Redefining Priorities

After more than a year in the field with a technically limited camera (poor or no AF, limited ISO, poor ergonomic), I bought last Summer a Fuji X-T1 with two lenses. It is not the first time that I’m trying to have a smaller camera, easier to carry than my usual Canon 5D and lenses (filing a backpack on their own). I bought a few compact cameras in the past but never really felt confortable with them and finally always preferred to work with my Canon. However, 18 months ago, the security situation in the places where I was working and the difficulty to travel with that heavy backpack forced me to change my plans and to use for some time a camera, limited to max 800 or 1600 ISO, with a pathetic AF system but great picture quality.

While it restricted the number or kind of shots I could take (e.g. low light portrait), it surprisingly also improved my way of shooting. It forced me to better prepare my shoots, to care less about sharpness and more about content. And because I did not have enough shutter speed at low light, I was then forced to improve my slow shutter speed skills, learning something new.

Since I bought a Fuji X-T1, I received several times the same questions “Is it better than Canon?” “Don’t you miss a full frame sensor”? No, it is not as good as Canon (slower auto-focus, less ergonomic). But I can carry it with me more easily and adapt my pictures to its limitation. Like too many before me, I certainly wasted way too much time in the past focusing on equipment or picture’s sharpness, rather than trying to improve my pictures and my eye.

I had the pleasure to talk lately with another enthusiastic photographer about camera, photography in general and how photography coule make us become more attentive of things around us. A particular light, some expressions or any small details, making our life a bit different. And that’s certainly what matters to me. Photographing those instants, those details that I like; or capturing some faces or moments I would like to keep for me.

Maybe my camera can not shoot all the things another one could (e.g. challenging sport shots). But at least, I can have it with me in any bag and take the kind of shots I really like. OlivierChassot-Blog-MAZ-Buzkashi-0884

21 November 2014: A bread vendor during a buzkashi match in Mazar-e-Sharif, Northern Afghanistan.

Alternative Path

A bit frustrated with the impossibility of taking proper pictures outside lately, I got a few ideas for a new project. I am now looking forward to working on it, over the next years. And because she was a source of inspiration, all my thoughts are going to Anja Niedringhaus‘ friends and family, after she was killed this morning in Afghanistan.

OlivierChassot-Blog-MAZ-PY-1000436?w=998 05 April 2014: Pierre-Yves, in front of “his” bouldering wall. Passionate about climbing, he built his own wall to practice during his mission in Afghanistan. Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].


The sky is filled with stars and the night absolutely silent. Just a small, soft music, in my head.

Lots of meetings and discussions with interlocutors. Some sms. And a memory card in my pocket, containing some first official pictures to be processed.

The music gets lounder. 48 heartbeats/min.

Another night in Africa.


11 February 2013: Thanks to Alyona, for posing despite the bad light and lack of chair. Bangui, Central African Republic. [Click on the picture to enlarge it].

In the bush no one can hear you laugh

A new episode of “Life is tough”:
Having meetings with local representatives, including high rank officers, is sometimes a bit tricky and intimidating. Although I am now getting used to it and even started enjoying it, it can suddenly be very complicated to keep your nerves when you interlocutor welcomes you wearing his official pants, part of his uniform, and a… lady top (cartoon style).

Neither is it easy not to laugh when you get an official, but unexpected visit on Sunday, while watching an episode of the (excellent) series “New Girl” and still having the last joke in mind.

03 December 2012: Barthelemy, Zemio, Central African Republic. [Click on the picture to enlarge it]

And for those still wondering, here is a new definition of love:

– My ex-girlfriend, the model, we had sex and it was just like… I was happy. You know? We were connected, I wasn’t thinking about anything! What is that?
– That is love, you idiot!
– …
– [Whispering] That’s love!!
– … Yeuuuuurk!!
– Yeah, it sucks!
– So do I have to be in love now, to have good sex?

Schmidt and his boss, while in bed. New Girl Season 2, Episode 9