In a time when every phone number you call is an automated menu system. Tech support is shipped over seas. Everything has a 1 - (800) in front of it. You start feel a little disconnected from people. There isn't a whole lot of interaction one on one. Everything becomes one big ambiguous voice. I can't tell you the number of times I have called tech support (for anything) and repeatedly get a new person. You feel like your just a case number to be filed and put into a giant data base. There is no personal touch. Corporations become a huge entity with no face or voice. They just feel like they are there. Fuji on the other hand has set themselves apart.
I have been shooting with Fuji Neopan acros 100 for a while now. I tried out several different films when I first started shooting film. What I really loved about Neopan at first was the killer reciprocity (or lack of) it has. No adjustments up to a 2 minute exposure and only a half stop up to 20 min. Since most of my exposures around 8 minutes this really simplified placing zones and calculating exposures. What I have come to love even more than the reciprocity of the film is the gentle curve in the tonal range and great grain structure. That being said I have been hooked for a while now.
When I began working on, The Blane Project about a year ago I decided to shoot it all on film. It was one of the first series I really dedicated myself to doing so. I felt the timeless quality of film was important for these images. After the first portraits were made I took them to a professor who was excited about the project. He encouraged me to reach out to fuji and see if they would be interested in helping with the project. Who was I to call/email? The thought of me, a photo student in Denver approaching a huge company like fuji was intimidating.
After a little research on Fuji's website I found the name of their communications manager, Matthew Schmidt. It was as close to public relations as I could find and I assumed that would be the best place to start. I sent him a simple him email. Very brief description of the project and then asked if they would be interested in helping out with some of the film. The next day I got a phone call, not an email. A phone call. An actual person called and talked with me. Matt was very gracious and sent me a 5 pack of film. Which may have seemed little to him, but it was a huge help to me.
Since then I have been finding more veterans and the project has begun to develop farther than I thought it would go. I try to send Matt regular updates on the project to show my appreciation for the help. I have used quite a bit of film over the past couple of months and I was very hesitant to reach out for more help from Matt. Finally a few weeks ago I did. Shot off a quick email to him with an update on the project and a (hopefully) very humble "would Fuji like to help a little more?" I received an email back stating, "we would like to help... I'll take care of the rest". What I got a week later was quite literally, a game changer. Enough film to complete the project and then some. No more worrying about being able to shoot a new vet because I used up my last roll on another assignment.
While I am not trying to be an infomercial for the Fuji brand I am trying to give credit to a company that stepped up big in my book. Not only did they support a young artist like myself. They took the time to get to know me and the project. Setting themselves apart from the crowd of ambiguous corporate conglomerates. Now they are ( for me anyway) a part of the team. A neighbor who is helping out. A buddy from school who came over for the weekend to help with a big project. They have engaged with their customers and that deserves some serious recognition I think.
I have had my eye on getting a new camera for a while. Something small enough to carry with me all the time. Family pics, watching my girls grow up and some behind the scenes stuff. Yet still be able to trigger flashes and check lighting setups when I am working on The Blane Project. I have been bouncing around between the Canon G15, FUji x-20 or maybe even a leica X1. Although at that point I can also throw the Fuji x100s into the mix. The bottom line is this simple act made up my mind. Without a doubt I will be going for the Fuji. It is great to be able to put your support behind a company that also puts their support behind you.
Show Fuji some love on their Facebook page for being a big company with a big heart.