An Artist’s Journal: Sweet Sorrow

Sweet Sorrow 2

There isn’t a moment at which I don’t consider photography art. Within that very broad remit, anything goes as far as I’m concerned.

Last Saturday, which happened to be Valentine’s Day, I took myself off to London to watch a West End show I’d been coveting since last November. I’d decided that as it was a relatively nice day, that I would take my Fujifilm X100S camera along for the ride and shoot some street back on my home turf. Often when I go out shooting, I will set out with an objective, for example to shoot under certain conditions, like low light levels, or shoot only in black and white. That day I decided that I would shoot predominantly in 1×1 format in black and white, and if I shot in colour I would shoot using a Vivid filter. There is a handy feature on the X100S in that you can pre-program up to three settings. The first being what I call my Vivian Maier setting: 1X1 format, black and white with red filter, the second my Bill Jones setting: format optional, but set to Vivid, the third being my Maria-Standard setting: 16:9, on Standard Filter, which gives the cinematic quality I like.

I arrived at Embankment station two hours after I’d set off from my south-coast home already having taken a few shots while waiting for the tube from Victoria Station, and during the ride itself. I realised that my shots weren’t too sharp, for some reason I was feeling a bit jumpy, too much adrenaline I thought. Shooting candid street can be a little disconcerting, only because I tend to feel quite self-conscious, but only when I’m on my own. When I am with others, like Bill or my children, I can be quite brazen. It’s odd, I know. The young woman in the shot above caught my eye, there was an aura of timidity about her despite her very unique and striking appearance. I was lucky to catch her in profile as she rode the tube on the adjacent carriage.

Teary Blue

It wasn’t until I had uploaded my shots much later on when I had returned home, that I noticed the tattoo of a lone tear just beneath her eye. It seemed very poignant given the day I’d had.

As I wandered along The Strand stopping to take quick-fire shots, I noticed that my shots weren’t too sharp. I thought I was just off my game a little due to my excitable state, also it had begun to rain so I quickly put the camera away and made my way to the theatre where I was to spend the rest of the afternoon watching the show I’d come to see.

Click on the images below to view the gallery. This is just a selection of shots from that day’s shoot. You can see that some if not most lack crispness, the X100S is reputed to be the sharpest street camera on the market, next to the X100T and the famed Leica. I realised that my camera was dying, and that I would have to send it in for repair once again, the third time in just over a year since I got it. This is not a slur on the Fuji camera, not at all. The Fujis are fantastic cameras, no, I am just unlucky to have a faulty piece of equipment, the bad pick of the crop. Hopefully this time they will send me a brand new replacement.

As if to add insult to injury, just a few days later my trusty little Canon point n’shoot decided that it would retire too. So, I am currently cameraless, except for my iPhone and iPod cameras, which aren’t too shabby, but at around 5mp they just aren’t as impressive as either my Canon or my Fuji at 12 and 16mp respectively. I know all is not lost though. To add a sparkle to my troubled Valentine’s Day, my very own Valentine soothed my heart with the promise of a new camera. I can’t wait to try it out!


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