Simplifying My Film Choices

When I started film photography a few years ago, I used to experiment with a lot of different films and trying to achieve different looks. I tried many expired films, too, but I’m never a big fan of cross-processing (due to unpredictable results). 

Nowadays, I don’t do it anymore and find it a pain to deal with, especially during the editing stages later on (no consistency). Right now I stick with two types of film: Fuji Velvia 100 for nature in bright sunlight, and Fuji Superia Premium 400 for all-around daily use. This is a picture of the film shelf in Mizuno Camera, my local camera shop. The choice of films aren’t that great, but it’s good to know that they will always have Velvia 100 and Superia Premium 400 - hence I chose them. 

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I do not shoot b/w films anymore (for now) for two reasons: Firstly, I don’t have the developing tank and chemicals with me now. Secondly, my apartment is so tiny that I don’t know where to hang the film to dry even if I can process them. 

I do have a few rolls left of Provia 400F and some Neopan 400, and I intend to finish them off this summer. Maybe I will occasionally get a Portra 160, Ektar or other kinds of film, but I will not worry about them so much as before (I’ll save them for special occasions).

June Update

I’m aware that I haven’t updated the blog for a while. 

I have been travelling from February this year - I came to Japan with a tourist visa and looking for a job at the same time. I went to many different places but I mostly stayed at my friend’s place in Kochi prefecture. Thankfully I now have landed on a job as an English teacher (my initial goal), and have been settling into my new life in a new city now. I’m currently living in Ogaki city, Gifu prefecture. During these times, I’ve been having unstable internet connection (it’s better now). I have been off Twitter and Instagram for few weeks at a time. 

I love my experiences in Japan so far, I love my new job and new life too. I mean, I finally have a permanent address, yeah! :) 

What I am planning to do now is to make a new blog, to write about my experiences of living in Japan and also about teaching in general. I will keep Mountain Light as a blog dedicated to arts and photography (I still browse, like, comment other Tumblr blogs). I know there are many friends asked me about my life, and I might as well create a blog that everyone can see. This new blog will take a while to start because I have so little time outside work these days, and there’s just so much to write. It takes a lot of time to organise my thoughts, and write them down. Hopefully it will be a good one! 

As for my photography - in the past few months I have been shooting in colour slides (not many b/w and negatives), and I am immensely enjoying it. I just recently got back my shots from Osaka, Kyoto, and of course Kochi prefecture. I was able to capture the bright red torii gates of Fushimi Inari shrine, colourful kimonos, sakura trees, scenic mountains and rivers, all on colour slides, and I’m very happy with the results. Now is the time for curating and I will post some pictures soon. 

I’m also very happy that in my new city, I have several photo labs to go to that will process negatives, b/w and slides. I am adapting well to this city - I have been regularly visiting Mizuno Camera for processing and scanning the slides, and not long after I get to know the owner, Mizuno-san himself, and even letting me know photo exhibitions that are happening in the city. As of now, he has been running the store for 18 years! This is a small city, and I thought I will need to go to the next big city to do something special (such as processing colour slides), but turns out everything’s available here. 

That’s all the update for now, until then!

Tags: japan osaka kyoto

A photo of Bergen taken in 1971. I missed this place! 
natgeofound:

Embracing the fjord, a dusk-dimmed Bergen laps against mountain walls, Norway, 1971Photograph by George F. Mobley, National Geographic

A photo of Bergen taken in 1971. I missed this place! 

natgeofound:

Embracing the fjord, a dusk-dimmed Bergen laps against mountain walls, Norway, 1971Photograph by George F. Mobley, National Geographic

They may be off the clock, but they still have their cameras.

I have to agree with Sebastião Salgado on this one: “…For me, Indonesia is much more beautiful in black and white.”

A shot from my #Pinhole camera. About 1/2 sec through Kodak Tri-X. What do you think? This is one of the only shots from the roll that’s a keeper - it’s way too difficult to predict what’s in the frame (or I guess it’s just really not my style). Maybe #Lomo lovers will have fun trying pinhole cameras. Still, to think that this picture was made without a lens, that’s kind of amazing. And it was part of the early days of the history of photography.

A shot from my #Pinhole camera. About 1/2 sec through Kodak Tri-X. What do you think? This is one of the only shots from the roll that’s a keeper - it’s way too difficult to predict what’s in the frame (or I guess it’s just really not my style). Maybe #Lomo lovers will have fun trying pinhole cameras. Still, to think that this picture was made without a lens, that’s kind of amazing. And it was part of the early days of the history of photography.

Tags: pinhole lomo

camerasinthemedia:

Nikon F3/T with a telephoto lens featured in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. No, not the Nikon Df! :) It was used to capture snow leopards. 
There’s an interesting conversation in this scene:
Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?
Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

I recently watched an amazing movie called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
The main character, Walter Mitty is a photo editor ("negative assets") of Life magazine, and one of the photographers he’s working with was Sean O’Connell (I’m pretty sure they’re both fictional). The title and the synopsis won’t tell you this, but this movie is quite fascinating from a photographer’s perspective, and showing how a magazine photographer is always on the move (in this case, Sean doesn’t even have a permanent address). 
I submitted this picture to camerasinthemedia along with my favourite dialogue from the movie. 
Here’s a better screenshot of the movie:

camerasinthemedia:

Nikon F3/T with a telephoto lens featured in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. No, not the Nikon Df! :) It was used to capture snow leopards. 

There’s an interesting conversation in this scene:

Walter Mitty: When are you going to take it?

Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.

Walter Mitty: Stay in it?

Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

I recently watched an amazing movie called The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

The main character, Walter Mitty is a photo editor ("negative assets") of Life magazine, and one of the photographers he’s working with was Sean O’Connell (I’m pretty sure they’re both fictional). The title and the synopsis won’t tell you this, but this movie is quite fascinating from a photographer’s perspective, and showing how a magazine photographer is always on the move (in this case, Sean doesn’t even have a permanent address). 

I submitted this picture to camerasinthemedia along with my favourite dialogue from the movie. 

Here’s a better screenshot of the movie:

orlandyy:

"Why photograph war? Is it possible to put an end to a form of human behavior, which is existent throughout history, by means of photography? The proportions of that notion seem ridiculously out of balance, yet that very idea has motivated me. For me, the strength in photography lies in its ability to evoke a sense of humanity. If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war, and if it’s used well, it can be a powerful ingredient and the antidote to war. In a way, if an individual assumes the risk of placing himself in the middle of a war in order to communicate to the rest of the world what is happening, he’s trying to negotiate for peace. Perhaps that’s the reason why those in charge of perpetuating a war do not like to have photographers around. In the field, what you experience is extremely immediate. What you see is not an image on a page in a magazine 10,000 miles away with an advertisement for Rollex watches on the next page. What you see is unmedicated pain, injustice, and misery. It’s occurred to me that if everyone could be there just once to see for themselves what white phosphorous does to the face of a child, or what unspeakable pain is caused by the impact of a silver bullet, or how a jagged piece of shrapnel can rip someone’s leg off. If everyone could be there to see for themselves the fear and the grief just one time, then they would understand that nothing is worth letting things get to the point where that happens to even one person, let alone thousands. But everyone cannot be there, and that is why photographers go there; to show them, to reach out, and grab them, and make them stop what they’re doing, and pay attention to what is going on. To create pictures powerful enough to overcome the deluding effects of the mass media and shake people out of their indifference. To protest, and by the strength of that protest, to make others protest."
- James Nachtwey

orlandyy:

"Why photograph war? Is it possible to put an end to a form of human behavior, which is existent throughout history, by means of photography? The proportions of that notion seem ridiculously out of balance, yet that very idea has motivated me. For me, the strength in photography lies in its ability to evoke a sense of humanity. If war is an attempt to negate humanity, then photography can be perceived as the opposite of war, and if it’s used well, it can be a powerful ingredient and the antidote to war. In a way, if an individual assumes the risk of placing himself in the middle of a war in order to communicate to the rest of the world what is happening, he’s trying to negotiate for peace. Perhaps that’s the reason why those in charge of perpetuating a war do not like to have photographers around. In the field, what you experience is extremely immediate. What you see is not an image on a page in a magazine 10,000 miles away with an advertisement for Rollex watches on the next page. What you see is unmedicated pain, injustice, and misery. It’s occurred to me that if everyone could be there just once to see for themselves what white phosphorous does to the face of a child, or what unspeakable pain is caused by the impact of a silver bullet, or how a jagged piece of shrapnel can rip someone’s leg off. If everyone could be there to see for themselves the fear and the grief just one time, then they would understand that nothing is worth letting things get to the point where that happens to even one person, let alone thousands. But everyone cannot be there, and that is why photographers go there; to show them, to reach out, and grab them, and make them stop what they’re doing, and pay attention to what is going on. To create pictures powerful enough to overcome the deluding effects of the mass media and shake people out of their indifference. To protest, and by the strength of that protest, to make others protest."

- James Nachtwey

Something That Can’t be Compared

A friend of mine recently expressed to me that she would like to start a business, but didn’t know what. Then she goes on,

"If you were in my position, that’s no big problem for you. You know what you’re good at and what you love. You can get an income from your photography easily. But not me, I don’t really know what I love."

Then I told her, “Wrong. Everybody think that I have a natural talent in art and photography, and that I love it so much everyday. It’s wrong because there’s a bumpy road along the way. There are even days when I think I should give up photography completely.”

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Even James Nachtwey, my hero in documentary photography, sure to have struggled along the way in his career. He came to Sydney and I met him in May 2013.

And I was honest to my friend. Every artists will struggle with their craft, and I have seen a lot of photographer friends of mine who have diverted their creativity into music, painting, writing, or perhaps nothing related to arts. And this is something you have to know before even thinking about comparing yourself to other people. Usually, there’s nothing to be compared to (and it usually lead to unnecessary disappointment).

Have you ever had a crush on a girl (or a guy) and thinking she’s the perfect persona, although you don’t really know her all that well? I have. And I also found out that, no matter how ‘perfect’ her life may be, I actually don’t know the other aspects of her life — at the end of the day, she’s probably just another girl who’s worried about controlling her diet, or wondering whether to get a new purse or shoes in her next pay day… The usual worries as a perfectly normal human being. Ergo, we heard writers and poets who say, “…love the imperfect person perfectly.”

I guess before we were to say anything about others’ work, we have to know deeper than what’s at the surface. If a photographer exhibit ten photographs, it doesn’t mean s/he took only ten photographs (all of which are hanged on gallery wall). Who knows if s/he has taken 1,000 or 20,000 photographs before coming down to the best ten? You will only know if you know the artist deeper through interview or a direct Q&A.

Singapore, October 2012.

streetportrait:

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Friday afternoon lunchtime. It is another cold day and it is starting to spit a bit (super light rain).
I decided once again to go somewhere not too far for lunch.
A mental map of all the nearby shops in the area formed in my head with shops I have been to this week turning up in red and…

Although one of my favourite portrait photographers Ade hasn’t been taking pictures lately… I happen to dive into his blog today and re-read this piece of entry. It’s such a sweet story that lightens the mood in my super-busy week :)