Another busy week, this time working my real job. I love my real job because I get to travel to places around the south east. Since the winter I have been working on a project to help me take better street portraits. Walking around these mid size cities I photograph people that are the salt of the earth, people that are full of character. Typically I only shoot film. I love film; maybe I am nostalgic, maybe there really something there that cannot be recreated with a digital camera. Thats up to you to decided, but I — I love film.
There is just so much dimension between the grain structure, the retention os highlights and shadows, and the feel of the cellulose in your hand. If you’re a digital photographer and have not really spent some time with film you really need to give it a go. There are many great labs that will process and scan for you if you don’t have a scanner. These guys are one that I would recommend. The other benefit of shooting film is it generates questions making it easier for me photograph people in these cities that I visit. Usually I am walking around with a Mamiya RB67 which is a LARGE camera. It shoots negatives that are about 2.2 inches(!) x 2.7 inches.
I like to shoot color film and when I do its generally the new Kodak Portra 400 but most of the time I am shooting black and white. Lately I have been on an Ilford Delta 100 kick but my favorite flavor of film differs with when or what I am shooting. Coming from Digital Delta 100 gives you that smooth look with just a peppering of grain. It makes the transition easier. If you really want that gritty film look though you should look at some of the more traditional films like Kodak Tri-X. It is worth noting that all films will obtain different looks depending on what they are developed in but that would make for a lengthy blog. If you have questions contact me and I will do my best to answer them for you.
Back to my street portraits.
Shooting street portraits are interesting to me because not only are they difficult but you never know who you might run into. I have met the very angry “don’t photograph me” type, to the gentle “I could be your friend” type. Generally I look for people that are waiting around, maybe for a meal or some money or maybe just waiting around for the bus. Everyone of them has a story too, you can see it in their weathered skin, their deep eyes, or in the way they wear there clothes. This is an on-going project that I will probably be working on for many years. I will be putting up a gallery to showcase some of the different people I have met along the way in the near future.