How I decided to journal life
I’m Charlotte, a 24-year-old Parisian working in the communications field, and the happy owner of a Fujifilm X100V.
How it all started.
I think I got my first camera ever when I was 10. My parents organized this big birthday party with a bunch of friends, in my family home in the French countryside. So I got this little Pentax camera that I mostly used to film my friends or to take blurry pictures of them.
My second memory of photography should be our family trip to New York City in 2015, I was 17. I only had my brand new iPhone 6S Plus with me at the time. I think that this trip revealed to me a real interest for photography, as I wanted to take pictures of everything because everything was new to me. As my family lives in France, seeing big glass buildings and wide streets full of people was indeed something I had never seen before. I imagined and saw New York as a giant theme park, where each corner has a different vibe, with different light and different colors.
Because my interest in photography became stronger and stronger, I asked for a camera for my 20th birthday. A friend who likes photography too advised me to go for a Canon EOS 80D, and I didn’t know anything about cameras, so I listened to her and got the Canon EOS 80D in 2018. Living at my parents’ house, my favorite thing to shoot was landscapes, but also my dog. The camera was so huge I couldn’t take it everywhere with me, which was kind of why I used it just occasionally.
Well, I liked it at first but only in automatic mode (sorry). It’s a great camera, with a lot of positive things, great performance and features that I didn’t really explore, even to this day. But the reason why I didn’t explore them is because it’s a DSLR, and with time I realized that I like to carry a camera around with me and just take spontaneous pictures of things in the streets.
I moved to Paris in 2020, and unfortunately, this Canon EOS 80D stayed a lot at home, and I continued to take pictures with my iPhone XS (also a big mistake: instead of choosing a good camera once and for all, I upgraded my iPhone to have a better phone camera). I sometimes took the DSLR with me, but I had to bring a spare bag, and it was so not practical for my personal usage, which was basically street photography.
But then Covid hit, so I had to go back to my parents’ home for this worldwide lockdown. I used this time not only by cooking or working out, but also by taking pictures during my 1 kilometer-radius-walk in the fields or the forest. So I spent the lockdown shooting simple things: big empty fields, the forest, my garden, my dog, my family. Playing with the light, starting editing, adding presets, and finding this minimal vibe I like to give to my shots. That’s when it really started.
Welcome, Fujifilm X100V
I went back to Paris for work after Covid, and started living a normal life again. Having to carry this huge Canon around became almost impossible for me to do the kind of shots that I wanted as I like to take the things that spark my attention, and I like my shots to be very spontaneous.
I didn’t really know what I wanted at first, but I needed a smaller camera for sure. I looked up on the Internet, watched a lot of YouTube reviews of different cameras, read a lot of them with pros and cons… I wanted something small, with high performance and a nice design.
My first thought was Leica. I already saw beautiful cameras from this brand and really liked the design. Leica cameras are very expensive, though. And after reading tons and tons of reviews, I saw an article about the Fujifilm X100V, and honestly, the aesthetic and vintage design really grabbed my attention, and the reviews were all so positive. After a few weeks of reflection, I decided I should just go for it and ordered this little piece of art.
I’m not an expert in photography, so my review about the Fujifilm X100V probably won’t be the best one you’ll read, but it’s still my experience with this camera.
Would it be too much if I said that this camera basically became a part of me? The X100V literally has the perfect size. It fits in a small handbag or across my shoulder – I also got the Fujifilm black leather case which gives the camera an even classier look. And I’m not gonna lie, the X100V brings my mirror selfie game to another level.
Regarding the performance, I couldn’t be happier with this camera for my personal usage and needs. I think that Fujifilm cameras have something that makes the shots really recognizable, almost like if you shot on film, thanks to the film simulations that you can choose directly in-camera (my personal favorites being Classic Chrome and Astia/Soft). The lighting on this camera is also always really good, sometimes one shot is enough to give you the perfect photo, which is just perfect for me.
Even though the photos are really good right after pushing the shutter button, I still like to make a few adjustments to give them a more consistent look. I use Adobe Lightroom mostly. I like to play with lights and shadows by enhancing the contrast and exposure. I also use the tone curve on the software to add a little fade to my photos, which will give a shot that almost comes straight out of an analog. One thing that I also like to do is add some grain to the photo, to give it a little more character. Regarding the colors, it depends on the vibe I want to give to them. If you check my Instagram account, you’ll see that I like to give a theme to each «line» on my feed. That means that the three photos that are on that same line will have the same color scheme. I like and even prefer working with warm tones though, but it really depends on the lighting. Sometimes I like to work with black and white, I feel like a shot can be much more striking in black and white. But as I said, it always depends on the lighting.
I woke up at dawn last April in Paris, and shot the sunrise from Montmartre, which is just at a 10-minute-walk from my apartment. I haven’t posted any photos from this series, but I feel like this is the moment where I really felt like it was just me and my camera. Every time I watch photos from this series again, I just remember how good it felt to just belong right where I was and the joy I felt while taking those pictures.
When in the subway in Paris, I saw things that I see every single day with a different eye. A classic metro station was actually so nice, and the lighting really good. I remember people watching me taking those pictures and probably thinking «what’s so beautiful or nice about this metro station?» Same thing when a metro arrived at the station. I shot the metro, which was stopped, and the people sitting in it. What was so interesting about it? The lighting, the moment, the way that every single person in this subway has a different story, a different life, different problems, and different ways of seeing the world. People stared at me. Why is she taking pictures of such a casual thing? I just didn’t care, that was my story. My day. My casual day in photos. And it gave me the «metro series», which is on my Instagram. Not my best shots, but shots with a story.
The brain allows us to have a memory, but cameras allow us to have an image behind a memory. I can remember exactly what I was thinking about while I was shooting something, so there’s a story behind each one of my photos. It could be anything, and that’s what is interesting about it. The X100V is just the perfect camera to take everywhere with me, and to tell my own story. This camera never leaves me and it’s going to stay this way for a long time.
“I’m Charlotte, a 24-year-old Parisian working in the communications field, and the happy owner of a Fujifilm X100V. “
December 22, 2022 @ 5:06 am
Wonderful love letter to the x100 series. You have a great eye and live in the perfect place to practice photography. I hope you and that x100v have a long and fruitful relationship.
December 26, 2022 @ 3:33 am
I enjoyed reading your article because I can connect with most of it, even your early years. Today, I carry the XT3 or XF10 to sketch my visual daily journal. I really would like an X100# but for now, mine work–especially when using the 27mm pancake.
Thank you for sharing.