Friday, October 21, 2016

Fujifilm X70... a street journey!

'Fujifilm X70'
Wrist strap by Hyperion Camera Straps

I've been frequently asked by my portrait colleagues... "What's your deal with street photography all about?" For those that have followed my conceptual stylized portraiture work over the years and have come to know me because of that... then it's a valid question and one that deserves an answer. That answer though is longer than what this blog post should be and it's not what this blog post is primarily about. One day i'll give the long version of that answer, but for now in short, it's a part of my photography journey that I needed to explore, to stretch myself in a completely different genre to what i'm known for, to challenge myself in a genre which as a photographer I have no control over. No control of the scene, no control of my lighting, the expressions, no control of what happens in front of my lens when i'm walking the streets. The only control I seem to have is where to point the camera and when to release that shutter. It's almost the exact opposite to the full control I have in my indoor or location studio.

'Fuji X70'
1/400, f8, iso3200

The irony is that losing control in my journey as a photographer has been a frustrating yet at the same time an extremely liberating and rewarding experience. Fittingly i've sort of named this side street journey 'Losing Control' and ultimately I believe it will develop me into a better or even different type of portrait photographer as that's my chosen genre and where my passion lies. I've only been shooting street since about May last year and it was meant to be a 1 year side journey, but almost 18 months later i'm still on this detour in my journey as the answers i've found seem to lead to new questions which I want to find answers to, and those answers will only be revealed to me with time. Confusing? Yes! But i'm loving this part of the journey, I feel like i'm evolving, finding myself as a photographer, an artist. And that's the short of it... The long answer, well it needs it's own pedestal, and at the right time, which isn't now. So... let's go easier on the brain cells and talk about a camera instead!

Fujifilm X70...

I'm not going to get into specs and numbers here, those can be found on the official 'Fujifilm website'. Instead, a type of summary on how i've been using this camera up until now.
So... A couple of months ago I bought myself a Fujifilm X70 to possibly replace my current street camera, the Ricoh GR. When I started shooting street back in May 2015, I had a Fujifilm X100S which I tried on the streets for a few weeks. It was good, not too big, and although the AF wasn't the fastest, it didn't matter much to me as I quickly learnt that on the streets when it comes to speed, zone focusing is your friend. But there were a few things with the X100S as a street camera that didn't appeal to me much and one thing was the fact it wasn't really pocketable and most importantly I found the 23mm (35mm FF equiv.) lens a bit on the long side for me. I wanted something a bit wider with the 18mm (28mm FF equiv.) focal length being more suited to the way I see things.

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso640

Now there is the WCL-X100 teleconvertor for the X100 series cameras which turns it's 23mm lens into an 18mm but it adds more size and weight, not something I found too appealing or discrete on my 5-6 hour street sessions. The X100 series camera has it's place in my kit for it's leaf shutter capability, for my location lit high sync speed portrait work, but for the streets I wanted something different, more nimble. I then discovered the Ricoh GR. An almost perfect camera for the streets, it has a cult status amongst many street photographers, it's small and pocketable, lightweight, APS-C sized sensor, 18mm (28mm FF equiv.) lens and it's what I used until just recently. As good as what it was, the Ricoh GR still wasn't perfect, slow and inaccurate AF in dim lighting, a fixed LCD screen, and anything over ISO 3200 wasn't looking too good. Along comes the Fujifilm X70 with an APS-C sized X-Trans sensor, the same sensor found in their X100T & X-T1 series cameras, film simulations, an 18mm (28mm FF equiv.) lens and only slightly bigger in size/weight than the Ricoh GR. But what really drew me to this camera was the tilt LCD screen, it's retro looks with a solid build quality and the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. A proven sensor I knew too well from my other Fujifilm interchangeable lens bodies. Being familiar with the quality of files coming out of this sensor and it's usable ISO 6400 was pretty much what sold me.

No viewfinder... Bonus!

