further such videos in the series and what genres of photography will they feature?
Will they, too, be created by West London creative agency Brave, notable for its female creative director, Caroline Paris, in an industry still employing far too few female creatives altogether and even fewer in senior agency roles?
This is the first time that, to my knowledge, Panasonic’s Lumix brand has commissioned an advertising agency to produce its YouTube videos and the move has its merits.
I have worked at and for top British creative hotshop advertising agencies, incidentally while living just down the road from Brave, and have some insights into how the agency/client relationship can work at its very best.
Great agencies can help a brand understand itself and its products by acting as, as the great Australian copywriter John Bevins puts it, brand custodians that know the brand better than its owners.
That is crucial for giant global corporations like Panasonic with their many product divisions, product types, constantly churning management infrastructures and management staff, and a tendency to forget those divisions’ achievements, history and missions.
Panasonic’s product pages appear to be orienting the enthusiast-level GX9 towards street photographers as opposed to the documentary and photojournalists and other professionals at whom was aimed the flagship-level GX8, and this fissure between the GX8 and its supposed successor in the GX9 has created confusion, dismay and disappointment in the ranks of the GX-series’ professional user base.
Brave may be able to help Panasonic better understand the GX-series and the havoc it has wreaked by replacing an advanced flagship camera with a lower-order camera, and how to better target another user base given the GX9’s more limited feature and applications set.
Brave could also have a hand in better evening up the extreme lack of gender balance in the marketing of photography and video production hardware.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, ancestor of the GX9 aka the Lumix DMC-GX7 Mark III
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom lens
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7 with Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS zoom lens
The Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 aka Lumix GX7 Mark III hearkens back to the first Lumix GX7 camera, though minus its rather decent built-in grip.
What does the GX8 flagship camera have that the GX9 enthusiast camera does not?
Extensive sealing at each joint, dial, and button to render it both splash- and dust-proof.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s body is substantial enough to handle large lenses like the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4.0-6.3 Aspheric Power OIS.
Likewise larger lenses like the Panasonic Lumix G 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Power OIS that may dwarf smaller, lighter camera bodies.
The Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 12mm f/1.4 Aspheric prime lens is well-balanced on the GX8.
The GX8 has a good built-in grip and no need for optional hand grips to be attached in order to securely grip and balance big, heavy lenses.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s fully articulated monitor beats any tilting or fixed LCD monitor screen especially in combination with its tilting EVF.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with fully-articulated monitor flipped out, often used relied on by vloggers.
The fully-articulated monitor that the GX8 has and that the GX9 does not have is far superior to monitors that tilt up or down. I use my GX8 like this for portraiture in portrait format with camera handheld or tripod-mounted.
The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8’s large OLED live viewfinder features a unique tilting design to benefit working from low angles and also has an impressive 2.36m-dot resolution, 0.77x magnification, and 10,000:1 contrast ratio.
The GX8 comes with a good built-in rubber eyecup and an even better optional eyecup great for when shooting video is available. This optional replacement sits on my GX8 24/7.
Magnesium alloy body with die-cast front and rear frames.
The sadly discontinued Really Right Stuff BGX8 L-Plate for the still-currently-in-production Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 for use when shooting in landscape or portrait orientation.
L-plates like this one by Really Right Stuff are invaluable when quickly switching from horizontal to vertical orientation during environmental portrait photography sessions.
Really Right Stuff bizarrely discontinued this L-plate before I had a chance to buy it, so if any readers have one for sale please let me know.
The discontinued Really Right Stuff BGX8 L-Plate for the still-in-production Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8.
Camera cages for the GX8 are available due to it being taken seriously as a movie production camera.
Enough said. The Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9 is anything but a replacement for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8.
A great 4-lens kit of little, lightweight Lumix lenses
Recently I have been digging into online information about Panasonic’s Lumix G lenses in an effort to understand their benefits and differences from the Panasonic Leica DG and Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses that are often perceived as being sexier and more professional.
