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1 + 1 = 4: A Lesson in Team Work


Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on the blog of photographer James Douglas. It and the images in the post are being syndicated with permission.

Clearly the title of this blog post is false, but the meaning behind the equation could not be more true.  The term 1+1=4 is often said around the studio and most commonly refers to our desire to collaborate with other artists. Huge benefits come with working in such a fashion.  The notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts is not new by any means, but I will argue that it is an incredibly rare and even potentially controversial notion in today’s creative society.  The idea that anyone can build something that will last on its own, (and I mean last longer than it takes you to skim through the rest of this blog post), is naive, juvenile, and quite honestly, stupid. Working together is one of humanity’s strongest selling points, yet far too often we in the creative industry think of ourselves as renaissance men/ladies, able to do it all. Well I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re not a solo act… you are only as talented as the team of artists you entrust to help bring your creative vision to life.

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Which One? Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR vs 35mm f1.4 R

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 35mm f2 WR vs Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 Comparison post images (1 of 5)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 2.8

Of any comparison of lenses that the Phoblographer has done, this one seems to be the most neck in neck. Lots of readers have been requesting a comparison of the Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 and the Fujifilm 35mm f2 R WR lenses. The f1.4 version has been around for years now, but it’s highly regarded amongst Fujifilm users as a favorite. With the company’s latest announcement of the f2 version, there comes extra features such as weather sealing, a smaller body, and arguably the fastest focusing speed of any Fujifilm lens made as of the publication of this blog post.

But to be very honest, they’re not really that different from one another in terms of image quality.

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julius motal the phoblographer instagram-1

With the instantaneous nature of today’s hyper-connected world, it seems that images only matter if they’re online. Instagram sees uploads on the order of the tens of millions on a daily basis. When you consider every other platform for sharing images, that number is considerably higher.

For the longest time, uploading a photograph quickly after taking it was nearly reflexive for me. It was rush to get it into VSCO, export it, craft the perfect caption and upload it, and the photograph held my attention for as long as it continued to receive love.

Once it ended, it was on to the next one. It’s more often the case now that I wrestle with uploading an image. Occasionally, I’ll be at the cusp of uploading when my better judgment kicks in, and I close out of the app, relegating the photograph to an unseen life, at least for a while.

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DO IT. Ditch Digital.


Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published on photographer Gina Manning’s blog. It is being syndicated here with permission.


I’ve got the film bug! BAD. About two months ago I had a friend show me an old film camera she got from her father and proceeded to let me play with it. Big mistake — I became infatuated with the idea of owning my own dinosaur. I now have 5 and I regret nothing, I tell ya! Shooting film is such a glorious and unique form of art. If you haven’t already; here’s why I did and why you should ditch digital for a while, too.

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Canon QL17

For many years now, I’ve been a Canon shooter. I still own a Canon 6D though I use Sigma lenses and manual flashes these days. I owned a Canon Canonet QL-17 for a hot minute–probably one of the most sought after fixed lens rangefinder film cameras ever made; and it was affordable! They’re beautiful pieces and sport a 40mm f1.7 lens on the front or another lens depending on the variation that you got for yourself.

Since the inception of digital, Canon has looked to digitizing their film camera bodies. This is evident in the 1D (1V) 7D (Elan 7 series, etc) and the 5D (EOS 5 series cameras) after totally abandoning the FD mount.

But you know what would really make me excited? A digital QL-17.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 first impressions product photos (4 of 7)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

For years, photographers relied on the depth of field scale to help them achieve better focusing results. It was used in combination with a system called the Zone Focusing system, otherwise known as hyperfocal length shooting.

Then autofocus was developed and for a while, effective depth of field scales disappeared on autofocus lenses. While autofocus algorithms have come a long way, many of us still really love using that depth of field scale–and by many of us I’m talking about the street photography community that many lens manufacturers sometimes target with specific products.

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Why We Need to Know About the Monsters

Alex Wroblewski.

The third night of FotoIstanbul, Stanley Greene was introduced as a legend. A conflict photographer for 25 years and one of the cofounders of the photo agency NOOR, Greene has worked all over Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and he was in town to give a talk about his work, most notably Open Wound, Black Passport, and more recent work from Syria. After he took the stage, he walked us through his work, giving crucial backstory to both his career as a photographer and the images on screen.

In making the case for why he photographs what he does, he said, “We have to remind you that there are monsters at the door.”

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Do Cameras Need the AF Assist Lamp Anymore?

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus OMD EM10 Mk II product photos (1 of 7)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 8.0

Before you go on, no–we’re not talking about your camera from 2012, older or even a bit younger. Instead, we’re asking a question as it pertains to the state of technology in cameras as of this year.

For a while, many photographers used the AF assist lamp to improve their autofocus performance in very low light conditions. During our tests, we turn this lamp off because it alarms way too many people that we’re taking a photo, it distracts people, and it doesn’t give us the absolute performance readings from the camera.

But as of this year, we’ve found that in very low lit conditions, we didn’t really even need it.

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The Importance of Weakness in Photography

julius motal weakness in photography

It was at a talk with Anders Petersen that my understanding of photography changed. Petersen is a Swedish photographer known for his intimate black-and-white photographs, and his landmark book Cafe Lehmitz is a must for anyone serious about photography. He was at FotoIstanbul, a month-long photography festival in Istanbul, to talk about some of his work from different cities where he spent time, met people and photographed them at home or elsewhere. The work, at times abstract and concrete, sexual and not so, was affecting in its rawness and its honesty. Petersen has no compunction about asking to photograph someone in intimate settings, and occasionally people ask him to do so. To hear him talk is to listen to a man deeply moved by the people he photographs, and at one point in the session, he said, “We always talk about strong photographers, but we don’t talk about being weak… weak enough to feel the secrets and the magic in life.”

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julius motal the phoblographer josef koudelka

I was standing with a group of street photographers at a bus stop in Istanbul when an old man sauntered up to us to ask for directions. “That’s Josef Koudelka,” said one of our group and we collectively froze the moment we turned to look. There he was, the photographer in exile, Magnum member since ’71, author of GypsiesExiles and more. He looked as though he had just gotten back from an expedition, the pockets of his vest stuffed with papers and his one-of-a-kind Leica S2 hanging off his shoulder. For all of us standing there, he’s an icon, and for 30 minutes, we helped him find his way. Koudelka was in Istanbul for a presentation at FotoIstanbul, an annual photo festival, and he was due to present new work – a series of 145 black-and-white panoramas of Greek and Roman ruins in Turkey.

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