BASED IN: Minnesota, USA
KNOWN FOR: Street photography and photography education as well as her own weekly street photography podcast
SHOOTS WITH: FUJIFILM X100F Camera, X-Pro2 Camera, FUJINON XF27mmF2.8 Lens, XF35mmF1.4 R Lens
Valérie Jardin is a French photographer, who currently resides in the United States and now dedicates her time to educating others. Valerie fell in love with the FUJIFILM X100S when it came out and loves the fact that the camera never gets in the way. She has taken her camera all over the world teaching students the art of storytelling. In this Showcase blog post, Valerie introduces us to a series of photos taken in New York City for a charity movement called Do Something For Nothing.
Valerie Jardin is a compensated FUJIFILM X-Photographer.
"I recently photographed the most important project of my career as a visual storyteller. I hit the streets of New York City with my friend Joshua Coombes and photographed his work as he carried his #DoSomethingForNothing mission among the homeless. Josh is a young talented hairstylist from London. A couple of years ago he started offering free haircuts to homeless people in his community."
"When this particular shot was taken it was a very warm September day. We met Tony in Tompkins Square Park. He had been battling cancer and sleeping on the streets. He had just received good news that he'd be getting a room soon. He was all smiles and said "It's beautiful out here. It would take a really bad mood to not feel happy today!"
"For Josh, this was a way for him to give back, to make people feel visible again and to brighten up their day. What started as a simple act of kindness, soon became a way of life for Josh. He has since traveled to many countries and helped countless people on the streets. Day after day, his efforts continue to raise the awareness of a growing global problem."
"The man in this shot, Janusz, was 65 and had migrated to New York City from Krakow, Poland when he was just a teenager. He was shy and looked very sad. He shared a lot about his past with us during the haircut."
"He had been living on the streets for four years. While he was talking, he was becoming more and more relaxed. His was probably the biggest transformation we witnessed that week and the person who touched me the most. He was so handsome with his new haircut. We all hugged and watched him walk away with a spark in his eyes and a spring in his step."
"My camera of choice for all my work has been the X100 series since the S version came out. It's the perfect storytelling tool in my opinion. I mostly shoot street, and I'm quite good at staying invisible in order to get close and capture the decisive moment without being noticed. I usually don't work on documentary projects where the subjects know they are being photographed.
"I also never photograph homeless people on the streets, out of respect. So this project was quite new for me. I was a photo documentarian but I didn't want to be seen as ‘the photographer'. I was part of the team first, a photographer second."
"In this shot, Josh was listening to 29-year-old Eveylon near Grand Central Terminal before giving her a fresh haircut. My FUJIFILM X100F was the perfect tool for this project. The 23mm focal length allowed me to be physically close, while its small size and silent shutter made it unobtrusive and unintimidating.
"Every subject agreed to be photographed, but I didn't start shooting right away, and Josh didn't start cutting hair immediately either. Our first goal was to listen. There were hugs to give and sometimes tears to wipe. We were always rewarded by the brightest smiles in the end!"
"We met this Irish gentleman named Mike at Washington Square Park. He told us: “I guess I never really got my hands on the American Dream, whatever that is.” He was planning to move to California before winter. He had spent too many winters on the streets of NYC and couldn't take another one."
To see more of Valerie's work, visit her website.