Family photography project 2014

Years ago my grandfather had an old leather suitcase full of old family photographs – he was in the process of writing names and details of everyone on the back of each photo so that they would be known people rather than forgotten faces. Unfortunately he never completed his task…

Roll on a good few years, and a good photographer friend of ours offered to take a photograph of us (my wife, myself and our two young girls) standing outside the front of our house. There’s no fantastic lighting, no hours of post process work in Photoshop, and no very ‘in’ retro/vintage filters applied.

It’s a straight black & white image of a family standing outside their home, and we love it. We love it more as time goes on, and it becomes more and more valuable to us, especially as the girls grow up.

That suitcase and that single photo got me thinking – imagine if we could do this for every person in our family. How great would that be to have a photographic record of us all, in 2014 – a snapshot in time of us all, this year – cool!

So, how do I go about this? There are a lot of people in both our families, and where do you draw the line? Do you include second cousins, distant relatives, step-brothers, etc? To do this I needed some rules that I must follow, otherwise it would never end, and I would never start!

I decided to start with my grandparents, and my wife’s grandparents and go down the blood line from there. So that would be our parents, their children, etc, and keep going down.

I wanted a consistent look, because I really see the end result in a beautiful fine art album. So, take photos of each household (whoever is living in the house at the time of the photography session), take a shot standing outside the house, a few individual portraits, a group shot and a few natural shots. This way we mix some formal and informal and hopefully create a good feel of where we all are living in 2014 – the photos will show house interiors, and details, so in 50 years, those small, mundane, normal and everyday things will be really interesting.

I purchased a Fuji X-Pro 1 camera and lenses, and was invited by Fuji to be an X-Photographer. I’m now one of 200 or so photographers worldwide on the X-Photographers gallery.

So, I’ve also decided to use the X-Pro 1 for this project – it’s a small, light camera system which is perfect for travelling. Not big and bulky like my Canon gear! There’s a learning curve with this camera, and it’s totally different to using what I normally use, so this makes the whole project exciting. This is a personal project, not for a client, so I can afford to take some risks with equipment.

I’ll add some details about each person and each household as part of the project, so that each person is brought to life a bit more – and the details about that person are then there, they won’t be forgotten!

I have an idea of how I want the whole project to look at the end, and I can see each photo and how it will look in the album. I really want to create a time capsule, something that will be precious, and become more precious as time goes on.

I hope that in 50 years our yet to be born family members will treasure them as well!

I’ll try to blog a bit as the project moves along – I have to travel to the USA and Denmark, as well as all over the UK, so that’s really exciting for me! I’ll get to see every person in my family this year.

Family photographer

The start of the family photography project

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A wander around Lincoln to test Fuji X-Pro 1 settings

I went for a wander around Lincoln on Monday with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and one lens – the 18mm f2. This a scary lens for street photography for me because it means you sometimes have to get in seriously close – something I’m not totally comfortable with. When you look at some the great photographers and their work documenting daily life, it all looks so easy. It’s not!

For the first time ever with a digital camera, I shot everything in black & white – usually I’d photograph in colour and then convert. It all felt a bit strange at first, something not quite right, but I loved looking at the back of the screen and seeing the composition in black & white.

I had the settings at Monochrome+R for the whole day, and sharpness set to +1

I love the optical viewfinder, so am pushing myself to master this – it’s perfect for the general day-to-day, wandering around kind of photography that gives me that photo buzz. Again, strange using it at first, because nothing changes in the viewfinder when you focus – I’m so used to my Canon DSLR’s now, and seeing everything snap into focus. But, I just loved using the OVF, it feels right to me and somehow gives me more feeling when taking the shots.

Guess what – they’re OK! They’re in focus, with a high hit rate. I did do a fair bit of reading up beforehand about using the OVF. I now have the ‘Corrected AF Frame’ setting on which really makes a difference, as it helps me with confusion with parallax view which I am definitely not used to, coming from the full frame DSLR world.

I shot everything fine jpeg, and just loved what was coming out of camera – a bit flat, so I had to boost the contrast in Photoshop. I need to review my settings to get a contrast look in camera that suits me.

  • Steve Brill - January 29, 2014 - 3:26 pm

    Excellent street photography and love the choice of just shooting mono. Look forward to seeing more.ReplyCancel

  • Steve Bark - March 5, 2014 - 11:21 am

    A great set of Photos. I like that you haven’t shot the obvious Lincoln features and I like your use of reflections.

    I’m also a Fuji X-Pro 1 user and it’s quickly replacing my Nikon gear for most subjects. I just wish that they would hurry up and bring out a replacement with better Auto Focus so I can sell my Nikons and go totally Fuji.ReplyCancel

    • admin - March 7, 2014 - 11:51 am

      Hi Steve – thanks for comments. X-Pro 1 focus is a bit slow but guess I just need to get used to it after using Canon for so long.ReplyCancel

  • Randy - March 6, 2014 - 8:36 am

    Very nice pictures. You definitely have a good eye for composition! Keep it up!

    Only may I suggest you change your “name tag” on the top left, to something a little bit less conspicuous. It really distracts in a lot of photos… Which is a shame. 😉ReplyCancel

    • admin - March 7, 2014 - 11:52 am

      Thanks! Thanks also for the heads-up re my ‘logo’…I think you’re rightReplyCancel

  • Miguel Navarro - March 9, 2014 - 2:59 pm

    Patrick, nice work here. Thanks for sharing. I find myself in the same Position You are in, coming from a Nikon Full Frame with snappy autofocus but I don’t miss anything in the X-Pro1. My advice: set the shadowtone to slightly hard (+1), that will add the needed contrast and you can skip Photoshop altogether. Also do keep the RAWs, just in case, for Lightroom if You have a mind blower-shot that is worth editing.

    Best regards,

    M. NavarroReplyCancel

    • admin - March 10, 2014 - 11:17 am

      Thanks ‘M’ for the advice and comments, much appreciated.ReplyCancel

  • […] I went for a wander around Lincoln on Monday with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and one lens – the 18mm f2. This a scary lens for street photography for me because it means you sometimes have to get in seriously close – something I'm not totally comfortable with. When you look at some the great photographers and…  […]ReplyCancel

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Snow graphics

Here’s a few shots taken in Lincoln on a snowy day in January 2013. Mostly I was wandering around with black & white in mind. I wanted graphic lines and patterns – but a few birds managed to sneak in…

Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs | Lincoln photographer

  • Mike Rooke - May 24, 2015 - 6:07 pm

    Well done. An inspiring portfolio actually. Interesting and sometimes, compelling images.

    I have not yet totally shifted from DSLR to my Fuji X100s. In fact, I have recently found myself back on the tripod and swapping lenses simply because it is such a pleasurable way to make photographs. Street photography stresses me out because it would seem to be so simple, yet is so hard to capture the images that I see around me everyday when my camera is not to hand!

    Your pictures have hardened my resolve to explore the street again with my Fuji. Thanks!ReplyCancel

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African Wildlife in Black & White

All these were taken on a recent trip to southern Africa – most of the shots were taken in one of my favourite places on Earth, namely Kruger National Park in South Africa.

It’s a photographers dream – the wildlife and scenery is incredible. You can pitch a tent there in one of many camp sites, and listen to the noises of the night.

Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer
Patrick Stubbs Photographer | Lincoln photographer

  • Alice Perks - July 22, 2017 - 6:50 pm

    Hi There,

    Do you sell prints of your work? I love the owl and also adore Kruger. We would love to frame it. Please let me know if you do sell prints

    Your work is beautiful

    Warm regards,
    AliceReplyCancel

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