On one of my visits to Poland in 2013, I brought along a Fuji X100S camera instead of my usual SLR gear. The X100S was a brilliant little camera with a rangefinder styled body and a single fixed 35mm lens – meaning you couldn’t zoom in or out. Instead you had to “zoom with your feet” – shifting your point of view to find the right composition at the right moment.
I found these stairs in the Westin Hotel in Warsaw, right above the lobby and first floor bar. I loved the abstract nature of the spiraling staircase, and spent several minutes trying to find the right perspective on the stairs and lights. If I had my SLR, I would have shot wide angle, fit the whole thing into a frame, and moved on with my life. But with the X100S, I had to fight location and perspective to get the stairs into my frame the way I wanted. It took me more time on the scene, but I think the results were more compelling.
I sold the X100S a few years later and never bought a replacement. Times change, and it turns out the camera on my phone does the same job well enough and it actually fits in my pocket. Today I would have pulled out my phone, taken a photo, and posted it to Instagram. I’m not sure it would have been as good or satisfying, but it so it goes.