Back to normal 5

The almost 3 weeks I spent in Thailand were a Street photography parenthesis. In fact, my “Street Photo” year ended on 27th of  December 2023 and the new year didn’t start until 15th of January 2024. There are a lot of photos of Thailand that I like. It’s not the exotic side, but you have to admit that the streets of Thailand have a lot more to offer than the streets of my home town of Saint-Denis. As I’ve often said, we ‘street photographers’ are dependent on what the street has to offer. There have to be people, activity, the unexpected… In short, a whole host of things that we try as hard as we can to organise within a frame. In Thailand, whether in Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Phuket, everything came together. Wherever I went, there was raw material to work with. I think that’s the case in any big city. It’s no coincidence that the greatest street photographers come from the biggest cities… Below are a few photos from Thailand that I haven’t shared and that I find interesting.

These will be the last. I’m not going to go on all year dwelling on this photographic interlude, however good it was … In my perfect world (no money constraints, free time), I’d be travelling all the time and spending time in all the major cities that are considered to be the Mecca of Street Photography. But unfortunately, my finances aren’t infinite (that trip to Thailand cost us a lot of money), I’m the father of two adorable monsters (whose upbringing takes up a lot of my time) and I have a job. Yes, caught up in the reality of life.

It’s like that, I have to juggle my work, my children and my family life to do Street Photography. I’m not complaining! That’s the case for most of us. If I’d been more selfish, I wouldn’t have had children and I’d have had more freedom. But frankly, if I had it to do over again, I’d do everything the same. I wouldn’t trade my 2 monsters for more freedom! I’d make a rotten analogy with my Ricoh GRD IV. This camera is far from perfect and yet, up until now, I’ve been able to do some interesting work despite all the constraints imposed on me by this camera. My life is the same. I also have constraints and responsibilities, but that doesn’t stop me from doing interesting work in Street Photography. End of rotten analogy …

I think the biggest mistake you can make is to dream your life away and not live it. This week, I was back on the streets of Saint-Denis. The children are back at school and the daily routine is settling down again. So I was back not with the Ricoh GRD IV, but with the Fujifilm X-E2 and the 35mm. I haven’t yet received my Fujifilm X1OO IV, so it’s with the X-E2 that I’m doing my tests. I thought the size of the camera would bother me, but it was more the noise of the shutter release that annoyed me. I never hide when taking photos. My camera is clearly visible and the Fujifilm is all the more visible because it’s the silver version and the TTArtisan lens also has a lot of silver on the barrel. As I said, the noise of the shutter release attracts attention and even though I’m not invisible with my camera in hand, I like to keep a low profile and that’s not possible with the noise of the shutter release.

So I went straight to the electronic shutter release. I know that it’s not ideal because there are regularly distortions when you shoot. Especially when you’re shooting on the fly. Among other things, the electronic shutter doesn’t like movement. I’ve had cases of distortion, even in static situations. I refer you to an old Blog that showed this rather annoying problem … I’ve had a few photos that had this distortion problem afterwards, but I was expecting a lot more than that! In any case, I was much more comfortable in the street with a silent camera. That’s what motivated my switch to the X100 series. So I’m going to have a slightly more compact camera than the X-E2 and also one that has Leaf Shutter, so it’s totally silent.


I have to say that I have absolutely no control over the 35mm field of vision. I’m constantly looking at the LCD screen to compose. On several occasions I found myself too close to what I wanted to photograph. Jeff, stop thinking in 28mm! I think it will take me a little time to master this focal length. What I particularly like about the TTArtisan is the distance markers on the lens. This is super useful for Zone Focusing. I’d always set myself ~3m away to turn my Fujifilm X-E2 into an ordinary point & shoot. When I was in crowdy places like bus stops, I should have set the focus to 1 or 1.5 m, but I didn’t think of that and the photos aren’t as sharp. They are still usable, however, as shown below.

In any case, while I await the arrival of my X100 IV, I’m getting to grips with the 35mm. Gone are the days of Thailand, and back to something quieter and more familiar – the streets of Saint-Denis. Nothing exciting or extraordinary. But it’s my playground and that’s fine!

All photos were taken with the Fujifilm X-E2 with TTArtisan 23 mm f1.4

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5 thoughts on “Back to normal

  • John Harper

    I’m going to quote a fictional character, one that was obsessed with small details: “There is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace” – Sherlock Holmes. That is so true. You’re right about the “top” street photographers. They have unlimited opportunities because they’re almost always based in a huge city that offers infinite possibilities. Documentary photographers are the same. There’s often an opportunity open to them, war zones and so forth. I reckon that if you took any reasonably competent photographers and stuck them in Manhattan or Paris or the middle of some war they’d come up with the goods. I feel like I’ve worked that out as though it’s some complicated theory. It’s pretty obvious, as they “No shit Sherlock”.

    The shutter release on my camera is a satisfying sound, confirmation that you’ve caught whatever it was you were focusing on. That said, it’s annoyingly loud when you want to be discreet. Plus, I walk along through Bath mostly wearing motorcycle gear, the newest version (black and beige) makes me look like a Storm Trooper, the camera is the least of my problems. Then when I’m in civilian clothes people often pass and say “nice camera” or “is that film?”.
    I think you’re likely to get the same with this Fujifilm X100. That’s if you ever get it, seems to be taking a long time to arrive. I’m waiting to see the results and hear how you get on with it.
    I’m going to use part of this in a blog, just decided.

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I know that there’s nothing wrong living in a small town where basically nothing ever happens. But that’s not really true. Even in the middle of nowhere there are things to photograph. It might not be as catchy as you might expect in any other major cities.
      Sometimes when I look at a photobook I feel that I’m a lame photographer… But then I realise that
      1- Despite the fact that they are great photographers, man, their work has been done in a big city
      2- the photobook is a collection of their best work

      Or was the same thing with people sharing their best photos on SM. Of course it’s their work. But if I had to present u my best photos, people could think that : Waouh this guy is pretty good! But things don’t work like this. You need to make a lot of shit to get a decent photo.
      Time will come that I will have my best shots from Saint Denis packed for a homemade Photobook. Well in a couple of decades…

  • Deborah Swain

    It’s always about juggling real life and carving out time for street photography for most of us … it sounds like you’ve got the balance right. Love these new shots Jeff … and the last one is brilliant – focus, schmocus as I often say!

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      I think that I have a reasonable time spent with my street photography. Some people like Alex Coghe make their living on photography. So basically they can do street all day long. I can’t. I have a job which is not really linked to photography and besides this, I have like I said, a family and two boys to deal with.
      This street photography thing is very personal as I’m always documenting the same places. Always the same places because my routine takes me to theses places. Not far from the kids school and where I’m shopping. On Réunion Island there are many places which are, I ‘m pretty sure, very interesting to photograph but they are not part of my daily routine