I vividly remember the first time I saw a Fujifilm X-Series camera in person. I was in a small independent camera store in Dublin when an X100 practically cried out to me from the shelf. I would love to say it was the cutting-edge features that first attracted me, but, truth be told, it was the vintage range-finder styling and manual exposure dials that first caught my eye. I bought X100 on sight based almost exclusively on how it looked. Little did I know that decision would change the course of my photography career.
That was ten years ago, when I was an aspiring professional photographer trying to break into the industry. I had recently decided to leave behind my previous career, working in the corporate world, to see if I could turn my hobby into something that could pay the bills. At the time, I assumed I would become an underwater photographer. As a keen scuba diver and equally keen photographer, it seemed to make sense to combine the two. I was using a cumbersome dSLR camera in an unwieldy underwater housing and the X100 seemed the perfect companion for capturing those off-duty moments I came across when I wasn’t underwater. But I soon realised the photographs I was capturing with my Fujifilm were speaking to me in ways my underwater images never did. There was just something about the way that camera felt in the hand, the intuitive way the dials worked in harmony with each other, and the storytelling nature of the photographs the X100 captured — it just felt right.
Shortly afterwards, Fujifilm released the X-Pro1, the first camera to use the X-Mount interchangeable lens system, and I was completely hooked. By now, I was using an X100S, the second iteration of the X100 range, alongside my X-Pro1. I really appreciated how this X-Series pairing was powerful enough to capture the moments I discovered but discrete enough not to influence those moments. That was when I first considered changing direction into the world of documentary photography.
By the time the X-T1 launched a couple of years later, I didn’t even own an underwater housing. What had started as an impulse purchase based on little more than looks had taken me down a path into a genre I knew virtually nothing about when I made that first purchase. Since then, my Fujifilm cameras have taken me all over the world. As a documentary photographer, I have worked in more than 50 countries, sharing the stories of the people I meet and the places I visit through the photographs I capture.
Over the years, I have used almost every model of X-Series camera. For the past couple of years, the X-Pro3 and the X100V have been the mainstays of my camera bag. Together they represent the culmination of my journey, both literally and figuratively, with X-Series cameras.