The Meaning of Photography
In March of 2020, just before the lockdown hit, I purchased a Fujifilm X100V camera. It was the second X100 I ever owned, after having purchased the original X100 in 2011 when it was first released. While I loved the camera back then, it had a few shortcomings, and I ended up selling it, but it was my entry drug into the Fujifilm X series camera world, and the love for the X series hasn’t left me since.
My initial fascination with the X cameras was the size and performance. A nice, big sensor in a small, capable package with amazing jpgs right out of the box. I sold all my heavy, chunky Nikon gear and switched to svelte Fuji X cameras.
My second Fujifilm X camera was the X-E1, then I switched to the bigger X-T1, and finally, the X-T2. I purchased a bunch of lenses, and slowly but surely, my load grew. The weight and heft of the equipment started to creep up on me and before I knew it, I was bogged down again by weight and by choices - which equipment to bring, what to leave home, what lens to use, what to set up, tripod, attachments, lights. The frustration grew so big that I left my X-T2 at home more and more, and in recent years, most of my pictures were taken with my iPhone! But iPhone pictures, while they are nice too (especially life photos), are just not the same.
Then Superbowl 2020 came with its barrage of commercials, and I saw this gem:
I believe Ms Ryder is carrying a Leica. And maybe it’s not even a fixed lens camera. But this 3 minute film moved something inside of me. A desire to go back to the beginning. When the pictures I took were for myself, and not to impress some strangers on some social network. Pictures that documented something. Pictures that were important for me. When Fujifilm announced the new and improved X100V couple of weeks later, I preordered it on day 1.
When my order arrived at the camera store, only days before the lockdown of all stores in British Columbia, I brought my big, hefty 80 mm macro lens with me to the store and they took it as partial payment for the camera. That big macro lens was the beginning of the end of my days as lens collector. Always bigger, and heavier. A far cry from what I had been hoping to achieve by switching from Nikon to Fuji - a lighter load. Less complications, more time to concentrate on taking pictures … pretty much what Wynona was doing in that clip. Take the shot, and flow with it. Just like with a phone, only… better.
After I purchased the X100V, I cleaned house on my iMac. I delete an enormous quantity of images from my hard drive. Beautiful pictures. Macro shots of flowers, staged food pictures, elaborate self-portraits. All beautiful to behold but entirely without meaning. I deleted Lightroom from my computer, and moved all of my photos, raw and tiff files included, onto a new portable hard drive. Then I moved all the jpgs that I was left with into Apple Photos, and went to town culling. It took a long time, which I had plenty of during the lockdown, but eventually, I had whittled down my images to 13,000 photos and 517 videos. These are all the photos I wanted to keep of the 18 years and counting that I have been active with digital photography. Countless paper copies of images I took before then are not even included in this number…
The new camera has done something more than just bringing back my desire to take pictures. It has given my photography meaning. It’s not about just creating content, it about creating meaningful content. Content that means something to me and the ones I love. Content that will be cherished long after I am gone. From the moment I brought it home, the Fuji X100V has done more to improve my photography than any other camera I ever bought - before I even took my first shot with it.