I told you that I had started working on a book that would bring together photos of my 3 years spent in the streets of Aix-en-Provence. I have already made a selection of about 130 photos. I had paused this project because I was not satisfied with the processing of some old photos. The problem is that I no longer had control over these photos because I had lost the RAW files during a hard drive crash. Finally, I accidentally dropped the HDD on the ground and since then it no longer worked. I still waited 4 years before looking into the issue. So I sent the faulty HDD for a clean room data recovery. It cost me the tidy sum of € 800 …
So I recovered all of my RAW files from when I was using the Fuji XE2. These photos are all from 2016. The year I started doing Street Photography. My photos are deeply rooted in this not so distant time and yet I no longer recognize myself in these photos. I don’t deny the work I have done, but I don’t see myself in this aggressive processing. I had discovered Street Photography with Eric Kim who is a big Blogger who popularized this photographic style. Besides, I must admit that I copied his style because I liked what he did. I loved those dirty, grainy, high contrast photos. Since then my photographic style has evolved and I regretted not being able to retouch my old photos from 2016 … so I’m happy to have got my hands back on these RAW files to update photos that will surely be part of my book on Aix en Provence. I will present you some photos of 2016 re-processed in 2020. The difference is quite noticeable. I used reVision program which compiles the two photos to have a “before” “after”. You just need to move the vertical white bar.
This photo is not part of my Aix-en-Provence selection, but I wanted to re-process it because even if it has a certain charm with its burnt whites, its deep shadows, its dirty side, I wanted to work this photo as I will in 2020. It was a shock to me to see the newly edited photo. All these details of the face which were drowned in a contrast too pushed to the extreme.
This photo is one of the photos selected for my book. There are several things here. I didn't like this processing taken to the extreme and the 2020 retouch is much more balanced with less clarity and with better controlled contrast. The 2016 photo is also cropped. I had things to prove in 2016 and I mistakenly thought that you have to be very close to people to make a successful photo. In the end, this photo is much more interesting not cropped.
Here again, the ultra aggressive post-processing harms the photo and cropping to have the straight horizon is unnecessary. I much prefer the 2020 version which offers much more detail in whites and blacks. This photo is not part of my initial selection on Aix-en-Provence, but this 2020 version could find a place in a future book.
This photo was also slightly cropped at the time because I wanted to eliminate an unwanted element on the right of the image. The crazy thing is that today in 2020 these imperfections are no longer important and I prefer to keep them and not crop the photos. I stopped looking for perfection in the streets. The street is messy and my photos reflect what I see on the street. Of course I try to organize all of this within the frame of my photo, but if there must be any imperfection, I live with it and I no longer eliminate it.
At the time when I gave names to my photos, I called this one: Strike a pose! I really like this photo because it is very "Aixoise". Japanese tourists, the little snack "Aux Délices du Palais" that will appeal to Aixois. This photo also has a documentary character because since this place has changed with the works in the city center of Aix-en-Provence. Here too the less contrasting processing does honor to this moment captured near the Palais de justice.
This is the first photo where people contacted me because they recognized each other in the small restaurant where my photos were displayed. For the record, you might think it was a gang of 4 individuals: 3 girls and a boy sitting on the doorstep of a building. But actually the girl on the right is not in the band but was just sitting next to the other young people. It is the girl who waves me a little hello who contacted me to have a print of the photo for her and her friends. I really like the attitude of the 4 protagonists with the boy staring at me. Again this photo was too contrasted and I'm happy to find details.
This last photo is also documentary. The property has changed owners and has been completely renovated and these wooden shutters have been removed. Having photographed the streets of Aix-en-Provence a lot, I have witnessed many changes that have taken place in this city. You quickly get used to the new storefronts, the new stores ... My photos are there to show what Aix-en-Provence looked like during this period. This is also why I love doing Street Photography so much. It is a work of memory.
I haven't had time to go through all the RAW files I have recovered yet. This work will take time, but I am very happy to have invested these 800 €!
All photos were taken in 2016 with the Fuji XE2 | 18mm f2.