The last weeks have been on the crazy side. Lots of travel (I just came back from Providence) and lots of snow in the Atlanta area. Definitely not the perfect conditions for going out and shooting. It was wet and cold and hasty…

Sometimes though these off-times provide an opportunity to slow down a bit and revisit some older work. In fact, I am probably not doing this often enough anyways. So I spent most of the last weeks with curation and editing rather than producing. I completed my Japan photo book and when I saw the shots in print it was a completely different experience than on-screen viewing. Probably we are not printing enough. Printing involves yet another level of editing: print costs money – a lot. So you only print the best of your best work. Try it out and go the extra mile, it is really something else.

I also found myself going back and forth with the film thing. I shot a lot of film in the past and when I moved to the US I significantly reduced the amount of rolls I went through, mainly because I did not find the right lab for me. I can very much appreciate the advantages of film including the more concerted effort, the distinct look, etc. On the other hand I am not so happy with giving parts of the process away. I sometimes feel that as soon as incentives are not well aligned people do not care enough. Let us consider the facts: when you shoot film it is typically not just some snapshots – that’s way too expensive. You do care quite a lot and you want the lab to care as well. Anyways, I think I found a few (as in two-three) great labs but before I talk about this I need to send more rolls first.

When it comes to film I have have (had) a few favorite stocks. There is

  1. Fuji 400H / Portra 400. I love the look for portraits etc. A bit on the pastel side. Requires careful scanning though. Same category is Portra – frankly I do not see a lot of difference between the two. Usually I heavily overexpose both. I rate them at ISO 100 (+2 stops) and then I meter for shadows / skin (+ skin lightness adjustment).
  2. Fuji 100c. Instant film with an amazing look for portraits. Creamy highlights and milky shadows. This look is unique.
  3. Tri-X. My go-to black-and-white film. A more classic stock with rougher grain. Sometimes I also use HP5+ which I find somewhat similar however lower in contrast.
  4. E100G / Kodachrome. Ektachrome and Kodachrome are unfortunately both discontinued. I loved the more rational look over something like Velvia (which can make your eyes bleed). If shot right, you got a very realistic look. I miss those two.
  5. Velvia. Great for landscapes or artistic stuff. This level of saturation is crazy. Also great for cross-processing – gives a red-yellowish look.


So if you do not have any photographic plans for 2014 why not shooting a few rolls of film? You can get amazing film cameras at ridiculously low prices.

Happy valentine’s day — TSJ.

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