the perfect camera {portraiture|film}

film portraiture
fuji 400h pro. 35mm zeiss.

Every three months, we get spammed by the release of new cameras. New features. Record breaking iso’s. Another 2 ev on dynamic range, another 2 stills on fps. If you are a hobbyist like me who paid for the gears yourself, it feels almost like an addiction, GAS they call it.

Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and Olympus. The allies of the digital age that survived the transition of film to digital, only to be bested by digital’s natural trait, “convenience”, in the form of mobile photography.  As of this writing, Iphone 7 have a dual camera in the pipeline with the latest and greatest technology empowering its new flagship phone, the DSLR killer.  Yeah, heard that one, but coming from Apple, it warrants attention. Can a brand survives if the common folks, the hobbyist turns on mobile phones for all its images and leaves DSLR’s and compact camera for only professional pros?

They can’t.

The mobile industry is not much different from the camera industry. Each model promising something that show case the creativity of marketing at play. It becomes very obvious that cameras are what everyone is selling, even in the phone. After all, we got tired of Microsoft’s new Office Word when we were already suffice with Word 6. Some knew of this sufficiency yet the rat-race, enclosed in a circle of upgrades and peer recognition, funded the Babylon merchandise.

Stop.

It’s like waking up in the Matrix, taking the red pill. When i decided this on my photography. Suddenly, there is peace. I realized that every shot costs me. In digital they ended up costing me something more precious, my time, digital upgrades and processing, more storage, editing and figuring out the tones. In film, its a direct cost per click, no beating around the bush, no marketing shenanigans.

Every shot counts. Think about it.

 

 

 

 

Why i moved to film in 2016 {portraiture}

 

I packed the Leica ME and visited Desmond of YL camera, a popular distributor of cameras both used and new in Malaysia. Desmond is a friendly guy, humble and realistic…

I had a lot of good memories using the Leica M9 and leica ME. In my last commissioned project on Charlotte i found myself depending on Nikon D3000 instead, a cheap USD 150 camera that i paired with the Sigma 50 1.4. The results are beautiful and both client and model are happy and popularity index soars.

The D3000 is just a 10.2 mp camera and few focusing points. It is however a hidden gem, one which if discovered, would cause a worldwide buy on it. I might as well let the cat out of the box so to speak. D3000 is nikon’s last CCD sensor camera and D200 is Nikon’s last pro-bodied CCD sensor camera, both are APSC.

Charlotte. D3000. Sigma 50 1.4

 

Now back to the story. The Leica ME/M9? Lots of good memories with it. I used it on the Stephy first photoshoot in 2011.

M9. voigthlander 40 1.4

I have sold it off before and switched to Nikon D4 -> the Sony A7r -> DF and i realized that the Leica M9 it was the preferred shooting experience for my own projects and shoot and i got the Leica ME back in 2014. The D4 and DF produces nice images no doubt.

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Nikon D4. Nikon 24 f1.4
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nikon DF. Nikon 58 1.4
malaysia top portraitist
sony a7r with legacy vivitar lens 28mm

 

Using back the Leica ME was a joy. My shooting was slower and instead of having 1300 files to process, i often have around 300 files at most. The experience of handling and using the D4, DF, A7r taught me the difference between CCD and CMOS and i wanted the FF CCD back, which was only available in the Leice ME/M9 series.

I “played” with the idea of shooting film back in 2015 and realized that for non-collaborative projects or commercial, the film experience yielded me more satisfactory outcome than digital. For commercial and CCD stuffs i have my d3000, D200 ready to kick in. But for street, model shooting for artistic projects, the film experience is just fantastic.

I found myself experiencing “disappointments” over my shots, thinking more for each frame that i use and having a lot more time to chat and to know the friends/models that i shoot with during the session. Often in digital during break time, i would hand the camera to the model and we goes thru the same dialogue of :

“can you delete that. sure, ok.”

“dont worry about this, i shot in raw, it could be salvaged”

“its a bit bluish cause its raw, i could easily adjust the temperature during edit”

With film, all these goes away into just shooting, meaningful dialogue and the surprise that greets you when you see your scan results uploaded by the processing lab.

I estimate that i spent at least half of my time in getting an album up vs my digital workflow. I didn’t need to use VSCO or editing to “tone” the raw files images since each film comes with its own tones and feel.

Along the months, i have decided that film is the way to go. The satisfactory-index level, if there is such a thing, is just high vs digital. So there i handed the ME over. The new workflow saves me time, something that i spent in a beautiful startup that i am attached to.

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konica Hexar. 35 f2. Fuji 400H pro.
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Konica Hexar. Fuji 400 Super Premium.
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Konica Hexar. Kodak porta 400
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bessa r3m. Fuji Superia 200
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Bessa R3m. Kodak Pro-image 100
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Bessa r3m. Superia 200. Noctilux f1.
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Nikon f100. Kodak Porta 160. Nikon 50 1.4d
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Bessa R3m. Fuji 400h pro

Notice the different feel on each of these images? They are different film. Changing film is like changing sensor.  All the images above are shot with a range-finder like camera.

Now, after i handed in the Leia ME. I got myself 2 beautiful camera, same model, one silver and one black. Both film. I will end this post with a picture of the black model.

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Thanks for reading and have a nice weekend.

The Diary {stephy yiwen portraiture|story by M}

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I had a wonderful time using film lately on a 35mm focal length. This is my project shot entirely on film, a story based sequence of images. Do enjoy and leave me some comments.