I know a lot of street photographers sort of scoff at a camera that doesn't have a viewfinder and this camera doesn't have one. We use the LCD screen which I now have a preference to when shooting street. The reason... when I started shooting street using the wider lenses like the 23mm & moreso the 18mm, these focal lengths forced me to get closer to people. One thing I noticed was when shooting candids, people generally tend to notice more a camera being raised up to your eye, and once they notice that, the dynamic in the scene sort of disappears. However people don't tend to notice or care as much when somebody raises a mobile phone or compact camera to take a photograph using the LCD screen to compose. I'm sure there's a psychological explanation to it and i'd think it may have to do with peoples perceptions of what constitutes a more serious photographer or something? I don't really know, but this method of shooting street using an LCD screen to compose and shoot, looking more like a tourist using a compact camera seems to be working for me, so i'm buying it!

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso5000

The other bonus with this camera is that it has a tilt LCD screen, a way of shooting street more discretely is to tilt the screen and shoot from waist level looking down at the camera, in most cases people on the street assume you're fiddling with the camera rather than shooting straight at them. A handy feature i've used quite a bit, a feature i've found more useful to me than using it for what it was probably intended for, shooting odd angles and taking selfies.
Another method of shooting discretely is by using the camera's wi-fi feature. Tethering the camera to your smartphone using the Fujifilm camera remote app and viewing, focusing and releasing the shutter using your smartphone, I haven't used this remote app feature on the streets yet, but I can see the appeal if using two hands, one for the camera and the other for your phone doesn't bother you.

Shooting experience

As good as what the features are offered in cameras these days, to me the shooting and handling experience sort of takes precedence over most other things and one thing I quickly learnt was that in street photography this is perhaps more a point i've taken on board. On the streets the camera really has to be an extension of you, you see a moment which may only last seconds and in that time you have to quickly compose and shoot. In most cases there's no time to start fiddling with settings unless you've found your frame and are just waiting for the right person to come along and complete the image.

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f4, iso1250

The AF works well but it's no speed demon. If I had to compare it to anything in the Fuji lineup i'd say it's as good as the Fuji X100T. In good light it works well, but when things get a bit darker or in shade then it sometimes struggles, nothing unexpected here with a camera of this class and considering i've been shooting with the X-Pro2 for the last 6 months, I notice the difference, it's all relative!
There are many ways people shoot street and in this genre all are valid as long as it works for you in nailing the shots. Some use AF, MF, Manual mode, Program mode, Shutter priority and even Auto modes etc. I've tried all these modes at one time or another and unless a specific situation dictates a specific mode I must use (eg: capturing motion blur -shutter priority) then for speed i'm always in manual mode 1/250s to 1/1000s @ f8, Auto ISO 200-6400, zone focused setting a focus point at 1.5mt. This is what's working for me and covers 90% of my street shooting. I can confidently and quickly just point the camera, compose and shoot knowing i'm at a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the moment and have enough depth of field to get what I want in focus. The only variable here is the ISO which I let the camera decide on it's own with the occasional nudge by me (+ or -) on the exposure compensation dial. I'm not shooting fine art portraits here so noise up to ISO 6400 doesn't worry me at all, if anything it's sort of liberating letting go of that obsession many street photographers have against sensor noise, and i'm liking the bit of grit this noise is giving my b&w street work. This genre is about story, moments, and if anyone's seen some Bresson, Erwitt, Leiter or other prints by the greats up close, you'll know what I mean.

'Fuji X70'
1/250, f8, iso500

I'm shooting raw+jpg with the b&w+r filter for the jpg files. Although Fuji jpg files are the best in the game, having that raw file for more flexibility in post is something I always do, memory cards are cheap these days and i'd hate to be in the situation where the camera may have stuffed the exposure if I was too quick and I only have the jpg file of a keeper shot. A 32GB SD card can hold about 734 photos in raw+jpg, more than enough for a whole day shooting and on average I usually shoot about 200-300 photos on my day street sessions.

