Back to Fuji and the Mayor’s Office

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

Was an interesting week or two. I wanna start by apologizing for not having posted frequently over the past several months. It still surprises me when I get emails from people asking me why I haven’t posted. It still surprises me that anyone even checks these things. To be perfectly honest, the reason I don’t post much is I don’t really feel like I have anything interesting to say. So, take today’s post as a bit of an update.

Iksan, South Korea. Ricoh GRD.

There are a couple of things I have to talk about. The title of the post might be a bit of a hint. As I mentioned in the title I have recently started using a Fujifilm camera again. I tried hard to go back to film full time but it just isn’t worth it anymore for me. The time and money involved is just too much.

I basically now have two cameras that I have been using for some time and feel quite happy with them.

Seoul, South Korea. Ricoh GRD.

The camera I have used for most of the past several months is the ancient Ricoh GRD. It is the original GRD from 2006. I am in love with it. I feel like hiding it under my pillow when I sleep. I refrain though, being a Ricoh it is too fragile for that.

To this point, it couldn’t really be the ONLY camera I have. While it has always worked very well whenever I use a Ricoh I am plagued with this constant feeling of its impending demise. It always happens. I love the GRD so much I bought two more. I have basically decided to buy any one I see. Would really love the special edition crazy anime one as well, ha.

Somewhere between Iksan and Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

This is only the first problem with the camera. The second, is that I find it to be a little “harsh.” In the past, I loved this. I love the strong contrasts and deep blacks. More and more I find myself wanting to get away from that. Nowadays, I appreciate a dreamier look. I never did like things to be too sharp and that is even more the case now. The look of the files from the Fuji kind of remind me of the couple of years I spent with the M5 and an old Summicron.

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

In fact, right now the cameras I have perfectly feel like the digital version of that time. When I had the M5 I was also using a Ricoh film camera. Probably why I feel pretty content now. That was the last time I felt content with my gear. I don’t particularly like talking about gear, but it seems relevant now.

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

On the topic of high contrast black and white photos. For a long time I liked that look. I shot to make that look. Lately, it is just too overdone. People have started to use it as a crutch for shit photos. I’m sick of seeing it. People often use my name when talking about that type of photo. Honestly, my photos aren’t and I’m not sure they ever have been “harsh.” I process as I do because I want them to look as much like the pushed film I used to shoot. I used to push my film by compensating the exposure not with the iso dials. I do the same thing with digital. I do the same thing with the Fuji. I underexpose a stop and push it back with Snapseed. The look is very similar. I’ve had enough of seeing photos with the clarity slider jacked. Especially shite photos.

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

I am not saying my photos are any better. For the most part I don’t think they are. I am just sick of hearing my photos look like someone else’s. I want them to look like mine. We all mimic to start. Mimicry is a way for us to find out style. But at some point people need to forge their own style. That is what I have tried to do whether I’ve been successful or not.

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

Tangents. That should have been the name of this post, ha. On a side note I want to thank all the people that checked out the video I posted in the last post! As a bit of an update I am currently getting read to launch the YouTube channel I have been talking about for a couple of months. The plan is I will release a video along with a blog post every two weeks. This with the hope of making it weekly eventually. I need to blog more. I want to, in fact.

Seoul, South Korea. Fujifilm X100T.

The first video is a bit of an introduction. Expect it to be rough! In the video I talk a little about Seoul and living in Korea as well as a bit about the cameras I use. We didn’t have much time to shoot it but it was fun for sure.

Seoul, South Korea. From the Mayor’s desk. Fujifilm X100T.

I did the intro to the video while sitting in the old mayor of Seoul’s desk, ha. The secretary kindly let us hang out there for a little while on a Sunday afternoon and film our video.

The second, third, and fourth videos will probably be a little more interesting. As planned, the second will be about taking photos of strangers, the third about my editing process, and the fourth about a challenge I made with my buddy Matthew. The challenge involves a George Constanza portrait of one of us, ha. Or at least it may 😉

Probably the last bit of news is that I was kindly given a portfolio page by the ladies and gents over at Lensculture. My photos from Korea were recently given the editors choice there and there will be an interview soon so stay tuned for that!

For those interested you can find my portfolio from their site here:

Seoul, South Korea. Photo co. Jimmy Sng.

Figured I should include the photo I took while sitting in the desk.

If you’re curious, the flash I use on the X100T is the Contax 140. Works a treat so long as you’re okay with manually exposing for it.

My Fujifilm X100T with the Contax TLA140 flash. Case is from Korea maker Gariz. Photo from Jimmy Sng.





  1. Nice! I’ve enjoyed your photography, not because it’s “harsh” but because it does have a fantastic pushed look. It’s refreshing compared to the constant photos of people walking in front of a wall I see. Great article!

  2. Yeah,overuse of the clarity slider is a huge trend. Awful look. Crushes everything. But I don’t agree one should change their ‘style’ because everyone else is doing it at present. If you keep changing your ‘style’ how will you ever find your own?! I also don’t think you, or anyone else should worry what other people do. Looking for an ‘original style’ is…dare I say; pretentious & self defeating. Just continue with your own work. Let’s be honest ; everything is a copy, of a copy, of a copy, of a copy…… Klein/Daido/Petersen/Sobol etc.etc.

    1. People change and/or grow. Our personalities change as does the way we view things. I don’t think my style has really ‘changed’.. my photos here look very similar to those I took years ago. My point was more a matter of in the process of growing people needn’t worry about style. It is what it is. You shoot how you like, what you like and it will look as it does. I didn’t mean to say one should be in constant search of a unique style but more so that one shouldn’t fall into the habit of shooting a certain way because of a style. It is all ridiculous. Just a hobby for most of us after all.

  3. I have a few digital cameras here, and each one has kind of a signature “look” to its photos. I use each one when I want its look. What amuses me about this is how when I shoot film I change the film, not the camera or lens (so much) to get a look I want.

  4. Hey Josh, kudos for LensCulture. Well deserved. You have a unique voice, sliders or not…
    If one day you’ll move to color, I am sure you’ll be just as recognizable (the Crosses image is a precursor?)
    Great stuff as usual in this post.

    1. Thanks! I have been doing more and more of it lately.. you never know. That’s one of my favorite photos. Ironic that it would be in colour.

  5. Hey Josh, a good post, I enjoyed the 24 hour project vid and I look forward to the upcoming series. Whats with the flash on the X100? do you prefer it to the built in flash?

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