issue007

Issue 007 - Words from the editor

By Vincent Baldensperger

More than a picture book, anatomy studies its subject—striving to understand its very essence.
Be it academic or morphological; plastic, proportional or photographic...it remains descriptive, weaving tales of the living and the still from small details to vast expanses. Here, it finds its bearings in imagination, emotion, sensitivity and passion—a mirror anatomy, providing a glimpse at who we are.

Fleur de peau

By Vincent Baldensperger

Etudes à fleur de peau, là où la nature et l’humain se rencontrent. Anatomie d’une union indélébile née de la passion de l’un pour la beauté de l’autre, traits pour traits…

Studies, skin deep, where nature and humanity collide. Anatomy of an indelible union, the passion of the one for the beauty of the other. Identical. 

Body Transitions

BY BERT STEPHANI

A little over a year ago I was face down on the canvas after receiving some big punches. I got up just before the referee could count to ten and left the ring with my head held high. Still swaying on my feet but upright I made some big decisions, left the highway and chose some less traveled backroads instead. I didn’t know where my path would lead me, but I did promise myself that I would take my family on a holiday abroad after the dust had settled. 

And here I am, one year later, in a small cabin in the mountains in the South of France, surrounded by trees, fallow deer and my family. To upload this story I have to hike a mile through the forest and drive a couple more on treacherous mountain roads to get to the village café to get a slow internet connection with my café-au-lait. We’re down to the last days of our vacation but the kids, Griet and I have enjoyed so many amazing moments so far. 

I spend a lot of quality time with my family but rarely do I get to observe my kids as closely as now. Not obscured by the many layers of clothing the Belgian climate usually requires, it’s striking how my children’s bodies are evolving just like their personalities. 

Noa, the youngest is opening up like a delicate flower. She’s always been sensitive and still is but as her body grows, so does her confidence, her humour and her intelligence. Her sensitivity has become an asset to feel what the people she loves need: a kiss, a funny line, a dance or a hug. She always has the right cure before one even knows he needs it. 

Maya’s lines are turning into curves never to be straightened again. She’s not always sure what to do with her femininity but embraces it without fear. Like every father, I’m not sure if I like this fearless femininity and at the same time I have no defence against the charm that comes with it. I’m losing a carefree child but I’m getting a wonderful young lady instead. 

Kobe’s body is that of a young athlete. The lean muscles are the result of his determination, hard work and his quest to find his limits. Our stubborn souls inevitably clashed a couple of times in the past year. But deep down we always know that our mutual trust and respect will always persevere. We have forged a new balance between the two of us, a balance between two men. 

The small roads we’ve travelled in the last twelve months have been bumpy, even barely passable at times. But they were taking us in the right direction and we can look ahead to a lot more adventures. I accept that from now on, my kids will sometimes choose a path that may be different from mine. But I know there will be always crossroads where we will all meet and choose to travel down the same road for a while. 

Proof Of Life

Proof Of Life

Like a lot of cities, the real estate market in Sydney's inner suburbs seems to live by its own rules.

The character of Surry Hills is changing rapidly. While a lot of the buildings are of a similar style, 100-year-old worker's cottages, their condition veers wildly, from run-down student share houses with tattered flags in the window, to million dollar renovations with sports cars and SUVs parked out front.

This was never more apparent than recently, when the home of Natalie Jean Wood was put up for sale, after she was found to have died in her bed - eight years previously - and never been reported missing, or checked on by family or friends, in that time.

MODERN JACOBITE: ANATOMY OF A CD SHOOT. Part 1

TOMMY SMITH AND THE BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA:

REHEARSAL & RECORDING AT CITY HALLS

TEXT AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY DEREK CLARK

Last year my photos were used exclusively on the Jeunehomme CD by Japanese pianist Makoto Ozone and The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. The pictures were live shots I did during a set of gigs when Makoto came to Scotland. I was delighted with the results and love the CD digipak design by NadWorks. To top that off, the cover photo was chosen by Makoto, which is praise enough for me. So that's a jazz orchestra and a classical pianist (Bare with me).

This year I've been working closely with Tommy Smith to shoot all the pictures for his latest CD 'Modern Jacobite' which was recorded with The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. So that's a jazz musician with a classical orchestra. Tommy has composed a dynamic piece of music for this new album that takes the listener on a journey and the BBC SSO was the perfect choice to bring the piece to life.

I was pleased to be asked by Tommy to shoot the various parts of this project as I could see from the start that it would be something a bit different and special. I couldn't have been more right and from the first day's rehearsal I knew it would be a privilege to be part of this project.

The pictures you see here are from The City Halls in Glasgow where the orchestra rehearsed and recorded the album. During the last few years of documenting jazz, I've been lucky to have been a fly on the wall to some really special moments. Being present during this early phase was one of those memories that is now etched in my mind forever. The sound produced by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is beautiful and moving and as I walked around the orchestra while they played and discussed the various parts, moving as quietly as possible, I was reminded once again how photography takes us on a mystery tour. At the end of each year I look back at what I've shot and there's always a few unexpected gems. That you see here was one of them, but it was just a part of what was needed to complete the Modern Jacobite CD artwork.

In part 2 I'll talk about the CD cover shoot.

Click HERE to buy Modern Jacobite CD.

The Body Deconstructed

Anatomy

3. a detailed analysis; “he studied the anatomy of crimes”.

By Patrick La Roque

How about the anatomic dissection of a life gone by? How about one last glance at a systematic deconstruction—40 years' worth of existence, tossed to the roadside in the end. This essay marks the end of a trilogy I never planned, preceded by Rains of March and, further back in our archives, Incoming.