Battery life can vary and on average i'm probably switching out batteries almost every 3 hours. I've managed almost a whole day shooting with 3 batteries. Now considering the camera is always on and the LCD is always running, this isn't too bad. Batteries are the small and lightweight NP-95's which the X100 series cameras use so it's not an issue, the only thing is to swap them out when the battery meter goes down to one bar as the battery meter isn't 100% accurate and it can go from one bar to flashing red within a couple of minutes, a common issue in some of the lineup in the X series cameras.

'Fuji X70'
1/250, f8, iso1600

Another feature this camera has is a touch LCD screen, you can touch anywhere on the screen's AF points and it focuses and takes a shot, swipe through photos like on a smartphone during playback, etc. It's a cute type of feature but somehow I didn't find it as responsive speedwise when shooting street. For the way I use this camera on the streets I find the touchscreen feature doesn't do anything for me, a feature i've disabled completely from within the setup menu.

Another neat feature it has is an almost silent leaf shutter like the X100 series. For the guys rocking flash on the streets, it's an added bonus! For me it could also come in handy if I want to shoot one of my speedlight lit conceptual location portraits using high sync speeds like I did 'here' with the X100S.


I've had this camera now for a couple of months, I usually shoot street once a week, so up until now i've had no more than 8 day sessions with it. So far this camera is pretty much what I expected and considering it's only other real contender is the Ricoh GR series, the X70 has come across as a very capable little street camera. The GR has the one handed operation, inbuilt ND filter, slightly smaller and lighter weight going for it. The X70 has the tilt LCD screen, X-Trans sensor, film simulations, higher ISO quality and a more solid build. For street photography they're both more than capable and having enough experience with the Ricoh GR up until recently, I just sold it in favour of the Fujifilm X70. As similar as what these cameras are, in all honesty for me the tilt LCD screen and higher ISO file quality is what ultimately tipped me over towards the Fujifilm X70. 

'Fuji X70'
1/250, f8, iso500

Fujifilm over the last few years have become serious in catering to photographers shooting a variety of genres and it was a nice surprise earlier this year to see them come out with a camera that is so suited to street photography. This only tells me that if they can bring out a camera like this as their first generation X70... i'd say we'll be in for a treat when they bring out the X80 or whatever they'll call it in a year or two if they continue this line. With their medium format and lens announcements made at Photokina recently, Fujifilm have been doing all the right things and are now considered a serious player amongst enthusiasts and professionals alike. Whatever system you're using, it's a great time to be a photographer!

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso5000

'Fuji X70'
1/250, f8, iso250

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso6400

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso1600

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso2000

'Fuji X70'
1/1000, f8, iso6400

'Fuji X70'
1/500, f8, iso6400

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Book review... 'A snapshot of Melbourne'

© 2016 The Worldwide Publishing Empire

What's better than a good street photography book? A good street photography book comprising of images both past & present from your own city.
Firstly, i'm a portrait photographer, it's what i'm recognized for before any other photographic genre. And although I have been acquiring a selection of photography books over the years, the irony is that

Monday, August 01, 2016

Fujifilm X-Photographer...

'Fujifilm X-Photographers'

As a dual Greek-Australian citizen I was honored to have just recently been notified that i've been selected by 'Fujifilm' as an official 'Fujifilm X-Photographer', a brand ambassador for the Greek division of Fujifilm cameras. No, it's not a paid position and nobody tells you what to say or do. It's more a collaborative type arrangement where usually the company may lend you some gear to try out and expect from you honest feedback for them and for the end users. Sometimes the feedback is researched and implemented into their systems, other times it isn't, but ultimately

Thursday, June 30, 2016

GOLD! PX3 Paris 2016...

