Fuji-X

Attending Photokina 2016

Photokina 2016 in Cologne was an exhilarating experience getting to know a wider photographic community on all levels and from all spectrums

The icing on the cake was bring in the good company of Fujifilm’s X-photographers, and seeing my work displayed at such a big and important show in Europe.

For starters, Photokina is the world’s largest photo and video trade fair held in biennially Europe (where you can’t actually purchase anything. Announcements, impressions and try-outs only). It incidentally has one of the longest traditions, starting out in 1950 and this year at Koelnmesse, it clocked its largest ever attendance of 191,000 visitors.

Just imagine the amount of tech geeks conglomerated here!

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer

So, I am extremely lucky to have a 7-metre long piece of gallery wall in the X-Gallery dedicated to a photo essay about the disappearing Hutongs in Beijing, later on also featured on News Decoder. 

Since the wall to my gallery is painted green, I guess this is now the colour of my blood. I came on board officially as an X-photographer two months ago and this being my first outing with the camera brand, I was eager to meet the Fuji team from Japan as well as get to know the other X-photographers – turn virtual into reality.

On Day 0 after the pre-opening press conference where Fujifilm announced development and early 2017 release of the GFX (world’s first mirrorless medium format camera), I could not wait for Photokina to begin.

photokina-mindytan-fujifilm-x-photographer-1
Mr Toru Takahashi speaking at the press conference about Fujifilm’s decision to develop the mirrorless medium format GFX.

Of all, the most lasting impressions was really listening to photographers speak about their work. You can learn a lot, reading directly from their body language, reading between the lines, or simply sticking around absorbing positive enigmatic energy.

Kevin Mullins from the UK gave talks on documentary wedding photography – a genre that makes up a big part of my routine. The crowd stayed and were swayed.

Ken Kaminsky from Canada spoke about uprooting himself to seek change and works commercially as a travel photographer.

Bert Stephani from Belgium gave very relevant and useful tips about portable lighting techniques.

Tutorial king Zack Arias who needs no introduction and can always be found teaching online, was great fun to watch up close.

David Hobby of Strobist fame, sounds exactly like he writes, funny & straightforward, very candid and big picture.

Maurizio Faraboni, whose images about leprosy and his dedication to his personal project…made me tear…

 

I also managed some time to catch other talks at Nikon and Leica: Ami Vitale on how she gets her shots,

Joel Marklund speaking about his Rio Olympics camera set-ups and experience

Jakob de Boer hinted at finesse and poetry in printing photographic works and falling in love with holding a print in your hands.

There were so many talks and lectures, it would be a sport more difficult that catching Pokemons moving from hall to hall if you gotta catch ‘em all.

The Leica gallery showcased a glossy, larger-than-life installation of Bruce Gilden’s Faces, and the photography of masters like Alex Webb.

What really took down the walls of Jericho was meeting Mr Toru Takahashi, President of Fujifilm Europe and the team of camera designers.  Suddenly there were faces to a brand. Not just layers of PR employees paid to represent the product. Suddenly after years of being a consumer at the receiving end of the camera, there were real people behind a camera! Hello, Craftsmanship!

Here was a guy who could stand up and say “I am designing the sensor” – wow!

Here was the president in a one-to-one conversation politely asking “If we could just make one more lens to add to the X-series, what sort of lens do you want?”

Over drinks, another designer was saying “Yes, during the development phase we work very very intensely to release firmware updates very fast.”

He also said, “My main role is to design the film simulation Acros. Please, please please continue using it and continue to give us your feedback.”

These people are my real-life heroes. The intensity of it all… oh… this is marvellous.

Connecting with a brand becomes so much easier when you understand that the philosophies it has laid out on paper aren’t just blank statements but are practiced day-to-day in all seriousness for being ahead of innovation.

They take photographer’s opinions seriously and make the effort to communicate directly, not through a PR machine. Fujifilm isn’t paying me to write this, the opinions are my own.

I leave you below with more images and impressions from Photokina 2016, and some portraits of the people I met.

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
The morning’s entrance to Photokina at Koelnmesse
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
With Mr Toru Takahashi, President of Fujifilm Europe.

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Media rushing to take photographs of the new Fujifilm medium format GFX, minutes after it was officially announced.

 

 

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Ivan Joshua Loh, fellow X-photographer from Singapore, flanked by Shawn Chung, chief editor of NXT
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
The Singapore Fuji team, there’s no where to go but up
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Billy and Greg, from the Fuji Guys Youtube channel
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
End of Day 0
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Photokina 2016 – Nikon’s Key Mission a scene-stealer
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Photokina 2016 – at the gates awaiting the offical 10am opening on Day 1.

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Singapore’s Sony Alpha photographers meets Fuji X photographer over lunch – Darren Soh, Bryan van der beek, (Mindy Tan), Chester Chen, Edward Adios and Kelvin Koh
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
On site with the Sony team from Singapore – Darren Soh and Bryan Van der Beek
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Behind the scene Fujifilm managers Favian Loo, Kunio Ao and Takayuki Takahashi
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Fujifilm camera design team from Japan – the people responsible for the design of the GFX
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Fujifilm top team Hiroyuki Saito and Makoto Ooishi taking a breather
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Ken Kaminesky, commercial travel photographer shares how he gets paid to travel the world

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Getting Lost among the Halls of Photokina. Polaroid bags with the smiley faces were such a hit.
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Ivan Joshua Loh, Singapore X-Photographer

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Bert Stephani, Belgium X-Photographer giving a talk on ‘Small lights, Big results’

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
X-Photographer Ines Thomsen from Austria giving studio tips

 

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Trying out Hasselbald cameras
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Talks, talks and more talks
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Bruce Gilden at the Leica Gallery

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer

Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Patrick La Roque-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Did you know the X-Photographers have an Olympic Gold Medallist in our midst? Not once, but a three-times gold medallist. That’s Peter Reed.
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Kevin Mullins, UK X-Photographer, love his wedding documentaries
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Man of the moment Hiroyuki Satio, GM for sales
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Straight out from the Rollei booth
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Kevin Mullins in the sun, XT2, shot on jpeg. Amazing the amount of details in there
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Haryanto R-Indonesia Fujifilm X-Photographer
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Toshi Iida, da boss!
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Looking like a scene out from a painting. It’s not yet the last supper
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Sitting with the Italian X-Photographers entourage
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
A tripod that doubles up as assistant – Kunio Ao & Patrick La Roque
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Fingers of Maurizio Faraboni, his work is stunningly painful and gripping.
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Peter Reed and Makoto Ooishi
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Bald is beautiful
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Kunio, thanks for everything.
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
With Fujifilm’s R&D manager Tetsuro Ashida – through him the Acros film is simulated!
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Bert Stephani-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Managers, developers and photographers all together now! Makoto Ooishi, Jonas Rask, Patrick La Roque, Tetsuro Ashida, Charlene Winfred and Fleming Bo Jensen
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Zack Arias, educator and X-photographer
Photokina 2016 - Mindy Tan-Fujifilm X-Photographer
Me. A shot I found in my camera.

 

 

 

Mindy Tan is a documentary photographer, accepting assignments worldwide. She specializes in story-telling, in weddings, travel and documenting personal causes. Her work can be seen on www.mindytan.com and www.mindytanweddings.com

One Comment

  • Anton Zabielskyi

    So many inspirational guys on pictures)) Enjoyed article very much, thanks for sharing;) And if I remember right, that`s you who helped me to make a photo with Ivan Joshua on GFX press event)) So thanks one more time ) Hope to see you guys again somewhere. Greetings from Ukraine

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