My name is Adrian Francis and I’m a documentary photographer from the United States. My photography began very journalistically in its essence as I was traveling through the Middle East focusing mainly on conflict.
However, when I moved to Denmark to study visual storytelling, I began photographing my subjects as a way to explore different aspects of the human emotional experience.
When I shoot I very much like to be part of the experience. I want my subject to know that I’m there. It’s important for the dynamic to flow based on the relationship I create with my subject.
I go into every photograph I see in my head attempting to make this very beautiful image. Naturally, there’s a moment where everything manifests itself and I let go of control.
I become a catalyst to capture what my subject, my environment, and myself forge together. That’s when an image truly comes to fruition.
I shoot exclusively with the Ricoh GR, which has a fixed 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens. I want to be close to the subjects I photograph and this camera allows me to do that without obstructing the process.
The camera’s compact size makes it easy to carry around in various situations and surroundings. I use the high contrast black and white setting and 50mm crop mode inside the camera to take my pictures.
This allows me to see a very similar image on the camera to what I want my end product to be after editing. I like to experiment with motion in my pictures. It’s something I feel can add texture to a photograph (see guide).
In order to do this, I have to be very conscious of my shutter speed and aperture. The Ricoh allows for very quick and easy control of these features. There aren’t many flashes available for the Ricoh GR that keep the setup compact enough for me.
Therefore, I use the Lightpix Labs Q20 (manual) based on its size and simplicity. Flash is something I like to utilize in my work as the majority of my images are taken at night.
I’ve always been someone who feels more at night. The flash gives the overall image a very satisfying pop for me whilst also creating an atmosphere and mood within my photos.
Until now, most of my work has been done during the winter months. I find there is a certain isolation and loneliness that coincides with nature’s reaction to the season. I search for any connection during this time that will give me sensibility.
Sometimes, I go through long periods of time where I don’t even look at my camera. I am very patient with my desire to photograph and try not to force anything. I think it’s really important for me to be able to separate my work from my personal life.
Although my images are so personal, it’s unhealthy for me to continuously exist in a space where I expect myself to create images.
When I am finally able to take on another project, I learn what kind of photographer I am all over again. The naivety that comes with a fresh mentality is paramount for my stories.