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One of the best ways to learn about photography is to surround yourself with photographers working in the field. I had the pleasure of meeting up with Ukrainian photographer Anastasiia Sapon last weekend at the Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero St. The weather was overcast – a perfect day for photography. The only downside was the drizzle of rain we encountered – not good for our camera gear. That didn’t stop us from chatting non-stop about photography, her inspirations and her love for her new camera, the Fuji X100S. We asked her a few questions on her life and love for photography, and here is what she had to say:

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When did you first consider yourself a photographer?

“I think when I first got paid for taking photos. The trick to being an artist is to manage creating art and getting paid for it. Yea, I can be an artist and I can starve making fine art work, but at the same time I have to pay all the bills. I never think that shooting a wedding or doing headshots isn’t worth it. You’re a photographer – what do you mean it’s not worth it? If you’re excited to do it, it will show in your photos. If you are doing it just for the money it will show. You wouldn’t want someone to shoot your wedding who is doing it just for the money.”

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What would you tell a photographer just starting out?

“When I went to school I didn’t know anything. I just had this Sony camera and I would sit in coffee shops googling what aperture is, what shutter speed is and how to shoot in manual mode. When I went to college everyone had 2 or 3 cameras and I only had one. I remember one of my teachers talking about a light meter and I had no idea what it was. I was so scared to ask for almost 2 weeks. When I finally graduated from school I ended up in the same art show and same ‘zine as my teacher. You just need to have the mindset that you are a photographer and ask questions when you don’t know.”

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Why would you choose the Fuji X100S over any other camera?

“I wouldn’t say I would choose it over any other camera but for street photography, I would choose it. It is a nice replacement for a street photographer who has been shooting film. I can get so many photos without bringing attention to myself because it’s so small and so quiet. Even in low light, it is so much better.”

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Would you recommend it to someone who is not a street photographer?

“I would definitely recommend it. When I was researching it I found this camera to be really affordable and really great quality. Most people think it’s an old school film camera, I just smile and don’t even say anything because I don’t want to lie and tell them it’s digital. People question more that way.”

Dream camera?

“Leica M9. But, let’s be honest – I can’t afford it.”

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Where do you find inspiration?

“If I am doing something creative I usually look at illustrations. If you constantly are looking at photos one day you will accidently copy one without even realizing it. I want to get inspired by someone but I don’t want to copy them. For me, looking at illustrations, drawings or reading stories is just a push to be inspired and you can adapt from them. I also like to look at street photographers or Magnum photographers like Cartier-Bresson. I like to look at their work to be inspired by light-they way they see it. Light is really important in my photos. For example you can look at a street light and use it as inspiration.”

Next Project?

“I have a few of them. I want to do some more collaboration work. Working with artists who create installations. I also want to shoot synchronized swimmers. I am just working out the kinks of that. I always have ideas in mind.”

Anastasiia lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Check out more of her work here.Also check out herblog and Instagram.

Rent the Fuji X100S from Lumoid today!

Photography and writing by Gillian Walsworth. Photos edited with VSCO filters.

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