A few short months ago, I got a message on Twitter from Patrick la Roque, another Canadian photographer I'd chatted with a number of times, mostly about finding our way with a couple of new cameras Fujifilm had come out with - first the X100, then the X-Pro 1. Aside from helping troubleshoot things and figure out the cameras' internal logic, I really enjoyed Patrick's images - he's got a really interesting eye, a great sense for light, and a way of making things rest within a frame that I really admire.
Well, evidently he was admiring some of my work too, because the message that day wasn't about a firmware update - it was about joining a photography collective he was building along with photographers Derek Clark from Scotland, and Paul Pride from England.
Also, and I'm quoting Patrick here,
"we’ve decided to make the X series cameras the common baseline for the work we’ll be doing. Exclusively. This isn’t out of blind fanboyism but part of a very deliberate approach that involves both philosophical and technical considerations. I’ve come to believe in the zen of technology. Design affects results. We’re always creating around the strengths and shortcomings of our tools, which means our work is in turn strongly influenced by their capabilities. Using a similar, fixed set of tools, while restrictive, also creates a working framework."
I've become a big fan recently of this sort of philosophy, at least in my personal work; I don't want to be carrying around a 20kg / $40,000 bag of dSLR cameras & lenses if I don't really NEED to! And sometimes, I do need to - but other times, especially when I'm working for myself, it's nice to go back to using simpler equipment, working lighter, faster, and more enjoyably. As Patrick says, the results show that difference; sometimes in ways perhaps we're only aware of ourselves, but often because we find ourselves in situations we couldn't or wouldn't have got into with large bags of gear.
I also think a lot (perhaps too much) about the performance a photographer gives, of BEING a photographer I mean. People do react differently to you if you're holding a massive tank of a camera with a 300mm lens on the end, it's just a fact of life. Often, it's like a wall between the photographer and the subject; so one of the things I like about this system is that it tears down an awful lot of that, right away, and lets interaction happen naturally between two people.
I'm incredibly honoured to be part of this group - in some ways, creating essays with images isn't something I've done much of apart from for clients, where the final selection isn't necessarily my decision; so I'm really looking forward to finding themes and concepts that tie images together, and not necessarily in a direct, linear fashion.
So here we are, not so much later, launching the site (and naturally, Twitter & Facebook accounts as well) - and starting to populate it with images from our various parts of the world. Have a look, and do check back as we add new essays over the coming months!
(And in case you’re wondering, kage is pronounced ka-ji, and means shadow, shade, other side in Japanese.)