A couple of years ago, not long after I joined the Fuji X Aus Facebook community, I attended an event called People With Cameras (PWC). It was an event held here in Melbourne and in Sydney. For Melbourne, it was located in the Carlton Gardens next to the Melbourne Museum. The purpose of PWC was for anyone with a camera to meet up and take part in some photography challenges. The event was organised by Fujifilm Australia with the support of some other photography-related retailers and distributors. It was a fantastic day, and I got to meet a lot of the members of the Fuji X Aus community. The following year PWC was on again and this time at an indoor venue. Still, a great day of community even if it was too small an event space for the numbers that turned up.
Jump forward two years and People With Cameras 2019 was held again in Melbourne on Saturday. The event was held in Port Melbourne at The Timber Yard – a cavernous warehouse-style venue space with a large open yard and all the amenities for large functions. True to its name, The Timber Yard was a giant warehouse with a rustic feel and lots of exposed steel beams. Given that last years, PWC location was too small, this one was massive.
Again Fujifilm Australia were the main organisers of the event. They were joined by several other sponsors, retailers and product distributors to set up a PWC Expo area. This area allowed for anyone attending to visit the various vendors and get hands one experience with an extensive line-up of Fujifilm Cameras from both the X and GFX range. There was a substantial representation of Instax cameras as well as vendors such as MagMod, Think Tank, Manfrotto and Magnet Galleries Melbourne to name a few. There was also a big list of Australian photography retailers supporting the event.
Of course, the team from Fuji X Aus, my clan, were out in force. They not only help set up the event but to also be on hand to assist people and guide people on a competition photo walk later in the day. We arrived at around 7:30am and bumped-in. We helped carry products and the like in from cars and trucks and set up the Expo area. I got to help Adam from RadBitz.com set up his MagMod and WANDRD gear. Then I helped Peter from Manfrotto to set up a bunch of tripods and light reflectors which was really interesting.
Doors opened at around 9:30 and pretty soon people starting to arrive. At about 10:00 with a decent crowd already formed and exploring the Expo, Leigh Diprose from Fujifilm Australia welcomed everyone to PWC and advised every one of the photo walk challenges to be led by Fuji X Aus. The theme for the Melbourne challenge was texture. That simple. Given that we were hosting PWC in a big rustic style warehouse with timber and brick and the like everywhere – there were lots of opportunities.
To enter their photo into the competition, the participants had to upload their image to social media with a specific hashtag. Fujifilm had set up a high-resolution printer with a computer that would find any images with that hashtag and print them out automatically. The participant could then collect their images (max of two) and peg them to long wires strung up to one side of the venue.
Not long after the photo walk challenge began, the venue staff filled two giant tables with catering – big plates of antipasto style delicacies. Not long after that, the talks started. There were four scheduled talks for the day each lasting around 20 minutes. The first was from Warwick from Fujifilm Australia. He talked about the history of Fujifilm and how it entered the digital photography era, its continuing focus on image quality at a mirrorless level, etc. The next talk was actually given by me! I spoke of my photographic journey and how my street photography trips to Japan strengthened my capabilities as a photographer. I was really nervous and having to hold a microphone was weird. But I got through it. The next two speeches were by Glynn Lavender who talked about travel portrait photography and then our very own Ian Tan. Ian spoke about colour theory and the importance of such method in photography. It was a great talk, and I was really proud of him.
Once all the talks were completed, participants were able to make the most of the Expo. Some were catching up with fellow photographers, enjoying the great food and of course, completing the challenge. Warwick and Leigh from Fujifilm Australia, along with Glynn Lavender, judged the winner of the photo walk challenge. The prize was a Fujifilm XF-10 camera. The event was due to finish at 2pm and not long after the photo challenge announcement was made, participants started to leave.
Once again the crew from Fuji X Aus stayed behind to help bump-out. Then a group of around 12 of us from Fuji X Aus, Fujifilm and a couple of other vendors made our way to a nearby pub for a meal and a few drinks. It was a great way to end a great day.
The future of People With Cameras is currently in doubt as some changes at Fujifilm Australia may result in it not being supported in the future. That is yet to be seen. But, without a doubt, PWC 2019 in Melbourne was a success. It was a day to connect with our unique community and do it in a way that is accessible, informative and fun too. I would like to thank my fellow admins and especially Joe Jongue for developing such a strong relationship with Fujifilm Australia and the other supporters of PWC. It was a great day to represent our clan, and everyone from Fuji X Aus did a great job. Happy Shooting!
All images were shot on the Fujifilm X70. Most of my images were taken earlier in the day before most participants had shown up.