Six Days in Tokyo | Travels with the X-Pro2
I'm home. The cold, the snow...winter in all its frigid glory. Takes some getting used to, even after just a single week of travels. Because it quickly becomes an addiction—travelling, I mean. Being immersed in a constant flow of new sensations, sights and sounds vying for attention...it's easy to come down hard once it's all over and normalcy has reclaimed lost ground, to become disenchanted with mundanity, eyes losing focus as we dream of distant worlds. I need to remember that. I need to keep on seeing.
Tokyo was an incredible experience and I now have a serious crush. I've been going through my images—there's a lot of 'em—slowly realizing this infatuation stems from this city allowing me to shoot images I've always wanted to shoot . Needed to, actually—as if they'd always been there, waiting for me to catch up. It's hard to explain because it's not just subject matter I'm talking about...it's setting, mood, noise and silence. Chaos and symmetry. All of it together in one giant perfect storm of sensory assault.
Starting Monday I'll be posting a new series entitled Six Days in Tokyo, something similar to what I've done in the past, going all the way back to France in 2011—a travel journal in hindsight. The big difference with these essays will be the point of view: instead of my faithful X100 (or 23mm lens in NYC), all of the images were shot with the X-Pro2 prototype and XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens. This was a conscious effort on my part—I really wanted to test this kit in an intense documentary/travel context. I had my X100T with me but it stayed in the bag (only used it during the anniversary event and on a couple of pics before the big reveal). Here's the thing however: my eye is used to 35mm when I'm travelling and my reflexes are honed accordingly. Knee-deep in the compact grandeur of Tokyo, 50mm would sometimes feel claustrophobic. That said, it's a great combo. And when I ended up in Shinjuku on a late night under torrential rain, soaked as if I'd dived headfirst into a raging maëlstrom...Weather resistance was quite welcome thank you. And yes: the X-Pro2 passed the test with flying colours.
I was there of course for the 5 year anniversary event—very special circumstances. In fact you can hear me give a short—and speedy (seriously, I need to slow down that tempo)— interview on the latest FujiLove podcast. It's easy to consider most of what big companies say as marketing speak. We're used to bluster and flash, to a certain level of BS that's really just a facade to promote commercial interests. And we've come to accept it. Fujifilm, like all other companies, exists to make money; no argument there. But let me tell you something: we had a chance to sit down and really talk to many of the most important people involved in the X-Series—engineers, product managers, you name it— and these guys are just as passionate about photography as you and I. Not just the tech but the very concept of it, the core, the philosophy. There isn't even the faintest trace of a disconnect here. And I know you might think "yeah, yeah, sure...easy for YOU to say" but it's true and believe me, it's incredibly infectious. These conversations didn't feel like hanging out with company bigwigs, they felt like encounters with brothers-in-arms, hands-on, in the trenches. And this gives me a lot of confidence for the future.
I have to thank Photo Life, Fujifilm Canada and Fujifilm Japan for an amazing opportunity. I can't name everyone but Billy, Greg, Jerry, Gord, Kelly and Yuki; Kunio, Soshi and Tomo; Marc and Jeannie; Zack, David and Tomasz; And of course my partner in crime Bert Stephani.
On with the show.
P.S. For an account of my day trip to the Sendai factory, head over to the Photo Life website.