'Sanday' Gold award at PX3 Prix De La Photographie Paris 2016

Waking up in the morning with good news that eventuated on the other side of the planet whilst you're sleeping is a surefire way to get you out of the right side of the bed in the morning!
Honoured to have found out that my photograph 'Sanday' received a first place gold award in the professional childrens portrait category in the prestigious '2016 PX3 (Prix de la Photographie Paris 2016)' international awards!
Last year I received a second place silver award for my photo 'Silverleaves' and the year before that in 2014 a first place gold award for my photo 'Laundrette', so i've had a good run with the PX3 awards since 2014!
However this year's award is a bit more special to me. This photo of my daughter happens to be one of my favourite pieces from my whole body of work. It has something surreal about it that I haven't been able to put into words, i've always wanted to do my own interpretation of the Mona Lisa, perhaps this is it, I don't really know, but ever since taking this photo i've been in no rush to do it.

Earlier this year this photo was also selected to be a part of the Fujifilm X-World gallery exhibition in Tokyo Japan during the official X-Pro2 announcement.

'Sanday' on exhibit during the Fujifilm X-World gallery in Tokyo Japan earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of David Hobby.

For those interested in the technicals, the awarded photograph was taken using an off camera speedlight through a shoot thru umbrella synced at 1/1000s with the Fujifilm X100S' camera lens wide open at f2 whilst we spent a few days down the coast having some family time off.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Moscow International Foto Awards 2016...

Moscow International Foto Awards 2016 awarded entries.

Honoured to have found out the other day that a few entries I submitted a couple of months back were awarded in the professional categories of the 'Moscow International Foto Awards 2016'.
Congratulations to all the other awarded entrants. A pleasure seeing some familiar names participate and do so well amongst some very strong work at an international level!

I've also received a few emails from some people wanting to know the cameras I used for these images. The top two photos and the one in the middle were taken with the Fujifilm X100S and an X-T1 with an XF10-24/4 lens.
The bottom two were taken with a Pentax K3 shortly before I switched to the Fujifilm system for all my work. Yes! And before I get asked again... The Fujifilm system is more than capable for this type of work and the sensor is more than capable at printing large exhibition size prints with fine detail!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

X-Pro2... a brief evaluation.

A few months ago back in March I finally got my hands on the much anticipated Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera. For most photographers that aren't familiar with the hype that was surrounding it's release, you've been spared the crowd noise that came with it. Shortly following it's release the reviews started coming in thick and fast and the camera is still being and will continue being reviewed by photographers that perhaps want to give it some more time before drawing any detailed final conclusions. I'm not going to review this camera in any in-depth way at all as most reputable...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Losing control...

As most already know, my genre in photography is stylized conceptual portraiture. It's what i'm known for and what I enjoy the most, creating something slightly surreal out of nothing more than an idea. It's been the type of work where i've had complete control from the idea stage, the aesthetics to the technicals, from the beginning right to the very end and it's been reflected with a successful body of work produced over the years that we're proud of. However sometimes we reach a point where things get too comfortable, almost easy, and as tempting as it is, throwing money into bigger personal projects is not the solution in creating more emotive and meaningful work, for me.

So almost a year ago I decided to take a detour in my photography journey by shooting street photography, a type of psychological reset for myself. A genre i've had no past experience with as it's way out of my comfort zone and the only genre that was really going to challenge me on many levels. Up until recently I thought of this as a detour in my journey, but it may be a bridge instead. If it's a detour then i'll be back on the main road again but with a different perspective on my portraiture, if it's a bridge then it'll lead me towards a different style of portraiture. Either way, a win situation as the whole purpose in this psychological reset is to ultimately further myself as a photographer that's looking for meaning, knowingly i'll come out a better portrait photographer because of it. After all, we still have many more awesome concepts to shoot with Athena!

In the meantime, i've put together a brief slideshow on a selection of my street work i've shot in the last 11 months documenting my journey. This side street project i've called 'Losing Control' as that's what i've felt since this detour. I have no control in the streets like I do in my chosen genre, the only control I have is where to point the camera and when to press the shutter. Like my known work with Athena it was never intended as a project but with time it's sort of evolved into one. And I always believe the best projects are usually the ones that never start off as projects but sort of evolve into them. The irony... I've found losing control frustrating, yet very liberating.