While I default to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses for professional stills and video due to their weather sealing, high-quality optics and constriction and especially their repeatable manual clutch focus, Panasonic’s Lumix G lenses are worth a serious look given their adherence to the Micro Four Thirds format’s founding philosophy of high quality combined with affordability, small size and light weight.
I am considering adding three of the four lenses illustrated above to my first purchase, the excellent collapsible Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS lens, and I will probably purchase them secondhand as I did the 12-32mm given much of my lens budget needs to go into M.Zuiko Pro lenses for professional documentary projects.
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS – only available on the secondhand market or when bundled with a Lumix camera.
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f/4-5.6 Aspheric Mega OIS – B&H – a fraction of the price of Panasonic’s Lumix G X 35-100mm fixed maximum aperture alternative.
Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f/1.7 II Aspheric – B&H – the “perfect normal” focal length I much prefer to the more usual 25mm “standard” lens that I find a little too narrow.
Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Aspheric Power OIS – B&H – reportedly excellent fast portrait-length short telephoto lens for portraiture, documentary photography and photojournalism.
The only downside to all these five small, affordable, lightweight lenses is that you will need to attach one or two step-up rings if you wish to use your 77mm or 82mm diameter fixed or variable neutral density (ND) filters for video production.
Their filter diameters range from 37mm through to 46mm, and top-quality step-up rings, protection filters, UV filters and ND filters can be limited in those sizes.
The 12-32mm zoom does not have a focussing ring for focus-by-wire; the 20mm pancake prime may be too short to fit your fingers behind step-up rings and ND filters for manual focussing and the 12-32mm and 35-100mm are collapsible lenses whose mechanism may not safely support step-up rings and NDs.
Otherwise, these look like a terrific matched set of lenses for stills photography and video when you need to carry your gear in small bags like those made by Cosyspeed.
All these lens purchases are predicated on Panasonic continuing to make professional-quality rangefinder-style cameras like the GX8 and that, sadly, currently remains under question.
Feature film and documentary DoP Nancy Schreiber is the very first female cinematographer to receive the ASC’s Presidents Award and it might, just might, inspire young women to take up cinematography with an eye on working in feature films. I certainly hope so.
The only other female movie professional and ASC member to win an ASC award, DoP Tami Reiker, won 2004’s Movie of the Week or Pilot for lensing the first season of Carnivalé released by HBO.
Before the World Wide Web came into being freeing up the sharing of information, gatekeepers controlled access to facts about career possibilities, especially for women.
Growing up in a far-flung regional capital meant submitting to what one was told one was permitted to do artistically and professionally, and those who kicked against the pricks were severely censured, even blacklisted.
There were no female cinematographers or directors to be seen, no role models and certainly no mentors. Potentially brilliant careers were curbed and subjected to the interests of the gatekeepers’ hold on power.
Only those of the right gender and background were permitted to know about further professional moviemaking education then given the chance of applying for it, often with a well-mentored career to follow.
Without positive examples of successful female filmmakers and especially cinematographers, I and other visual storytelling creatives of my acquaintance flushed their hopes and dreams of moviemaking careers for more mundane occupations supporting men in the traditional manner or employment in production support if they were lucky.
Most just stopped being creative, dreams shattered completely.
The Presidents Award, writes Variety‘s Valentina I. Valentini, “honors a member’s contribution to the next generation of DPs. Schreiber has been a longtime mentor to younger camera crew members, and has worked with Film Independent’s Project Involve — a program designed to enhance the careers of women and people of color.”
We all know the dismal statistics about the lack of filmmakers of color in the industry. Women and LGBT artists also nearly impossible to find. Project Involve is working to change all that….
Ms Schreiber, Variety‘s articlecontinues, “has taught advanced cinematography at the American Film Institute, and is a guest lecturer at film schools around the world.”
If only someone like Nancy Schreiber had existed when I was young, and had reached out to potential young filmmakers outside the film school system in the east.
Variety‘s article ends with this inspirational quote:
“If this award does anything,” says Schreiber, “it will open some doors to the younger generation of women, to show that they can succeed, that they can work in all areas of the film and television industry.”
