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Travel Photography in Zanzibar – Using Film in Stone Town

Zanzibar is a Travel Photography dream. Sometimes known as the Spice Island, it is actually part of the Tanzanian archipelago together with Pemba, with the picturesque Stone Town at its heart.

 Short History

A photographic gem, Zanzibar consists of 2,461 square kilometres and has been in existence from as early as the late stone age, but it wasn’t until 1963 that Zanzibar really came into its own. Once a haven for Persian, Arab and Indian Traders, Zanzibar became known as the Spice Island due to its abundance and ease to get to. Stone Town is still a key trade spot today and a wonderful place for travel photography enthusiasts to cut their teeth.

Language and Culture

With a population of around 1.3m people, Zanzibar boasts three official languages: Kiswahili, English and Arabic. It is notably famous for its heavily arabic influenced architecture and those beautiful Zanzibar Doors most people flock to Stone Town to see. There’s nothing like walking around the tiny streets and spotting the gorgeous, ornately carved, gigantic doors that sit proudly on people’s doorsteps.

With a population that is 98% Muslim, Zanzibar, and especially Stone Town is a welcoming and friendly place, which makes travel photography popular. It is also quite hot most of the time, so wearing modest clothing (covering shoulders, nothing too revealing) is appreciated and will also stave off any nasty sunburns. Add that to the tiny fact that a camera strap can cause major heat rash and it’s worth covering those shoulders!

Things to do and see

One of the best ways to see Stone Town is to hire a guide and do a walking tour, coupled with a trip to one of the stunning beach areas like Paje. You can see The Mercury Room in Stone Town, named after Queen’s Freddy Mercury who was born in Zanzibar and take a tour of the old fort and stop for some chai on your way.

One of the best shops to visit in Stone Town is the Zanzibar Gallery. Housed in the same building Queen’s frontman once lived, Zanzibar Gallery is a curios dream. You’ll find everything from antiques, to books to artworks and be greeted with a big friendly smile in the process.

Once you’ve had your fill of Stone Town, head out to one of the beaches. The travel photography below depicts some scenes fro Paje. If you’re in to Kite Surfing then Paje is the place to be and you can even go reef surfing in the early morning which is a zen experience if there ever was one. The days are hot and the nights are warm. The wind is perfect for kiting and the beach is wonderful for strolling.

Overall, Zanzibar is the pearl of East Africa and definitely worth a visit, especially if you like photography. Below, I have used my Canon EOS 1v and some Kodak Portra 400 35mm film.

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

Travel Photography in Zanzibarpinthis

If you would like to know more about shooting some Travel Photography in Zanzibar, feel free to contact me on my email hello(at)cjeklund.com or through the CONTACT section of this website.

Film developed and scanned by Carmencita Film Lab

 

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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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