Over two years have passed since that first story was published about an imminent storm on the horizon, the knowledge of a fast approaching tipping point threatening to throw all my sister and I knew overboard. But we had no idea. The thing about trials in life is that we survive, regardless of how difficult or impossible the task may be, because we're profoundly clueless: advance knowledge would send us cowering in a corner with our head between our legs. No, we only make it through once we're in the thick of it and have no other choice but to react.

We’ve seen that emptiness in the distance, riding in on thunderheads.
— Incoming, April 2014.

On our last weekend before the final move we walked through the now overgrown grasses in our parent's extended backyard, picking wild strawberries, remembering the picnic table, the field, the garden and everything that used to be. Man, how we could run through this yard. We went on one last survey before it all dissapears—a new house will be built here, pushed up against the old one; exactly what our parents had prevented when they purchased this additional land. But people don't care about land anymore.

A few days later I came back on my own to oversee the final phase. After years of anguish, after months of forensic shredding and digging through our past, I walked through the now empty rooms and realized sadness had given way to elation. Freedom, finally. I realized these were nothing but things, that the sum total of who we are needs to reside in so much more than what we accumulate. And that however hard we try, ultimately everything is out of our control. We can only hope to make a dent in the universe through others.

There's no real legacy in the material.

Before leaving I took one last look at the house. The discarded furniture and piles of trash in the driveway headed for either charity, recycling or dumpsters. A once thriving body now dismembered...and ready for rebirth.

Fujifilm X-T2

It seems like only a few months ago that Fuji released their upgraded flagship model, the X-Pro2.  And very excited we all were about that camera. Two weeks ago, Fujifilm announced the much rumoured X-T2, which, as some commentators may have you believe, is not simply "an X-Pro2 in an X-T1 body".

There is an element of that of course, but I firmly believe the X-T2 stands alone, and shoulder to shoulder, with the X-Pro2 as "a" flagship camera in its own right.

Fuji X-T2 Stand Out Features

  • 24.3MP X-TransTM CMOS III APS-C sensor
  • Acros Film Simulation
  • 4K video (as well as 180p and 720p)
  • The number of focusing points has been dramatically expanded from 49 in the X-T1 to 91 (up to 325 points).  
  • AF-C algorithm has been significantly improved for even higher accuracy when focus-tracking moving subjects in the AF-C mode.  There is also the introduction of several new AF-C configurations to help with fast moving subject tracking.
  • 2.36-million-dot high-resolution organic EL electronic viewfinder has the magnification ratio of 0.77x and maintains the display time lag of 0.005 seconds.
  • The Vertical Power Booster Grip (VPB-XT2) will not only hold an additional two batteries, but will also boost the power of the camera enabling even faster burst shooting, better refresh times and longer video recording.
  • Studio Tethering via a Lightroom Plugin which is soon to be released.

I think there are three main areas that are substantially different to the the X-Pro2 that I, at least, have been testing and appreciating the most:

The Tilting Screen

As someone who shoots weddings for a living, I know the power of tilting screen.  Whilst shooting with the X-T2, I've found myself using the now vastly improved tilting screen a lot. 

The new screen will pivot in two directions enabling it to be useful not only for those shooting horizontally, but also those shooting vertically.

4K Video

This is something that will either excite you, or pass you by completely.
It excites me, and I intend using the 4K features on personal and social documentary projects as much as I possibly can.

There is, of course, a swathe of cameras with 4K capability out there, but none that allow you to film natively using the remarkable colours and rendering of the ubiquitous Fujifilm film simulations.

You will, come the time of camera release (we haven't been able to during the beta testing) record to a F-Log flat uncompressed output too.  This is perfect for those that have their own cinematic finishes they like to apply during colour grading.

Fuji have added a headphone socket to the Vertical Grip and also a 3.5mm mic jack to the body.  Along with an HDMI out port, this means the camera really is geared up for some serious filming for those that are inclined.

Here are some random clips shot at 4K, straight from the camera.  The Colour clip is Classic Chrome and the monochrome ones are Acros+R.  Sound is recorded into an Rode Shotgun mic.

New Auto Focus System

When I used to shoot with my DSLRs, I really loved the ability to choose different continuous tracking modes.

When the AF-C updates came in Firmware 4 for the X-T1 (and subsequently released in the X-Pro2), we suddenly had a continuous tracking mode that worked incredibly well. One thing I missed though, was the ability to fine tune the continuous tracking and decide on things such as whether I wanted the camera to ignore subjects crossing in front on my primary focus subject, or react quicker to quick moving subjects etc. You can customise settings to optimise AF characteristics according to the type of subject movements in the new X-T2.

The electronic viewfinder, which is used to continuously track a moving subject, is capable of displaying up to 100 frames per second, while also maintaining the magnification ratio of 0.77x and the display time lag of 0.005 seconds.

The duration of the viewfinder blackout, in which the live view display blacks out temporarily while the camera reads picture data, has been reduced by more than half (and I know this has been an issue for some people in the past), enabling up to 5fps, instead of 3fps in the X-T1, during continuous shooting in the Live View mode, a better option to ensure tracking subject movements.

I really love the ability to customise the way the AF-C works and during my testing, I’ve found this to be invaluable.  For wedding photographers, it comes into its own when shooting and tracking things such as the bridal recessional or the confetti run where you don’t want the camera to suddenly start tracking the confetti itself or another person entering the scene.

Overall, the Fuji X-T2, I believe, will be a perfect camera for those who are likely to be shooting very fast moving subjects; sports and wildlife photographers will find this camera a dream to use and studio shooters will love the tethering that will be available to them via the Lightroom plugin.

Its another fine feather in the Fujifilm cap.

8XJUL16


OUR PERSONAL CHOICES THIS MONTH