Thank you to everyone that's been riding this creative journey with us, we hope it never ends!

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

What's in my kit bag...

A few weeks back the team at got in contact with me wanting to know what's in my usual kit bag. 'Click here' to find out how simple I usually keep it!


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Copyright breaches...

In this day and age of the internet, social media and other forms of instant networked communication I still don't understand why some so called 'artists' want to risk their reputation and the repercussions of litigation taken against them by copying other peoples works without asking permission and then trying to pass it off as their own and thinking they can get away with it.

It's unfortunate and as many people already know, i've been a victim of this many times over the years but in many ways i'm also fortunate that my works are well recognized amongst many photographers and artists alike worldwide and i'm usually informed almost immediately once a copyright breach against me is discovered.

The latest copyright breach of my photo 'Pears' by an oil painter made the news in the U.S media recently. Again... no permission was sought or any credit referenced back to my original photograph by the copyright infringer.

(Thanking San Diego based photographer Erika Thornes in bringing this copyright infringement to my attention. Shortly after this copyright breach against me occurred I was also interviewed by blogger Mandy Schoch regarding the situation. A link to this blog post interview is here: 'Bill Gekas has been copied... again!')

Most times these copyright breaches take place it usually happens to be by painters or digital artists and only in a few circumstances has it been by other photographers.
Now one thing I have to mention is that I also receive many emails from painters doing the right thing and asking for permission to paint the works and respecting my ultimate decision. However, only in a handful of instances have I given permission for the works to be reproduced of which a mandatory requirement was that credit must have been referenced back to the original work and all correspondence of how the works were to be used for of which I have full records of.
If my works have been copied as paintings or in any other medium with no credit referenced back to me and the original work then it's a copyright breach of which I gave no authorization to.

Another thing i've discovered as to why it's usually painters doing the wrong thing by me and other photographers is that painters and photographers in most cases hang around in different circles. The unscrupulous artists rely on the fact that they won't be caught out as their circle won't intersect with the other circle... But here's the thing, sometimes these circles do intersect and the more well known the works are, the higher the chance you'll be called out. Now is risking your whole reputation as a respected artist worth it? Simply put, true artists understand and respect other artists works, bullshit artists don't!

Some of my more frequently copied work by painters.
'Red Beret, Potatoes, Pleiadian & Cherries'

Any respected artist who takes their work seriously and expects others to take their work seriously too have to be aware of international copyright laws. There is 'The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works' of which these 'countries' are signatories to and which makes international litigation proceedings a feasible prospect. Then there's also the internet and the social media weapon. The naming and shaming which can be just as detrimental if not moreso than litigation. Many years of hard work and earning some sort of respect in the arts community can be destroyed in an instant by being caught out, it just takes one act of stupidity. Is it worth it?

I've now decided to take the approach of both litigation where it'll be worth my while and naming and shaming when it's not. I've even had a suggestion by some of my friends and social media followers to create a new gallery with my copied works next to my original pieces, perhaps calling this gallery 'The Wall Of Shame!?'

The internet and it's powerful reach is a double edge sword for those that want to play against the rules and the approach i'll be taking now is simply compiling a list of the copyright breaches of my work i've come across over time and taking appropriate measures whether through litigious channels or using my social media reach in exposing the copyright infringers. It doesn't matter whether it's a commercial entity churning the dollars or a one man artist calling it an interpretation, because at the end of the day i'll be calling it bullshit and calling it out loudly!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

KL Int'l Photoawards 2015...

'My two finalist images to be exhibited in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this year'

Honored to announce that for the fifth year in a row i'm one of the finalists in the 'Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards 2015'.
This year the judges accepted two of my images for the upcoming exhibition and awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, one image in the open category and one image in the themed category.

