Process And Dresses And Fuji X

Weeks ago I hinted at dumping another project into the mess here. A project I started two years ago? Can't remember exactly but I did a bit on it and didn't really know where I wanted to go with it. Considering I've done extensive work on it after resurrecting it a couple of months ago. It's about time I actually started documenting it here — that's what this random blog is for, a substitute for the paper notebook I used to carry around when I made pictures with film. Speaking of film, one of the reasons I love my Fuji X gear so very much is how it facilitates the process I'm going to describe in the same way my small manual 35mm film cameras did.

Generally my process (if that's what one would call it) for personal projects is a whole lot of chit-chat interspersed with making a few pictures here and there. That deserves a bit of clarification. It doesn't mean there's some setup somewhere with all my picture taking stuff ready to go where chit-chat and picture making are two distinct activities. Not even close. With rare exception I have my camera with me at all times and make a few frames here and there consistently.

I guess through years of working this way I sort of do it subconsciously. At this point I don't have a clue as to if that started with clear intent or was some happy accident that I repeated and then repeated again until it became more or less my modus operandi. I try as much as one can to blend the entire thing into one seamless whole where's there's not a giant line between make picture time and everything else.

The Fuji X system, especially with the smaller lenses helps facilitate my quirky way of doing things in ways I've not experienced with My Nikons or any other system that was just too too big and loud. In many ways those were bigger and more intrusive than my film Hasselblad cameras.

To varying degrees my wonky way of blending the making of pictures into the everything else also has another effect. For my purposes and what I want it counteracts the hold-still thing that happens consciously and subconsciously in most subjects. Sure there are other things that contribute to that like distinct action and activity but it all counts. Check out the image above if you don't quite get the dynamics I am after. The only relevant spec would be 1/250th second shutter speed. Now check out the motion blur.

That brings us to this particular resurrected project. Melanie and I spent all day one Saturday in preparation for where I want to go with this particular project. A shit ton of fiddling with small screws and bolts brought us to around lunchtime. I'm not great with small parts. The rest of the day was figuring out what dress might work out and about on the town making pictures I have in mind.

All of these pictures are dresses that fell into the "NO" pile. First one was great conceptually but way way too tight on the top. This second one was kinda cool but seems to have been made for people four feet tall — way too short, more like a shirt.

All of these were made in the same area where we had a pile of stuff to try on just to see what it looked like. The first two were at 18mm and 23mm. The rest at 35mm which is how it sorta-kinda looks like white seamless in your typical studio-ish setup. In reality this was the area we occupied…

M. steaming the wrinkles out of the next dress which happened to get chucked into the "yes" pile. What does all this matter? Maybe it doesn't to 90% of other photographers but it does to me in terms of getting to what I want to see and explore. If there's one thing that's got to be common ground for just about any photography endeavor it's the desire to explore the world. Exolore not in the sense of physically traveling to lands unknown, although sometimes that's the case, more in the sense of discovery and observation no matter what particular thing that means to one photographer or another.

For most of what I am interested in exploring, the Fuji X System facilitates a major part of the way I like to work as well as a process that gets me to the results I am after like no other digital system so far. In many ways it's what I was missing from my 35mm film cameras. My OM's, My FM's, My M6's. In other ways I still love negative film for a bunch of reasons but this particular thing, not so much anymore.

What dress from that day ended up in the "yes pile". Well this one did but we have a couple more we want to look at too.

The above was made at 18mm in the same space as the rest of the bunch. Footwear Mel's idea, everyone likes those boots. Prolly the tallness factor. In any case they had a strange vibe with the 50's-ness of that dress so we did a quick dry run out around the neighborhood. More on that another day. This is already way too long but that's where I'm going with this particular off-shoot project. Road-trips and out and about in the city with varying public backdrops and juxtapositions.

End Notes

All photographs made with the Fuji XT-1 and 18-55 XF. Processing via Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM07 TRI-X320 applied on import.