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Cinematic Film Portraits on a 35mm Motion Picture Film

If there’s one thing people love, it’s movies. Or, more accurately, they love stories. I managed to acquire some CineStill 50D film in 35mm and decided to photograph some cinematic film portraits and tell a love story.

Coming up with a concept

I’d had some CineStill 50D for quite some time after buying some of the very first non-DX coded rolls from one of my favourite film stores in Stockholm, Brunos Bildverkstad. When I went to New York earlier in the year I had taken some with intending to shoot it there. However, something told me to wait with it and I brought it with me back to Stockholm. I wanted to shoot people with it. I wanted to shoot cinematic film portraits, not a cityscape. Given that CineStill is a repackaged 35mm Motion Picture Film I decided that I wanted my shoot to LOOK cinematic, and that would require a couple in love. Enter E and J.

The setting

Setting up a photoshoot is very much like directing a movie. You, as the photographer, if you do not have a stylist or a team of people, need to direct every step. So I found a fantastic location in Stockholm where access to shipping containers is readily available. I then found E and J and we got up early one Sunday morning in Fall to start our shoot. E and J were worried about what to do as they had never been photographed but because I had a clear vision of what I wanted they fell into the roll of loving each other naturally with the right direction from me.

The venue

In an industrial area of Stockholm where there is a Banana Company, a Go-Kart track and a bus depot, shipping containers are everywhere. There are quite a few with public access and the area is almost always deserted on weekends. I had decided that I wanted a lot of colour in my scene from the backgrounds, but that I wanted neutral costumes on my couple so I had E and J wear black with E accenting her look with her coloured hair. It provided the perfect contrast for their personalities. Unassuming, yet yielding a gravity that brings you in and makes you want to see more.

The couple

It’s obvious E and J are made for each other. When we got to the location they had confessed that they hadn’t slept much the night before because they “stayed up all night playing monopoly.” Monopoly is not just a game you play with friends socially and NOT expect heated arguments and temper tantrums, so I was impressed that they had survived the night still in love. J’s best friend had also played with them and might just have played moderator… maybe.

Both animal lovers, E and J live in their own little apartment zoo, surrounded by snakes, spiders and lizards. J is studying to work with animals and has a calm and comforting way about him that animals, including my own dog, are immediately drawn to. E, also quiet, is unashamedly beautiful both inside and out, unassumingly intelligent and is instantly likeable. With both of their seemingly quiet natures, I can only wonder how polite and civilised their monopoly game really was.

The perfect story

Due to their way with each other, they really brought to life the characters I had imagined for these cinematic film portraits. I wanted to focus on how a couple are with each other. How they interact. The way E and J look at each other. They seem to understand each other without uttering a single word. A look. A light touch of the hand. I almost felt like I was intruding on their time together as we worked through the shots. I think the results are absolutely fantastic because of this and because E and J allowed me into their world for a couple of hours. Not just to become the characters in my head, but to show me that they themselves were far more interesting.

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

pinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

cinematic film portraits cinestill 50Dpinthis

If you’d like to know more about CineStill 50D you can go to CineStill’s Website where a complete spec is listed.

If you are interested in working with me on a photoshoot, gladly contact me via email or the Contact section of my website.

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Using 35mm film to shoot some Travel Photography in Iceland

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY IN ICELAND, THE LAND OF ICE AND FIRE. SEE WHAT THIS AMAZING LIVING WILDERNESS LOOKS LIKE WHEN PHOTOGRAPHED ON 3 KODAK FILMS AND 2 CAMERAS.

Why Iceland?

I had never really been too interested in doing any travel photography in Iceland, or in Iceland itself. Normally a sun chaser, I had a picture in my head of Iceland being a desolate, baron, depressing and dark place. I am not the type of person who likes travelling to the same place more than once. Or, if I really fall in love with a place, more than twice. I like to see new things and new places. Experience new cultures and listen to new languages. Experience new foods and see new fashions. Iceland just seemed… too far down on my list.

When the prospect of taking a trip to shoot some travel photography in Iceland arose, it wasn’t until years after I had already been living in Scandinavia. I was watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a movie every Photographer needs to see, and Iceland suddenly became interesting to me. That, and the prospect of leaving Scandinavia never having seen Iceland was something I was unwilling to put in my journal. So I booked a trip, and from the moment the plane’s shadow touched that vast, volcanic land, I knew I would love it.

Touch Down: Finally arriving.

Iceland is like the last great, real frontier. On first appearance it actually does appear baron. Bubbly volcanic rock forms a landscape that appears almost alien. It’s like nothing you’ll see anywhere else on the planet. Everything looks different. Everywhere you look there is something fascinating to see. And if you look closer, it isn’t as baron as one would first think. It’s thriving! I had a lump in my throat as the plane touched down because I could now see this. I had judged Iceland so incorrectly that my newfound and almost instant love for it was bred almost out of guilt that I felt I had to make up for. Like an internal apology.

Big Choices: What kind of film to use?

However, before that moment of arrival, I had some choices to make. Choosing what gear to take with me to Iceland was hard. I knew I was going to be using film and two formats, 35mm and medium format, but I agonised over which film I would take for weeks. It might be my only chance to see this amazing place, and even if I don’t end up liking it, I still wanted to do it justice visually. I settled on three different films. Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 160 and Kodak Portra 400.

It’s interesting to see how the different landscapes in Iceland lend themselves to the different films I chose to take with me. The conditions in April are cold, but clear and bright. So the Portra 160 and Ektar 100 was perfect for the brightest parts of the days while the Portra 400 I used for everything else. The Ektar has come out as my favourite film for this trip because it shows Iceland’s true face. Colourful, bold and dramatic.

Lasting Impressions: A country that I’ll never forget

Even though Iceland presents herself as dramatic and bold, she’s also quietly unassuming. She strides up to you and looks right into your soul without blinking. She grabs your soul and doesn’t let go until she’s sure you get it. And you do. You get it. You get that the people of Iceland are fiercely independent and proud. They are beautiful and warm and make the best bacon covered dates you’ve ever had!! You understand, finally, why Iceland is called “The Land of Fire and Ice”.

Volcanoes, huge waterfalls, vast clear blue skies, sprawling volcanic fields that go for miles, gigantic glaciers, towering mountains, cerulean blue waters, powerful geysirs, slalom rivers, ailment healing hot springs, world famous horses and hardly any trees. This is Iceland.

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Travel Photography in Icelandpinthis

Film developed and scanned by Carmencita Film Lab

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