Shooting Black and White was already an experience in itself for cinematographer and LomoAmigo Richie Duque. But trying out the new Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 was another challenge for Richie, who had never shot with such a low ISO before. Shooting this film with no preconceived idea of what the pictures would turn out like, Richie shared with us his impression of this brand new film.
"The photos have a real classic and old feel. They really do feel like something taken during the 19th century."
Did you have any previous experience shooting with slow film? What was the lowest ISO you’ve tried in the past?
I had actually never used a low ISO film before. I probably more often shoot high ISO film and even push it to 1600 or 3200. The lowest I’ve ever used before was 100 ISO.
How was your experience shooting with our slow ISO black and white film?
I was intrigued by using the low iso film. I come from a cinematography/video background, and we often need lots of ND filters to get a shallow focus look in daylight. I figured this low iso film would be perfect for a similar effect without ND filters. I’d be able to open up to wider apertures for that desired shallow focus look in strong daylight, even more, perfect for those older vintage cameras with shutter speeds not going very high. Also being able to bring shutter speed very low in daytime instead of waiting for low-light scenarios to get that motion blur/dragged shutter look seemed like the perfect application for this low ISO film. I really enjoyed my experience with it overall! I’ll definitely be using it again.
Did you come across any challenges while shooting the films?
There were definitely challenges. I was hoping to shoot it with a tripod and a shutter release cable. It seemed the best way to really get control and some surreal type imagery.
However, my photography has always, always been the complete opposite of that, and very spontaneous and all entirely handheld with subjects. I figured I wouldn’t change my style up too much but rather see if the low ISO film could adapt well to my style.
Even out during the daytime, albeit an overcast day, I was shooting entirely on a 50mm f1.4 mostly at f1.8-2.8 (some shots even at 1.4) and the shutter somewhere between 1/20-1/50. Some were even lower than that. Obviously that meant focus was very difficult to nail down and I knew there’d be a lot of motion blur. But that was the allure and point of using the film as well.
Do you have a favorite picture you shot with those films?
The first photo I took was probably my favorite, although some of the ones of my dad near the water are really interesting as well. But the first one I took was him sitting inside our living room next to a screen door staring outside to our backyard deck. The window light created a really beautiful catch light in his eyes and the entire background fell into darkness. It has a very 19th-century studio portrait look. It kind of transports me to a different time. Also, those of him hooded, turned away from the camera walking towards the sea are pretty evocative of some dream world.
Tell us a bit about the photos you’ve taken with Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 film?
The photos have a real classic and old feel. They really do feel like something taken during the 19th century. They also have an infrared film quality which is really exciting. The way the highlights and skin tones react and even veins and wrinkles are really incredible. I tried messing around with infrared film at one point a while back and never had much success with it, but this film achieved the look I was after so easily, where those other films never quite did it for me or I needed to invest in certain IR filters. I also chose to shoot near the water and the tall grass, I knew they’d give a really cool effect since they’re always moving with the wind in the background, and with the right shutter speed would blur in the final photos.
Do you prefer colored or black and white photography? Why?
I personally have always preferred color. This experience totally shifted my mindset though, it’s a first time in a long time I’ve gotten excited about black and white film. Most black and white films don’t really excite me. This one excites me.
What do you think of the outcome?
I was very pleased with the outcome. I was a little worried about how it would come out and thought they’d mostly be out of focus. It feels still within my style of work but also opens itself up to a whole new type of photography I’d like to pursue. It feels very classic and timeless but in other ways also ethereal and dream-like. I definitely want to use it much more for my personal work, now that I’m more familiar with it, I think my second time around with it I’ll be able to shoot with it even better.
Lastly what kind of photography would you recommend our new Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 film for?
I think the new black and white film would lend itself well to landscapes or more fine art photography. It also does great in portraits since it forces you to be almost wide open the entire time. If you like motion blur and shallow focus, this is definitely for you. Or if you use tripod and release cable you can get some really crisp sharp amazing photos with crazy low shutter effects in broad daylight!