Going back to shooting with film - Part 1 by Karthik Rajagopal

I was about 11 years old when I used a camera for the first time. And that was in 1990's when film and transparencies were the only media to shoot images and digital photography was not in vogue. Later once I finished my Engineering and moved to Chennai, I bought Nikon FM10 which was my first professional SLR, followed by Canon EOS 5 , Electro 35 & Nikon FE2. While I sold all gears I used during film days, I kept Nikon FE2 that I bought from Sekar anna as a matter of beautiful memories associated with learning photography in film.

Madras War Cemetry shot with Nikon FM10 and Novapan film. Printed with an enlarger and then scanned. 

Madras War Cemetry shot with Nikon FM10 and Novapan film. Printed with an enlarger and then scanned. 

I was lucky enough to learn film developing and printing from my first photography teacher K.L. Raja Ponsing at Ambitions4 Academy in 2005. May be, I am one of the last from my generation to have learnt photography using film and working in a darkroom. 

Honestly, for a good photographer this film/ digital choice is not something I want to get into. But, there is something in it which makes me crazy and run behind film. Its two reasons:

  1. The whole process with a suspense and surprise. If you do not understand... Its like magic... An image slowly appears on white paper when dipped in a magic chemical called the developer. And you get to expose twice ;)
  2. That arty filmy look you get when manually printed. 

With this in mind, I decided to clean and put my FE2 back to life. Thanks to Khaleel Bhai who did a through work on cleaning my lovely camera.  

 My Nikon FE2 cleaned 2 weeks ago

 My Nikon FE2 cleaned 2 weeks ago

So, why not shoot wedding photographs in analog and also print it manually. Atleast to mee silver hallide prints are more arty as compared to dye based prints. On one side it satisfies my fancy craving and on other side I thought I could delight my clients with a fancy offering which they may not otherwise get from a commercial photographer. I shared this thought with a few friends and I was humbled by the amount of support i got from them and through social media. 

Film Rolls from Makka's refrigerator

Film Rolls from Makka's refrigerator

First of the help came from my friend Bhagath Makka who happily gave his treasured expired rolls that wer stored in his freezer. While I wanted to B&W, he showed me the creative variations and tones possible with colour film. I wish, they were all available and affordable in Chennai.

 Can you see those two Zeiss Milvus lenses?

 Can you see those two Zeiss Milvus lenses?

Carl Zeiss always had supported me. Be it workshops or anything I wanted to experiment. I would say its a luxury to have Milvus lenses for a test shoot. Thanks to Vivek Infocom and Sachin.

FE2 with Zeiss Milvus 85 mm f/1.4 and Fomapan ISO 400 film

FE2 with Zeiss Milvus 85 mm f/1.4 and Fomapan ISO 400 film

My friend Thaseen Jeelani has been helping me with film stock. He arranged couple of fresh rolls of Fomapan in 1 days notice. 

Complete set along with Sony A7R ii

Complete set along with Sony A7R ii

Digital media is now indespensable to give a commercial delivery. So, I packed my Sony A7R II kit with Godox flash, accessories a nd other lenses. I should thank Vinoth Vincent (Chennai Cameras) for offering me a Vivitar flash at the time of need. Madhavan Sir also offered to help me with flash. I should say I felt lucky to have help from the photographers community on my experiment to shoot wedding with film.

Zeiss Milvus 85 mm f/1.4 on Nikon FE2

Zeiss Milvus 85 mm f/1.4 on Nikon FE2

As the Milvus lenses were F mount, i will not be able to use on my Sony. And I always make sure my kit is as small as possible. That makes me mobile and checked concentrate on the picture. But, its almost impossible to find a Nikon to Sony adaptor for rent. Buying it would set me down by atleast Rs 5000. I just posted the requirement on FB, and KitKarma was ready with the solution within minutes.

fotodiox F mount to EF adaptor

fotodiox F mount to EF adaptor

Its a true case where #kitkarma a peer to peer equipment sharing platform has helped me get an adaptor for rent. And for a reasonable Rs 50 per day. Peer to peer sharing helps professions when they come across a situation where you require something you never use for a brief period of time. Hope I can soon find Leica M6 on #KitKarma.

Beauty it is...

Beauty it is...

I am indebted to the community of photographers for supporting me. This is my first shoot with film after 10 years of break. My idea is to just establish the workflow so that I can do it in a seamless way next time. I will write another blog to share my shooting and developing experince soon...

FAQs on Behance Portfolio Reviews. by Karthik Rajagopal

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What is a Behance Portfolio Review?

Portfolio Review events are hosted by companies, professional organizations, and individuals interested in connecting their creative community, and attended by creatives of all disciplines and experience levels looking for inspiration and actionable feedback on their work.

