Photography on the road
I’m Mitch Orr I’m 29 and from a small coastal town in England. Currently, I am working in a horticulture setting whilst living full time in our own self built home on wheels.
Reaching the ripe old age of 30 and tiring of the mundane monotony that is working a full-time job to pay off a 30 plus year mortgage I, along with my girlfriend decided a change was on the cards. We bought a panel van, a blank canvas, and began turning it into our very own livable space we could take with us wherever we wanted.
Fast forward three years and we are finally living in the van and in the process of renting out our house.
Having bounced around numerous jobs since finishing school I have never felt a true passion for any of them. I was adamant that I must pursue a method of making a living from the things that inherently inspire me thus I find myself living simply in a van in the midst of a global pandemic (hurray!!)
The long term aim for me is to travel to Europe in our home, exploring every inch of the planet we inhabit is something that gives me true purpose and meaning. Hopefully utilizing my love for photography to document the wide array of beautiful landscapes that lay in wait, creating art and if possible provoking an emotional response to the images I yearn to create.
I have always been a very visual person, I enjoy the subtleties and nuances that photographs can elicit. How light can build a scene, how it manipulates the visual impact of a subject. This passion has spilled over into the medium of cinematography and has developed my profound fondness for film and cinema. Admiring the genius of Deakins and his ability to turn every frame into a piece of art anybody would be glad to hang on their wall.
I took the plunge into photography around fifteen years ago, buying myself a Canon 40D and a 50mm prime lens. I thoroughly immersed myself in it and started experimenting with all kinds of genres, from still life to landscape, portraiture and wedding photography. It wasn’t until I started wanting to document my holiday trips that I first came across the Fujifilm line of cameras. I wanted something light, something simple yet tactile and thus I took ownership of the Fuji X100.
I fell in love instantaneously, the 23mm fixed focal length and field of view forced me to be creative, to slow down and really take note of what I was doing. The manual aperture ring and exposure dial just felt… right, and now photography felt like a truly physical and connected art form. The simplicity enabled me to grow and thoroughly engage in the process of composition, more so than ever before despite shooting with numerous Canon bodies.
Having used the X100 on a number of trips, I felt I needed the ability to broaden my focal range again, now that I understood the reasons why differing focal ranges were needed and for what scenarios. Along came the X-E2 and further the X-E3, though I still maintained a small selection of prime lenses (18mm f2 and 35mm f1.4) as I was still only really documenting my holiday trips which were less frequent than I would have liked.
This was my very basic setup for a number of years until the notion of vanlife and longterm travel became a very pertinent focal point in my life. That is when I finally caved and sold all my Canon gear, largely unused for a substantial length of time, and used the proceeds to fund a Fuji body upgrade.
I picked up the Fujifilm X-T20 and the 23mm F1.4 having weighed up the pros and cons between that just the X-T2 body minus the lens as funds only allowed for one or the other. In hindsight, I should have gone with the X-T2 as ergonomically the X-T20 feels somewhat awkward to hold, despite having the hands of a small child.
And so brings us to the current day, my setup still consists of the X-T20 body with added grip and L-bracket, three lenses (18mm F2, 35mm F1.4 and 23mm F1.4) and a relatively new addition of the 50-140mm F2.8. Having been on somewhat of a YouTube landscape photographer binge, I came to the conclusion that a telephoto lens would broaden my scope of possibilities when it came to simplifying a composition within the landscape.
Added to that the compression effect which to me at least has a very effective influence on depicting the scale of scenes and areas of interest within a frame. Something I hope I can use to my advantage once this lockdown ends and the real travelling can begin.
For me the transition to the Fuji system has been nothing but positive, it re-ignited my itch to shoot and brought me closer to the physical act of creating art through imagery. Though my current financial situation means I am editing my work on a smartphone through Lightroom, I am still enjoying every minute of it. With an eye on eventually acquiring and an iPad Pro as my primary post-processing workhorse and negating the need for a laptop.
As it stands we are still very much stuck in one spot for the time being, though hopefully in the coming months we will be able to fulfill our dream to travel in the van and use it as a springboard for my photography growth, as well as enriching our souls and making memories for us to forever look back on.
“My name is Mitch Orr and I am a 29 year old photographer from England, UK. Although I do not currently make a living through photography, I’m hoping to do so in conjunction with travelling in my self built home on wheels. Travelling and documenting travels through Europe and the UK.”