PHOTOOG Photography writings by Olivier Giroux



A bit of a life editorial here,

I’m going through my last year’s worth of photographs to make my daughter’s second annual photobook.

Looks like I shot around 13500 frames in the last year, 12500 on digital and 1000 on film. I don’t shoot sports (much, yet) and I almost never use bracketing or continuous shooting. Therefore by my estimate these represent around 5000 unique compositions, though obviously themes recur both in subject and structure.

Conveniently for this photobook, I shoot primarily a single subject : my daughter Maude. I shoot her and whoever comes close enough to her to fit in a frame. That group has been growing as my standard lens has been getting wider.  The 50mm lenses feel like telephotos for me now.

When compared to last year’s book I think a story will emerge – beside my daughter’s – about how I’m evolving as a photographer. The level of quality between the two books is on average looking about the same (I vainly hope for slightly better) but what’s clear is that this year’s is going to be more editorial. It’s almost all shot on available light, it’s more chaotic, and there is much more context included in the frames.

I couldn't be more pleased! I’ve been working really hard to progress in the reportage photojournalism genre. Recently I re-iterated my photographic priorities (as a physical list on paper) and that still tops the list.

Here are just a few my best photographs of the year...

As a parting note, while I shot twelve times more digital than film, there is a very different ratio emerging in the contest for significance.  None of the film images achieved the "pixel quality" that the best digital images show - zero.  However the film images make up about one-third the images with more than fleeting artistic value in them.



Comments (8) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Number 1 is sensational. The eyes are wonderful.

    If your experience is like mine, the sports will suddenly take off. And with it, new challenges. Like shooting indoors at pools when you are in the stands and your son is in the water quite a distance away.

    • I’m apprehensive of shooting sports, for several reasons.

      The first is that a quality minded person has basically no choice but to get massive lenses. I don’t want massive lenses. This may force me to get another 70-200/2.8 VR (and TC) as a compromise between size, speed and convenience.

      The second is that I find the world of sports photography to be almost devoid of artistic value. There is essentially a single composition which gets applied to tens of thousands of frames in a row. It’s like a one-word language to me.

      Lastly, I find people who shoot sports are terrible photo editors. They don’t know what shots to drop on the cutting room floor. They show me reels of photos where I would probaby keep 2 or 3 and destroy the rest. My fear is this arises from having to deal with mind-numbing amounts of near-identical images.

      So… you could say I have a fairly negative view of sports photography. I’m still going to do it though.

  2. Hi Oliver,

    Nice editorial!

    But eh.. did not I remember that the only analogue camera you shoot is a rangefinder? Is so, would it be the camera type (!) or maybe rather the viewfinder TYPE that brings you more creativity and artistic keepers?

    I am curious to know your views on this…

    And eh.. just keep developing yourself. You are doing quite well!



    • Marc-Paul,



      (my shortest comment ever)

      • >> However the film images make up about one-third the images with more than fleeting artistic value in them.

        I have experienced something similar when shooting with a Canon AE1 vs. Canon 40D. My take away lesson was that spending more time *thinking* about photos is generally better than clicking more photos. I hope to be able to buy an affordable range-finder someday.

        PS: love the composition on the daughter+swing photo :o)

  3. Hello VCX,

    Cosina makes nice and not so expensive Voigtlander rangefinder camera’s and lenses. Though not as good as Zeiss and Leica they will be good enough for most peoples needs and are a lot more affordable.



    • Also pay close attention to the used market on FM and GetDpi forums.

      You can get very nice stuff for 60-70% less money than new, especially if it’s for film. Leica gear that is not the absolute latest ASPH version is highly devalued in the used market.

      The silliest of the price drops is the “non 6-bit rebate” which can take $1K off the price of a lens when (1) film cameras don’t care and (2) a little sharpie pen will make it work with a digital camera.

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