Fujifilm announced the development of its new digital medium format GFX system back in September 2016 with the promise that the “Fujifilm GFX 50S will give professional photographers the most extraordinary image quality in the history of Fujifilm”.
Time is rushing by and the first quarter of 2017 will soon commence, during when we can expect the release of the Fujifilm GFX 50S camera with 43.8 x 32.9mm 51.4 megapixel non-X-Trans sensor and three lenses initially with three more to came later in the year.
The first three GF lenses are:
GF63mmF2.8 R WR – standard prime lens equivalent to 50mm in the 35mm format.
GF32-64mmF4 R LM WR – wide-to-standard zoom lens equivalent to 25 to 51mm in 35mm format.
GF120mmF4 Macro R LM OIS WR – stabilized mid-telephoto macro prime lens equivalent to 95mm in 35mm format.
The next three GF lenses will be:
GF23mmF4 R LM WR – ultra-wide prime lens equivalent to 18mm in 35mm format.
GF45mmF2.8 R WR – wide-angle prime lens equivalent to 35mm in 35mm format.
GF110mmF2 R LM WR – wide aperture mid-telephoto prime lens equivalent to 87mm in 35mm format.
Ivan Joshua Loh
Jonas Dyhr Rask
Piet Van den Eynde
FUJIFILMglobal –Development of Professional-use Mirrorless Camera System “GFX” / FUJIFILM
Fujifilm’s History of Photographic Achievement
Fujifilm has a long history of achievements and innovations in the photographic sphere and especially in medium and large format photography.
Richard Avedon was a devotee of Fujifilm’s large format lenses for his 8″x10″ sheet film cameras and Greg Gorman relied on the Fujifilm GX 680 series as his main studio portrait cameras for some years.
I once spotted the great German-Australian photographer Helmut Newton toting a Fujica GS645 Professional on his way to a magazine portrait assignment and fell in love with that camera for the purpose, an unrequited love affair alas, as it was with other Fujica cameras due to them being hard to get outside of Japan.
I hope that the big photography and video production trade shows will be coming back to the new International Convention Centre Sydney in Darling Harbour soon – it has been far too long without them.
Camera and Lens Choices
As a magazine editorial portrait photographer, I relied on medium and large format cameras for the way they caused my subjects to quickly settle down and and start projecting to the reader via the camera and lens. That was very different to how they related to 35mm rangefinder cameras and different again to 35mm SLR cameras the few times I used them on assignment.
Just before stepping out of professional photography for a time due to extreme photochemical allergies, I had planned on rationalizing my gear with Fujica 6×4.5cm 120 roll film cameras and the GX680. A GX680 III might have been a good choice with which to enter the digital age as Fuji later introduced a digital back, the DBP for GX680, though that was reportedly only available in Japan.
The GX680 series was celebrated for its big range of top notch lenses, 17 in all with one of them a zoom lens, as well as an even larger range of accessories. Lucky owners reported that their experience of the GX680 was a little like using a small view camera, a little like using a 120 format SLR and a little like using a motor drive SLR.
From what little I have seen of using the GFX 50S, its user experience seems like something of a hybrid too, given its fealty to Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras and lenses and even, perhaps, aspects of the FinePix S5 Pro and its S-Series predecessors. We will learn more soon and I am hoping Fujifilm Australia will host a GFX 50S launch event similar to its X-T2 event earlier this year to enable some hands-on experience.
Back to my editorial portraiture experience. I would often be lucky to get not much more than fifteen minutes to meet, greet, assess, set up, light, shoot then pack up for a typical portrait session. That was a product of expectations created by other magazine and newspaper photographers’ typical modus operandi, and client requirements of three to five such assignments per day.
The challenge was to come up with enduring, insightful portraits of two basic types, a landscape aka horizontal format environmental portrait and an intense vertical format full-face portrait. If time allowed I would grab more candid shots with my Leicas. My clients rarely needed more than those two types of portraits, though, one for the article intro and often full-page and the other in the body of the article. I like some focal lengths for 1:1, prefer others for 4:3 and 3:2, and others again for 16:9.