Camera BessR3M. Lens Zeiss Biogon 35mm f2. Film Fuji 400H.

Stephy walks into an abandon house…

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The end.
Do leave my your comments and feedback, what did you think happened.

Glance story, excerpt taken from emotional twits found in internet {portraiture | storytelling}

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In the end, we stand gazing at the future. How much decision have we made to come to this.
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will you leave and just walked away? Will you not return and say “hi?”
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Is the journey so beautiful that you can leave those who really do care for you behind, you drop them like a rock, and into the ocean the hearts sank.
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All i ever thought of for you is about your happiness and smile. All you ever thought of is yourself and nobody else, maybe just your mum. I can’t be with you because its simple bad for your future, not because i don’t want to. Did i ever asked for anything more than friendship.
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I am sorry because i love you.
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May you win this contest and go much further away, away from me. Like a dream, you don’t ever have to acknowledge me. You are a queen now and i am but a shadow of your past.
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Can we start all over again, with “hi and byes” where our messages are light and our emoticons smiles forever.

* twits taken harvested from twitter postings across June-October 2015.
* all photos taken on a nikon d610 on a 50 1.4d. Processed for Agfa vista 400.
* wondered how the whole set would have been if they were shot on film.

images that changes lives {film|portraiture}

reminiscence
reminiscence

The year is 2015. We see a shift of marketing from magazine and printed ads to influencers and celebrities in the social media.
There are now full time fashion bloggers that manages to etched out a living by blogging, uploading photos and socialising.
The source of power behind all these activities : images.

the homecoming
the homecoming

Daniel wellington gave away their watches to mid level influencers in instagram and facebook. Influencers whom are not actresses nor celebrities in any level. The actual celebrities and high end influencers are only available to actual luxury brands, but the mid and entry level influencers whom none of the big names cares to contact were flattered by such invites and free gifts.
DW made a killing with this strategy. The lower influencers just wears it and images of them begin to populate the average feed of the millennials.

dreams
dreams

Images can change lives. I have personally seen how my photos changes lives of some of these new models/influencers in many ways. While the complexity of life and opportunities are never attributed to just image generation, it is without doubt part and parcel of today’s marketing. Marketing creates leads and opportunities.

The line is blurring between those capable of creating images, the subject herself/himself and the advertising firms. Google, facebook, instagram, whatsapp, youtube are all tied to the advertising industry as a whole. The biblical truth of “do unto others what you want others to do unto you” being applied unknowingly, in the most powerful and direct manner : advertising.
We help you make money, you give us money.

The power behind advertising today? 3 types of images.
– Static images
– Images that moves
– Images that moves and have sound/voice/music.

Texts are just messages carried by the images to strengthen its message.

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emotion

Are you an image maker? Congratulations, you have been empowered to do something in this world. We were all made in His image when the world begun, its a process that works across borders and time.

 

All images shown here are taken on film, superia and fuji pro400 on Nikon F100, 50 1.4d.

The superia portraits {film}

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elaine of utar. 50 1.4, f100 nikon

I am continually amazed at the unedited results of fuji’s superia 200 film. You can get one of these film at $4 per 36 exposures.

Use a natural garden or floral background and watch ur own jaw dropped when you get the film processed.

More photos from this project : Elaine’s first photobook coming.

Where beauty treads and pageants falls {portraiture | film}

u can't beat natural beauty | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160
u can’t beat natural beauty | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

Film. Yeah, i been talking about the joy of shooting film and why the lesser road travelled might have more to offer than you could imagine.
These are simple images taken on Elaine Cheah. Elaine is a very simple girl, loves cats and have a strong devotion towards relationships. I have met many freelancer models in these last 4 years and seen various pageants and contests where some of these freelancer friends joined or win.
Elaine on the other hand, have no interest to join contests. Doesn’t apply much makeup at and looks like someone that jumps out of some korean drama into the world.

Now back to film, as incoherent as my thoughts are, the point is simply this. Just because its popular, doesn’t mean it represent the best. Digital been going around countless megapixels and features, the resemblance is almost to many pageants contestants, wipe off those makeups and it has nothing to offer. Layer after layer of makeup, hairdo and mascaras populates the face of the next contest winner.

genes vs makeups | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160
genes vs makeups | 50 1.4d | FT100 | kodakporta160

Both the mobile and camera world has gone mad and offering gears after gears and lens after lens with no real contribution to your photography skills. In fact, do notice that mobile phones have nothing much to boast about nowadays and have focused primarily on its camera features.

In a short view of some of the top digital brands today.

Nikon D810
Nikon released a series of cameras in these last 3 years, d600, d610, d750, d4, d800, d4s, d800E, d810. Megapixels jumps all the way from 16mp to 24 to 36. Shooting buffers goes from 6fps to 10fps and beyond.

canon 5ds
Canon released the 6D, 7DmkII, 5ds, 5dsr with the latest megapixel news of 250 mp.

sony a7rii
Sony the leader of the FF mirrorless A7 line of cameras. 6 months and your existing gears are obsolete.

Its an endless chase. We all know where the best girls are, next door and rarely any of them made it to pageants as winners.
Those who win, gets dethroned the next year. I believe any of the digital FF entry level given by nikon, canon or sony is good enough to produce the best images for ANY passionate photographer. The rest of the features imho…caters for a very niche set of professional photographers.