Spontaneous experimentation with Fujifilm
My name is Tyler Silvestri (@omni_krill on Instagram), and I am a Navy Veteran currently living in Portland, OR. Visual arts has been a passion of mine since a young age. I grew up skateboarding, which I lend all the credit to for exposing me to all kinds of art that came along with skate culture. I would watch skate videos and read magazines like Thrasher, which got me really interested in photography, videography, graphic design and music.
My first introduction to creating content was when I picked up an old family VHS camcorder to record myself and my friends skateboarding when I was in grade school. Once I got into high school, I started taking black and white photography classes where we would use old film cameras and develop our photos in a darkroom. Shout out to Mr. Benike for teaching me the fundamentals of photography. These classes were by far my favorite, and furthered my interest and appreciation for photography.
After high school, I joined the US Navy and found myself onboard the USS Carl Vinson, where I did two deployments. I brought along a point-and-shoot Canon G16 with me to take photos in various ports. I was honorably discharged in 2015. I wanted to slow down, focus on my mental health and enjoy life, so I moved to Lake Tahoe, where I got my Bachelors Degree in Digital Art and Marketing — while getting to snowboard and enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe at the same time as my studies.
During that time, I was shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II. I mainly shot landscapes around Lake Tahoe just for fun. That camera was very large, and I would often think twice about bringing it with me when going out, missing visual opportunities. I dabbled in photography here and there, but it wasn’t until 2020, when I purchased a Fujifilm X-T30, that I really started to carry my camera everywhere and began to shoot whatever was around me.
I felt that with a bigger camera, I just wasn’t as inspired to carry it around with me and with the Fujifilm X cameras, that’s completely changed. I think the design and ergonomics of the X-T30 and X-T4 really inspire me to go out and shoot because of the compact size, and the nostalgia I feel that relates back to the days when I very first picked up a professional film camera and became stoked on photography.
It just feels more comfortable for me compared to the Canon systems I used in the past. I mostly shoot for fun, because it really helps me express myself in a way similar to the feeling that skateboarding brings me — taking a good photo is like landing a trick.
I moved to Portland in 2020 and saw a dramatic shift in my subject matter from landscapes to street-style photography due to the new environment I was in. I soon purchased an X-T4 for the dual memory card slot and longer battery life for professional contract work, which has mainly been revolving around real estate photography. I take photography jobs when I can, but I mostly shoot as a hobby.
The lenses I own are as follows: XF 35mm f1.4 / XF 50mm f2 / XF 50-140mm f2.8 / XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 / XC 15-45mm f3.5-5.6 / Laowa 9mm f2.8.
I started out with the XC 15-45mm because I was going on a trip to Hawaii and wanted to travel with minimum weight while still having a variety of focal lengths to choose from, so I purchased the X-T30 with this lens. As the lens is not as sharp as the prime lenses, it was a great introduction into the X system, and I still use it every now and then.
The Laowa 9mm I mainly use for interior real estate photography for its wide-angle and zero distortion. I love the 50-140mm f2.8, but since it is so large, I generally do not use it as much as I would like to. I have been using the original XF35mm f1.4 a lot recently because I love the compact size, focal length, and sharpness of the lens.
I also enjoy the XF50mm f2 for these similar reasons. I have been shooting at night recently and appreciate the wide aperture of the XF35mm f1.4 and the XF50mm F2. The 18-55mm is also one of my favorites for having multiple focal lengths in a compact size. I enjoy traveling light, and being more inconspicuous when shooting in public.
I switch off between the X-T4 and X-T30 quite regularly. If I’m shooting video then I always go with the X-T4 for the benefit of having internal stabilization, and the ability to shoot 4K at 60fps.
When skating around the city, I generally like to shoot public transportation like buses, trains, buildings, neon lights, ominous-looking streets, and classic cars when I spot them. I really love to shoot in the rain, and on foggy nights whenever possible to get some nice reflections and glowing lights.
Taking candid shots of my environment has been a great way for me to appreciate my surroundings and community while enjoying being in the moment, and I find my Fujifilm cameras have definitely inspired me to get out more. While I appreciate bright colors in photography, I also find pleasure editing photos in black and white to limit distractions in the image, and because black and white photography will always have a special place in my heart.
I like to shoot in the rain when I can, and The X-T4 plus the Xf50mm f2 is a great weatherized package for shooting in these conditions. When shooting portraits, I typically only photograph people I know, simply because this style of photography is so personal, I do not feel super comfortable shooting portraits of strangers when I don’t know much about them or their story.
I shoot raw, and edit my photos in Adobe Lightroom – primarily working with exposure and color dials, nothing too fancy. If I had to explain my photography, I guess I would call it “spontaneous experimentalism through a lens”. I don’t strive for any type of planned aesthetic to my photos because I don’t want to put myself in a box or worry about committing to any one style.
When I see an opportunity to shoot something that interests me, I take it. I practice photography for myself because I enjoy it, and it makes me feel good. I want to thank Fujifilm for making the X system, because just the sight of my X-T4 and X-T30 get me excited to grab them and take them with me whenever I step out of the house. I can honestly say I have seen the quality of my photography take a big leap after using my Fujifilm cameras due to the fact that I am shooting more often.
“My name is Tyler Silvestri (@omni_krill on Instagram), and I am a Navy Veteran currently living in Portland, OR. Visual arts has been a passion of mine since a young age. I grew up skateboarding, which I lend all the credit to for exposing me to all kinds of art that came along with skate culture. I would watch skate videos and read magazines like Thrasher, which got me really interested in photography, videography, graphic design and music.”
July 14, 2022 @ 2:59 pm
Hey Tyler, very nice presentation here.
If I had that old gas pump near me, I’d have a thousand photos of it. I love weathered, distressed things in a world of superficial cosmetic “perfection”.
As a long time Fujifilm user myself, if you hadn’t discovered the 35mm f/1.4, I’d had recommended it. But you have incorporated it into your kit to great effect. Your setup is pretty good, however you might take a look at one of the 16mm lenses. I have both (always had a 24mm lens in my film days), and it really teams up nicely with another midrange prime for a nice light kit.
Lastly, fellow veteran here, 22-plus years. Hope you are enjoying this part of your life.
July 15, 2022 @ 5:29 am
Whoa Nellie! What a comprehensive and magnificent collection of images. I love when posters let the photos do the talking, like you did here. You’ve got real talent. And thank you for honorably serving our country.
August 2, 2022 @ 2:37 pm
Love the images, amazing stuff.
I see a lot of the same subjects I like to take in being shared here, really has me wanting to go out not and take images instead of working.
And this story really has me starting to get off the fence about jumping from Canon to Fuji – this is something I have been debating for a while now. Canon feels comfy, it is what I know, but seeing these images and reading the passion you have, I think it is time for me to make that jump.
Really good stuff here. Thank you for sharing.