Seeing the world through my eyes
Quick little introduction of myself, my name is Alberto Diaz, and I’m 23 years old. I was born and raised in Miami my whole life and I am obsessed with the art of photography.
I think I’ve pinpointed the origin of my love for photography somewhere in my teenage years. Growing up, I always enjoyed taking photos. I always had a little digital point-and-shoot camera that I would carry around. At family parties, I was the designated photographer since, according to them, I took really good photos. Of course, being an adult now and looking back, it’s normal to hype up a little kid even if it wasn’t good. However, at the time, I really enjoyed being told that I was good at it. Fast forward about 6-7 years, and I am sitting in an Intro to Photography class in high school as an elective. Initially, I chose the class cause I figured it would be a class I could slack off in and get an easy A. The assignments were cool because they taught me about specific techniques that I didn’t know at the time such as how to use editing softwares and properly compose an image. My least favorite aspect was the limiting factor since I had to follow the professor’s requirements. This is what led me to venture out and take photos for myself. At first, I mainly took photos when I would travel to other places because my initial thought was, “I need to go far in order to get nice photos.” It wasn’t till I graduated highschool that I realized I don’t need to go far at all.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/10 . 1/9″ . ISO 160
I bought my first ever legit DSLR fresh out of highschool. It was the Canon 5D MarkIV, I know what you’re thinking, this is one crazy DSLR for a beginner. However, since I was a beginner and I had a bit saved up, my thought process was I need the best to shoot the best. I quickly learned that was not the case, so I sold the 5D MarkIV for a Sony A7RII. I had been watching a lot of YouTube videos at the time, and I noticed a lot of people were making the switch to Sony and talking about full-frame mirrorless. I really enjoyed shooting the Sony, but it just wasn’t enough. Sony has incredible range when it comes to editing, but the photos just felt too bland for me, I felt like something was missing. This is when I fell down the rabbit hole of film photography. I was quickly captivated by the rawness of film and how unforgiving it was. I spent hours on YouTube learning everything and anything about film photography, from shooting it to developing and scanning it at home.
RIGHT: Sony A7 MK II . 1/320″ . ISO 800
My subject matter evolved a lot during my film days, I went from shooting portraits and events with my Sony to shooting scenes that resonated with myself. There was something about the process of film photography that allowed me to express myself like no other method I’ve previously tried. My go-to camera was my Minolta X700, but I started with a Pentax K1000 because I figured I should jump in the deep end of the pool and shoot fully manual with no assists. There was definitely a lot of trial and error, but it was 100% worth it. I shot strictly film for about 3 years in which I developed as a photographer more than ever before. During that time, I used a wide range of cameras and film stocks. I shot with Nikon F3 (this is my current go-to film camera), Contax T2, Mamiya 7, and Mamiya 645. I really enjoyed the warm tones of Portra 400 & 160, but I also shot a lot of the “cheap” drugstore film such as Fuji Superia and Kodak Gold.
RIGHT: Minolta X-700 . Kodak Portra 400
RIGHT: Nikon F3 . Kodak Portra 400
I’m sure you’re asking yourself, if film did so much for you for so many years, why leave it behind and go back to digital? Well, my friend, what really made me make the switch was the rising prices of film. Around 2020 when Covid was in full effect, I started to look into a digital camera since there were rumors of price increases. It was bound to happen, film was slowly dying and the shortage in resources and personnel did not help with rising popularity of film in the community. I have a friend that shot with a Fujifilm camera and he always raved about how fun it was to shoot. I started to do a bit of research and decided to start small (unlike the Canon 5D MarkIV lol) and get the Fujifilm X100V. I immediately fell in love with how tactile the shooting experience was. Coming from a Sony digital camera, I was used to endless menus and having to click a bunch of buttons to change the settings. With the X100V I have my aperture ring, ISO dial, shutter speed dial, and exposure compensation dial. It was just like the film cameras I was used to! Additionally, Fujifilm’s color science is worlds ahead of any other brand. I was getting jaw-dropping photos right out of the camera.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/8 . 1/320″ . ISO 160
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/11 . 1/120″ . ISO 160
Present day, I own both a Fujifilm X100V and an X-Pro3 that I use with some of my manual Nikon and Minolta lenses from my film days. My current style is very minimal and dreamy and I tend to gravitate to landscape/architecture scenes. I enjoy harsh lighting that showcases how shadows interact with the environment. I would say the best hours to shoot are either early morning or mid-afternoon. Color theory is a huge thing that attracts me as well, I look for how different colors work alongside one another. As far as post-processing goes, I don’t really do much! I use FujiXWeekly film simulations so for the most part the photos come out awesome straight out of the camera. I do tweak minor things on Lightroom but it’s just your basic sliders such as highlights and shadows and what not.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/16 . 1/90″ . ISO 160
In conclusion, I would say photography has changed my life in ways I can’t describe. My style has come a long way since I started. I am not sure if it’s because I’ve grown as a person or my choice of camera (or both). All I know is that the way I view the world has forever changed. I see everything as if it was through the lens of a camera. I must say, the switch to Fuji has been the single greatest decision I’ve made in my photography career to this day. Overall, photography is something I will carry for the rest of my life and I hope I can inspire others to do the same.
RIGHT: Fuji X100V . f/16 . 1/200″ . ISO 160
RIGHT: Fuji X-Pro3 . Fuji XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 @170.50mm . f/4.8 . 1/3800″ . ISO 160
RIGHT: Fuji X-Pro3 . 1/800″ . ISO 800
RIGHT: Fuji X-Pro3 . 1/1000″ . ISO 400
Alberto Diaz is a Miami photographer whose images convey a dreamlike vibe that feels ethereal. He is inspired by the interaction of colors and shadows in its environment. Artists use their mediums as a form of expression and thus Alberto uses images in place of words.
(Profile photo credits: @depotmsa)