As most people that follow and know my work also know what my participation level is in awards and exhibitions, this is the first time my award works have been shot with the 'Fuji system' that i'm contemplating in moving over to for all my future projects and portfolio work.
As per previous years the images for exhibition will be printed large and i'm more than confident the Fuji X-Trans sensor files will hold up well in print to meet any exhibition gallery requirements.

My finalist images and other finalists works will be exhibited and on display at White Box Gallery, PUBLIKA, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between 1st August - 15th August 2015.

More information regarding the exhibition and award ceremony can be found on their official website here:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My affair with Fuji...

As most people know I've been shooting with the Pentax system since I started photography when I was shooting film using a Pentax ME-Super and K1000 bodies which I still have in some cupboard somewhere. I never considered switching systems as the Pentax system was always adequate for what I was doing and once they brought out their digital bodies I continued with their digital cameras as I could use my older manual focus prime lenses on their latest bodies. By that time I also had invested enough into the system that switching to any other system would have been a costly exercise with no real gain or benefit with my work so i've been happily doing what I do with the system, but after almost 20 years of shooting with Pentax i'm now at a crossroads.

My Fuji x100s looking like a street camera!
Last year I decided I wanted a camera to carry with me everywhere. Sort of a point and shoot but with similar image quality to my dslr. My iPhones have been serving that camera always on you purpose well over the years but if I wanted to print something a bit bigger than a 4x6" print it would start to fall apart pretty quickly. iPhone cameras are great for sharing images online but they're lacking in exposure controls and there's only so much a small sensor can do regardless of the megapixels they keep trying to squeeze in.
So I looked into it a bit and liked the Fuji x100s. It had a fast fixed focal length lens equivalent to a 35mm lens which is great as i'm usually a wide to normal focal length shooter, a thoughtful layout of dials, image quality like most dslr's, a leaf shutter lens that allows syncing a speedlight at high sync speeds, inbuilt 3 stop ND filter, great looking, and all that in almost a pocketable size. So this camera ticked all the boxes for me and I decided to go with it but not as a replacement for my dslr, but as a carry with me everywhere type camera, a camera I never really considered using for my project work until earlier this year.

Earlier this year I wanted to shoot a few of my concepts using a wide aperture whilst maintaining exposure in the sky and lighting my subject in brighter ambient. A technique which can be pulled off with most modern dslr cameras but would involve attaching ND filters in front of the lens and then using a studio strobe to compensate for that, the unfortunate sync speed limitation of most common dslr's. This is where the Fuji x100s' leaf shutter sync speed capability and inbuilt ND filter comes in to play. Syncing a manual speedlight at 1/1000s makes my AA battery powered speedlight equivalent in power to a small studio strobe. David Hobby (aka. strobist) has a great article here on this and explains it in a lot better detail, once you get it, you just get it! (For those that don't know David's strobist blog I highly recommend it if lighting is your thing. It's the lighting 101 & 102 tutorials I learnt my lighting techniques from a few years back and an invaluable lighting resource I still refer people to.)

Below are some of my project images I created using the Fuji x100s. As great as what the jpg files are straight out of this camera I usually shoot raw as this gives me more leeway with the post processing work.

'Silverleaves' - Fuji x100s, 1/800s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera left.

'Sanday' - Fuji x100s, 1/1000s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera left.

'Bookend' - Fuji x100s, 1/60s, f2, iso400, overcast window light camera right.

'Sea Maiden' - Fuji x100s, 1/640s, f2, iso200, speedlight in STU camera right.

Now here's the thing that may surprise a few but i'm not a fan of cameras and all their accessories as i've realized over the years that the camera and all it's accessories are usually the obstacle in the creation process, the psychological bulk! Let's face it, we're putting this mass manufactured contraption in front of our faces when we do photography, we have to rely and use this device to make our art, if that's not the main obstacle between ourselves and what we're shooting on a connection level, then what is? But as it stands that's how the medium of photography has been and currently is and if we're to continue pursuing our craft we have to run with it or at least try minimize that obstacle.