What is the difference between review of photographs by an individual/ getting comments on social media as compared to this event?

A Behance portfolio review is not limited to giving a critic on a photograph / an art work. It’s a review of your complete body of work. Experts will give insights on how to take your work further. You will get an actionable feedback on your work.

You have called in experts and established people. I am a beginner, is it apt for me to attend?

Whether you are a beginner or a person who has progressed advanced, this forum shall help you take the next step. As a beginner you will draw a lot of inspiration from the work of others and get to know from experts on your strengths and weaknesses and take appropriate action. It will be an opportunity to meet fellow artist and socialize with them.

Can I get my Portfolio reviewed on Multiple Genre by Multiple Judges?

Its our aim that participants should get maximum benefit. Our answer depends on the number of participants and time left. We will do our best to keep you happy.

Do you charge a fee?

Its absolutely free.

Do you give a prize?

Yes Adobe gives Behance awards. This shall be given to members based on judge’s discretion. One person get a full pack of adobe application access for an year.

Am I allowed to use Social Media Apps at the Venue?

You are absolutely free to use FB, Instagram and Tweet from the venue. It’s a cool event. In fact you can hash tag #BehanceReviewsChennai. Its our request not to use mobile phone while you are in conversation with the judge.

How am I supposed to bring my work for review?

1. Photographers and Artists bringing prints/ painting can bring their work in sizes 12 x 8 inches and above as it will be convenient for review.

2. Photographers, animators bringing soft copy are requested to bring their work in pen-drive, laptops, iPads/ Tabletswith displays of 9 inch and above. We shall not review pictures on mobile phones, SD cards, CDs, DVDs and Bluerays.

3. Most importantly bring best of your work which shows diversity in your style of work. Bring a minimum of 5 to a maximum of 20 art works, so that you get more time with the judge on review.

 

Further reads:

1. https://www.behance.net/reviews

2. https://help.behance.net/hc/en-us/articles/204484024-What-is-Portfolio-Review-Week-

Beauty doesn't lie in the Hair Style... by Karthik Rajagopal

Shot a few years ago. PC: Makka Studios

Shot a few years ago. PC: Makka Studios

 

Harini as I know her is an ever cheerful fun loving soul.  I know her for the last four years and she has never failed to keep the smile on her face. She has been and will be a crazy girl. On the other side she is intelligent and kind hearted.

 

We have been planning to shoot a few pictures of her for the past two years and it had never happened. It was mostly because of my Engineering job that I was busy with. A couple of weeks ago she called me and asked me if I could shoot a couple of portraits of her. I said I 'd be more than happy to do it. I was even more excited when I learnt about whey she wanted to get her shot.

 

Before Haircut

Before Haircut

‪#‎Donatehair‬ for a friend unknown, who battles through cancer was her objective. She had decided to donate her hair that she has been trying to grow longer, ever since she remembers. For the past couple of years, she has been devoting a lot of time maintaining its length, thickness and curls. So chopping it off should have been a very hard decision. 

If I can inspire atleast 2 people to come forward for the cause, my objective is achieved. - Harini
— Harini

It all started when she got to know The Travelling Stylist, Sushanth Shyamsundar. His encouragement to "go short" (and even shorter), his persistent effort to curb her inhibition, his Himalayan patience for having answered all her queries and doubts, his friendly approach and customized results have played a major role in this huge step.

Inspecting Hair Length

Inspecting Hair Length

Thanks Sushanth, I feel like rejuvenated and more beautiful. Not to forget, I don’t have to comb my hair anymore :P (Dual objective achieved! )
— Harini
All set for action

All set for action

CUT OVER

CUT OVER

Stylist at Work

Stylist at Work

The Travelling Stylist - Accomplished

The Travelling Stylist - Accomplished

After talking to her I felt like shooting the whole process as a documentary. Due to constrains of time, we decided to just shoot a few pictures of before, during and after the shoot. I should say I really enjoyed shooting Harini and Sushanth. It was a whole new experience as a photographer. I wish I get to shoot more such projects.

Harini's Summer Style
I urge all my friends who have got the required length of hair (at least 10 inches) to donate it after researching thoroughly about the cause. I’m sure you wouldn’t regret it.
— Harini
Stylist and the Styled
According to Harini, there are other side benefits of going short...
  • Your hair grows back quickly and you get to experiment with different hairstyles at different lengths of hair as it grows.
  • What better way to sport the summer looks!
  • Also because, having long hair is too mainstream ;)
The Beautiful Mind sans hair

After shooting Harini before hair-cut, during the cut and after it, I felt the beauty of a person lies in the mind and the expression of the beautiful mind. I hope I gave a good title to this blog.