A self portrait of my work

The art of photography is one of the broadest and most unique forms of expression that allows every person the chance to experience a completely different view and range of emotions from the exact same image. For every creator it reflects a separate journey, here is just a little window into mine.

My name is Devin Lang, a photographer from the small city of Selkirk, Manitoba in Canada. Photography started out as more of a hobby for me about two and a half years ago, and admittedly was never something I saw myself diving so deep into. It served as a creative outlet that helped me escape life’s realities, even for just a little while.

I started bringing the camera on hikes or long drives with friends, knowing I might encounter something worth capturing. Soon enough I was taking trips for the sole purpose of photographing and this is when my whole perception of things and the way I look at the world started to transform.

I spent my first year and a half learning the ins-and-outs of my starting equipment; a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a standard EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II and my collection of lenses continued to grow over the following months. The first addition to my roster was the EF 50mm f/1.8 II or “the nifty fifty” as I like to call it, followed by the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM.

From here, I began branching out from the landscape work I started with and found myself enjoying the gratifying challenge of capturing wildlife. This is where I became enamored with the art and process that is photography. From there I continued experimenting with landscape and wildlife. I slowly found I liked the integration of subjects to focus on for scale or perspective, so I added people as a new component to my pictures.

My models began as just background subjects at first, but as I started enjoying the idea of having an actual subject to focus the work around, I became more and more intrigued with trying my hand at portrait work. As somebody who has always been particularly shy, what I thought was going to be the biggest challenge for me was contacting and meeting new people, but right from the first real shoot of mine, it became the part of the job that I fell in love with most.

To begin this new chapter of my work, I felt it was time for an equipment upgrade, which is where my love for all things Fujifilm started. This brings me to my current gear setup, sticking with the same lenses I mentioned earlier along with with the addition of a special lens adapter for my old Canon glass, I did some extensive research on camera specs and reviews but kept on finding the Fujifilm X-T3 was the one ticking all the boxes I was looking for over and over again.

Whether it be luck or happenstance at that time, a fellow local photographer I was talking to let me know he was selling his to test a new system for his business but could not stop praising it as the best camera he’s had the chance to work with. Trusting his word after all my searching, I decided to make the switch and could not have been happier with that choice.

It is lightweight, has an amazing grip and feel in the hands, and most importantly the fact that it is mirrorless gives me the fast-continuous shooting and quick auto-focus that works best for my style. The second piece of equipment I wanted to add to the setup was a lens that gave me the sharpness I liked in the EF 50mm f/1.8 II but to have a little more field of view to play around with when setting a shot, so I landed on the XF 23mm F2 R WR lens. This quickly became my favourite lens and is practically a part of my camera itself at this point because of the versatility it offers.

Around May of 2020 is when I really decided to dive in portrait work headfirst and try to make a career out of it (still working on that). The start of the pandemic at the time posed certain limits that forced me to rethink and adapt the way I plan the location and composition of a shoot.

I was forced to become more creative in discovering spots for shooting, and with social distancing in effect made me change the range and angles I could manage with my models and really made me explore what was possible with what I had. With less indoor settings available I became more appreciative of the use of background, foreground and the use of natural lighting when working outdoors. This restriction ended up being a blessing in disguise helping blend my old style into the new.

I think myself or any other creator would agree that the goal at the end of the day is to not only enjoy the work you create but to also have the drive to set yourself apart by capturing something that has never been viewed or imagined in that way. I believe my ability to capture my subjects through new and unique perspectives is what sets me apart. I also try to edit in a way that is authentic to me — my goal has always been for people to recognize my work the moment they see it.

Therefore, I find the editing process to be as important as the composition and lighting of the shot itself. The Fujifilm X-T3 is the perfect camera for me to bring my visions to life because of its lightweight body and articulating screen: both allow me to make any angle I want to try possible as long as my body can keep up. To achieve my distinct look that I am for on all of my work the only program I typically use in post is Adobe Lightroom, with a small selection of custom presets to keep a consistent look with color grading and contrast between highlights and shadows from photo to photo.

I definitely still consider myself a newcomer to both portrait photography and the Fujifilm X system, but I could not be more excited about the work I have planned and the opportunities that I have been presented. My journey has helped me grow as a person, changing both the way I interact with people and added a whole new found enjoyment to meeting new people.

Most importantly it has changed the way I look at every ray of light and turned every object I see into an opportunity. In the near future, I hope to explore a whole new side of creativity and abstract ideas within portraiture. Thank you all for reading and I hope I get the chance to share the new work with you again soon.

"My name is Devin Lang, I am a portrait photographer from Selkirk, Manitoba. I am mostly self-taught apart from a small intro course I took when first starting photography. Apart from photography I like to express myself through vitrail painting and architectural sketching and I hope to continue growing my craft into a career that sets me apart."

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