Michelle Blythe and I have been friends for a long time. We used to be coworkers on the same job a few years ago. We both left the company and have moved on to other jobs but we still stay in touch. Michelle is also a photographer and a writer, so we kick ideas around and help each other creatively.
On this shoot together I used a few different cameras. For black and white work, I used my Nikon FM2N coupled with a Lensbaby Twist 60. The lens has a Petzval design, so it shoots beautiful swirls and has fantastic bokeh when shooting wide open at f/2.5. For film I used Ilford FP4 Plus. I like the slow speed and the soft tones the film produces. It was developed at box speed in Eco Pro/Legacy Pro developer.
I also used two instant cameras: A 1980’s vintage Polaroid One Step Closeup, loaded with Impossible color instant film and an Instax Mini 9. The Instax camera is so much fun that I have it with me all the time.
The Polaroid/Impossible film combo has a “vintage” look in to the emulsion and it worked great with the colors as they were photographed. The Instax camera and film has more of a realistic color punch to it, which also worked well in capturing some nice images.
We wrapped up shooting just as the sun was heading towards the horizon, bringing out wonderful warm earthy tones. I was glad I brought the instant cameras along for the ride, to capture some nice color portraits along with the black and white work.
Shooting with film is always an enjoyable time. There isn’t any screen on the back of the camera to distract from the photography process, and the disconnect between shooting and seeing the final product allows me to concentrate more on the framing and composition and worry less about choosing which image to use. It also brings an intimacy to the portrait session. Less time is spent with camera controls, and more time is spent on framing working with the sitter. Since there are limited frames per roll, each shot has more emphasis. I really enjoy this way of seeing and shooting.