Photo Essay: Candids from The SXSW Dell Experience

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 – Austin, Texas

Continuing with the Dell Technologies event I mentioned yesterday, I was in full street photography mode — snapping candids. I documented a cross-section of the participants and the experience. My coverage from SXSW 2022 is more ambitious than ever. COVID has canceled SXSW 2020 and 2021, and I felt excited about the returning Austin events. While my pre-COVID South By coverage from 2017 – 2019 revolved around candid portraits. This year, I captured a variety beyond my usual.

I had my big camera, the Fujifilm GFX 50S II, tucked in the bag and out of sight. It was too big and intimidating for these situations. Instead, I used my friendly and compact Fujifilm X100V. Whether true or not, I feel like I have superpowers with this camera. In an environment like this, the retro-inspired device doesn’t attract attention or put subjects at ease. I feel like I can shoot away without causing a commotion.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

After using it regularly for three months, I feel one with the X100V’s controls. The 35mm equivalent is flexible enough for most situations — it’s the perfect travel and documentation device. I’ve also had practice from my first go around, in 2014, with the X100S — the second version of this camera. The 100V is Fuji’s fifth iteration with an updated build, better image quality, and fast focusing. It addresses all the gripes I had with the 100S version.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

I played extensively with Fuji’s legendary film simulations, using Classic Chrome, Classic Negative, and Astia in this photo essay. Instead of shooting JPEG and baking in the film simulation, I shoot RAW. In Capture One, I can select the simulation in post, thus picking the look that best fits the mood. For the DJ, I used Classic Negative.

I can also tweak the look of the simulation since I still retain the full power of RAW. A game-changer for me in terms of crafting a look. I can do this with other Fuji cameras, too — including the GFX 50S II.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas
The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

Dell rented the entire warehouse and had two floors of activities. On the lower floor, product showcases and seating. The open-air upper floor had a more party-like vibe with a larger crowd.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

The small and fast focusing camera allows me to shoot close. I know I’m not invisible. But it feels that way. The camera gives me confidence and, in turn, makes for better pictures. Candid street photography requires guts — the subject senses fear or timidity. That’s part of the fascinating psychology of street shooting.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas
The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

I’ve noticed my architectural photography style, at times, has seeped into my street framing. In these two examples, I framed the subjects in the center and perfectly perpendicular. I like the sense of balance, tension, and precision.

The Dell Experience, SXSW 2022 - Austin, Texas

Austin is a friendly place, and SXSW attendees are generally happy. Making candids in this environment is comparably easy. So I don’t claim to be an expert in this type of photography — though I enjoy it. Shooting like this in New York or in a hostile situation is different. That would require a level of experiece that I don’t possess. I suppose it’s like moving from the minor league to the majors.

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2 thoughts on “Photo Essay: Candids from The SXSW Dell Experience

  1. As another Capture One user, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the software, in particular your workflow and what tool you use most frequently.

    1. Hi Rene, I’ve used Capture One for 6 years. I originally moved to it since it’s interface and compatibility with Apple’s Aperture was superior to Lightroom.

      I’ve never been a fan of Lightroom’s different modes and find Capture One more natural for my flow. I use it to do all my post-processing and library management. I really don’t use any other software. And, all of my blog posts are post processed and shot in RAW.

      These days, I’m shooting Fujifilm — the Fuji GFX 50S II and the Fuji X100V. The two pair together well.

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