I used a medium wide angle lens for the environmental portrait, lens stopped down for detail and camera mounted on a tripod. A medium long telephoto macro lens was perfect for the emotionally-engaging full-face portrait. I usually carried a three-light flash kit but substituted it with a single continuous light when needing to shoot in 35mm only.
Looking at Fujifilm’s 2017 GF-Series lens list, of the three to be released in the first part of the year I would choose the GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR and the GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR.
The 120mm’s OIS is a real bonus for handholding close and framing tight under continuous light. The 32-64mm’s wide to standard focal range provides framing choices in tight interiors. I would stop both lenses down to f/5.6 as a matter of course, and more again with the wide end of the zoom lens for even more environmental detail if needed.
Out of the three lenses to be released mid to late 2017, the faster lenses look interesting. But, so much hinges on how the camera handles, what configuration works best for what sorts of subject matter and which genres, whether it will be handheld or tripod-mounted, and whether it will be used in available light, continuous artificial light or flash and even what aspect ratio one is shooting for.
Time will tell. Meanwhile I have fingers crossed that one of the rental studios around here may consider adding a full Fujifilm GFX 50S camera and lens kit to their equipment hire inventory.
Raw Processing and Image Editing
Right now it is impossible to predict if and when software companies making raw processors and raw-savvy image editing software will begin supporting the Fujifilm GFX 50S.
But one thing is almost guaranteed, Fujifilm will be supplying an updated version of its Raw File Convertor aka RFC software “powered by SilkyPix” as soon as the GFX 50S is released and it will be available to download and use for free.
RFC is a special edition version of a product by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory Co. Ltd, made in two regular versions, SilkyPix Developer Studio 7 and Developer Studio Pro 7. Having used neither of these the precise differences between RFC, Studio 7 and Studio Pro 7 are unclear to me but RFC is enough for my purposes given I use other raw processors and image editors as well.
Complaining about RFC is almost a cliché in the online world, and while it is true that its user interface is unlike most others’, it is reliable and powerful.
Due to Fujifilm’s special relationship with Ichikawa Soft Laboratory, RFC will always be updated to handle each new Fujifilm camera’s raw files and it will always have Fujifilm’s proprietary raw demosaicing algorithms built in.
So far the ‘GFX Challenges’ series numbers sixteen videos and I hope that more are to come, especially some featuring female photographers.
Female professional photographers are just as likely to use medium format digital camera systems as non-female pro photographers, as I can personally attest having been a professional magazine photographer as well as photography client commissioning many of the finest female and non-female photographers in the world to shoot for advertising campaigns and magazines.
Non-Australian female photographers visibly working at the top end of photography had a major effect on my decision to take up professional photography in an era when women were almost completely unknown as pro photographers here.
It was one of those then incredibly rare Australian female professionals who recruited me as a teenager into working for a wedding and portrait studio, using big, heavy, clunky analog medium format cameras and big flash units, and it was another Australian female photographer who showed me that the same subject matter could be brilliantly tackled in a different way with 35mm analog rangefinder cameras.
I owe both those Australians a debt I can never repay, and I owe the same to the great female photographers around the world who inspired me, with whom I have worked, commissioned, produced or about whom I have written.
I hope that, some day very soon, all camera and photography hardware and software companies will recognize the crucial contribution female photographers have made and continue to make to the art and craft of photography by adding equal numbers of women to their professional and ambassadorial ranks.
I cannot help but note that Fujifilm, for example, currently includes only one female photographer in its 18-strong Australian X-Photographers line-up. Surely there is more than one qualified Australian woman using Fujifilm cameras?
As of January 26, 2017, Fujifilm has released 30 GFX Challenges videos via its FUJIFILMGlobal YouTube channel, 28 of which feature male photographers and 2 of which feature female photographers.
Billy Luong, manager for Fujifilm’s Technical Marketing and Product Specialist Group, shared that: “With the GFX we had something like 50 photographers around the world using pre-production cameras.”
Does this mean that there may be more than 2 female photographers in that group?