This week after more than two months confined, I went 3 days in a row on the streets of Saint-Denis. Don’t get too excited, it was just before going to pick up the kids from school. In the end, quite a bit of time spent on the streets, but it was nice to get back in touch with the playground. Even if I told you that I had taken advantage of the confinement to recharge my batteries a little photographically, I still admit to being impatient to find myself in the streets of Saint-Denis.
My first observation is that nothing has changed … The stores were open, the small Street food vendors are also there. There is just the queue in front of the post office. For the rest it is as before. Besides, there are more people without masks than with. The virus is fairly well contained with us with very few daily cases (we oscillate between nothing and 1 or 2 cases per day). But I think we must remain vigilant. We see young people hanging out together without masks. Whole families walk around without masks too …
So I made my first post lockdown street photos this week. I was happy with these short moments spent in Saint-Denis. I still use my Ricoh GR. Even if I have the last iteration of this camera (the GR3), I still don’t have a crazy desire to go out with it. Why use the GR3 when the GR suits me perfectly ? More Mega Pixels ? Better optics ? Yes, but I am very comfortable with the GR and I don’t want to waste my time taming a new camera … For the moment it is sleeping peacefully in its box. His turn will come … Note I will have to test it because it returned back from Pentax after-sales service. Little reminder: I had returned it shortly because it tended to overheat abnormally at the level of the battery and the LCD screen. Pentax changed the optical unit. We’ll see if it still overheats. Personally, given the feedback I had on this new camera, I think it is more of a design problem. We’ll see when I test it … someday.
A week ago, I received a rather enigmatic email from Ricoh Imaging Europe. Etienne.L who works for Pentax/Ricoh contacted me so that we could tfalk about my photos and future projects. I was quite surprised and wondered if it was spam bullshit. I who had already castigated their attitude in a blog, I thought I was already blacklisted with them … I replied that we could chat by email or by phone. I admit that I was imagining things for myself! Do you believe , Ricoh/Pentax who contacted me to talk about my work and projects ! Yes, right on target ! You have in front of you [wpdiscuz-feedback id=”3kbeecap0x” question=”Do you believe it ???” opened=”1″]the new Ricoh GR ambassador !!!![/wpdiscuz-feedback]
No I’m kidding … Ricoh was just looking for a Street Photographer using GR based in the south of France to make a video to promote their new YouTube channel. Between us, I’m quite happy that they found me because it proves that my photos and blogs on Aix-en-Provence are well referenced on Google. Unfortunately when Etienne.L knew that I no longer lived in mainland France but on Reunion Island, he made me understand that the current health situation did not allow me to go to Reunion for the video (. ..). Yep … I think they wanted street photos from the south of France to promote the Ricoh GR on their YouTube channel. He asked me if he could still share my photos on the Ricoh/Pentax site. I asked what I had to gain from it ? If it was just “visibility” on their site, it didn’t interest me … I would be more open for collaboration or possible projects. Since then it’s radio silence and I don’t think he will get back to me anytime soon.
Once again, Ricoh/Pentax takes us for cash cows. This was already the case during their competition in collaboration with FishEye in October 2018. Use photos of enthusiasts without any consideration to promote the GR line. Christophe Mousset had written a interesting blog at the time on this simulacrum of competition and yet it was part of the prize list ! It’s a bit easy to say “Here, look at the great photos that the GR is capable of making!”. No Mr Ricoh. It doesn’t work like that. The GR is a great camera, but it is not the camera that takes the photos. It’s us photographers who use it. I use the GR because this camera is perfect for the use I make of it, but I can do the same with a Fuji (I also own an XE2), a Sony or even a Leica. My photos are what they are because it is my vision of the world and my way of documenting what is happening on the street.
So NO, I refuse that my work serve as free publicity for you Mr Ricoh. If you think that my work is of any interest for your brand and highlights the GR line, you must offer something other than just visibility on your website because even if I use a camera that you designed, I paid for it with real money. I’m not asking you for money, I don’t care about that. Street Photography is a way of living for me. I’m not ready to cash it out. I remain convinced that many photographers would be ready to accept to offer their work without consideration to be on the site of Ricoh/Pentax. A few years ago I would have accepted so much I was looking for recognition. Not anymore … So Etienne.L, I wish you good luck finding your Street Photographer based in the south of France who uses the Ricoh GR. I can’t even whisper a name in your ear, I don’t know one !
All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GR in the streets of Saint-Denis.