Lenses | Art
Make everyday details more magnificentLet your imagination drive your exploration.
A unique vision makes everyday routines shine.
In my coffeeshop, Fringe, in the Marais in Paris, is all about bringing people together with craftsmanship, precision and care. It is the same with my photography. The barista, through his/her recipes for extracting coffee, shares his/her vision of coffee, just as the photographer through his/her images shares his/her view of the world. Images bring people together just as coffee does. This is only one of the many parallels that I saw between craft coffee and craft photography as I practice them. It is also about touching people, giving them a moment of happiness or inspiration as they sip a delicious coffee or look at an image. Both have the capability of moving someone and that is the most beautiful reward I can receive from my coffee or my photography. This is what I had lost sight of while doing commercial and advertising photography for so many years. This, and a strong passion for craft coffee and its similarities to photography that I mentioned before, led me to open fringe to reconnect with the essential.
Starting the day at fringe is a moment of calm preparation. We make cinnamon buns, rolling them out, tying them into knots before baking them. We weigh every dose of coffee, so that each cup of coffee is extracted in the same way, every time, every day. It is essential that customers get the most of what each coffee has to offer.
This is the same precision I get from the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art. Dependable and precise, it is amazingly sharp and due to its F2.8 aperture, I can use it to capture scenes in my low-lit cafe. Its bokeh is beautiful. I use bokeh a lot in my photography to emphasise a particular element in the image and let the blurriness take your imagination for a ride. Like the sharp first taste of a Kenyan espresso and as it rolls on your tongue, you’re somewhere else, in the past or future.
In the early morning light, after preparations are finished, Tom and Léo, my baristas, have a coffee before the morning rush. The SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art, although a macro lens, is also an excellent portrait lens, light and versatile with a shallow depth of field, that makes the subjects stand out. In this situation where I wanted to catch a natural interaction, super fast, highly precise auto focus made the SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art the perfect choice.
As Tom finishes pouring a cappuccino, I quickly catch the last drops of milk completing his latte art. Here again the fast autofocus let me catch the perfect moment and the small depth of field that the lens allows let me capture this low-light scene and gave me beautiful bokeh!
“You eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth.” This is something that I try to put into all the food and drinks we serve at fringe. What I mean is that if food looks appetising it will certainly enhance the taste experience and make you enjoy the food altogether. The SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art does just this through the images taken with it. The sharpness and the texture of the food shot with this lens is incredibly life-like making me want to reach out and touch it. This an important point in any aspect of life: daily situations in life can be captured beautifully and sublimated. A pastry, a cup of coffee or a fleeting moment of pouring latte art, captured with vision can turn that everyday object or situation into something special.
Our espresso tonic not only tastes delicious, but looks beautiful as the espresso is slowly poured into the glass of ice cubes and tonic. I wanted to capture a close-up of this mesmerising diffusion of coffee. Time is of the essence in this situation as the coffee is being poured, it quickly mixes with the tonic creating a homogenous mixture which is not what I wanted. I wanted to catch the coffee diffusing into the tonic. The SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art has an autofocus range setting (close up or farther), so that the auto focus mechanism can operate faster on the predetermined scale. This permitted me to focus and capture the swirls of coffee diffusing into the tonic before it was too late.
At the end of the day, just like I do with my photography equipment, we clean everything so it is ready for the next day. The coffee grinder is essential to being able to extract the best that the coffee beans have to offer. Coffee beans contain a lot of oil and this oil builds up inside the grinder so we take it apart to remove all residue and coffee grinds.
Here Tom is backlit by strong end-of-summer sunshine. It is a tricky scene to expose as I wanted to show details in the shadows while not getting flare, ghosting or vignetting. The SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art showed no signs of any of these in this image giving me perfect color and detail, showing once again its versatility and image quality in a variety of settings.
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Jeff Hargrove Photographer
Born in Santa Fé, USA. Currently resident in Paris. After studying linguistics and teaching, became a photographer focusing mainly in portrait photography. Also runs a cafe in Paris. Most recent work is ‘Paris Coffee Revolution’ covering the specialty coffee scene in Paris.
- Camera: SIGMA fp
- Lens: SIGMA 105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO | Art
- Baristas Tom & Léo
105mm F2.8 DG DN MACRO
Make everyday scenes marvelousDetails