And this is why i'm at a bit of a crossroads to whether i'll switch across to the Fuji system or continue shooting Pentax. One of the reasons i've stayed with Pentax so long is that their dslr cameras are very intuitive and ergonomically well designed. I never cared too much what canikon were doing as my main reason for shooting Pentax was that it was as close to a transparent camera to me as what I could find and less an obstacle than what I found the other bigger systems were. It worked and I thought all was good until I recently started putting the Fuji x100s through it's paces from using it as a simple point and shoot to creating portfolio images as displayed here using off camera lighting techniques with some planned production. The Fuji x100s seemed more transparent, it just felt like an extension of my vision and has also been giving me the same nostalgic joy I had when I was shooting film but without the mess and expense associated with film.

'Grapes' - Fuji x100s, 1/320s, f3.6, speedlight in octabox camera right.

Over the last few conceptual shoots i've done with it i'm now convinced that the Fuji system seems more than capable as a system I may be switching over to for my type of work. However I can't just use the x100s as my main and only camera as the fixed focal length would restrict me in a few situations. The other option is keeping and shooting both systems but that's not on the cards as i'm trying to minimize both the physical and psychological bulk in my workflow. There can only be one system in my bag and dropping the Pentax will feel like an expensive divorce after 20 years, but things move forward and sometimes change can be a good thing even if it's just on a psychological level.

Every system has it's strengths and weaknesses and all systems are more capable than what we are photographers. At the end of the day the difference can even just be psychological, but if that's the difference in translating to a better user experience and the system becoming less an obstacle in the creative process, all the better! I'll let you know whatever I eventually decide on.

Monday, March 23, 2015

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 opening night...

Reception counter at the National Portrait Gallery with a crop of my finalist image 'Odysseus' promoting the exhibition.

We just got back from 'Canberra' yesterday from what seemed like a surreal couple of days where we were at the opening of the National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 hosted and run by the 'National Portrait Gallery' in Canberra.
I was informed in November that my image 'Odysseus' was shortlisted as one of the 44 finalist images from a pool of over 2500 entries from Australian photographers.

'Odysseus' NPPP 2015 finalist image by Bill Gekas

Although i've been following this exhibition for a few years now it seems like the entries are getting stronger every year and i'd hate to be any of the judges trying to select the shortlist and ultimately the winning image from such a field of talent.
I spent quite some time viewing each of the 44 selected images on exhibit and there weren't any that I didn't like, they all had a certain strength and story about them that reflects where photographic portraiture in Australia currently lies.
Other than the champagne flowing that night, the other highlight was 'David Stratton' and 'Margaret Pomeranz' announcing the overall winner of the prize which was awarded to Iranian born Melbourne based photographer Hoda Afshar with her image 'Portrait of Ali'.

Overall it was a great opening night and an awesome after party where I got to meet and socialize with most of the other finalists and gallery crew, but due to the pace of the evening and huge crowd I did miss a few people which was unfortunate. It was great that Athena and my wife Nikoleta also accompanied me on the short trip and the number of people that recognized Athena from my body of work was also something that we didn't quite expect but was very welcome by her.

A huge honour my image was shortlisted and is now hanging at the National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition is on display at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra between the 21st March - 8th June 2015 before travelling on a touring exhibition to 'Mackay', 'Cairns', 'Bundaberg' & 'Rockhampton' until April 2016.

Congratulations to all other finalists and a huge thank you to the gallery and staff for creating such a memorable experience.

Below are some quick iPhone snaps from the last few days.

On the way to Canberra.

Opening night. The crowd kept getting bigger.

David Stratton & Margaret Pomeranz announcing the winner.

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

National Photographic Portrait Prize 2015 exhibition (following day).

Winning image by Hoda Afshar 'Portrait Of Ali'.

All good things come to an end. On the way back to Melbourne.