Roll Number 8

Roll number 8 is the Kodak Ultramax 400 photographed over two days at Chinatown in Singapore. I managed to squeeze in some time to catch up with Isabelle and her mom as I wanted to go on a photo walk with her. I wanted to see how she reacts while photographing on the street, on the other hand, I want to show her how I do it. It didn’t take long to realise she was spending too much time on the camera settings and focusing. If you are going to spend more than 5 seconds standing there getting your exposure and focusing right, chances are your subject will notice your presence. It will somehow change what you want to capture in the first place as your subject might have moved away or turned back due to your presence. 

It takes a lot of practice to be invisible on the street, to blend into the crowd and no one even notice you were there, no one saw you taking their photos. To achieve that, we have to be very familiar with our gear and understand our camera settings. The lesser time you spend fumbling with the setting, the more time you can observe. Learning to frame the shot without the camera will cut down the time you spend in front of your subject. The reason why most street photographers stick to a prime lens so that you are used to the focal length. Whenever you see a scene, you know to step forward or move backward just by looking at it, even before you pick up the camera and look through the viewfinder.

I’m having a hard time looking for the Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400 36 exposures film in Melbourne. Michael’s Camera is selling a roll for $16.95, and VanBar Imaging has zero stock left for any Fujifilm, they are not even sure if any new stock will arrive at all. Currently, it is still possible to buy the 24 exposures off the shelf at $22 for a pack of three. But film processing cost the same whether you are using the 24 or 36 exposures, so it makes more sense to shoot with the 36 exposures film. 

There are still plenty of stocks for Kodak Ultramax 400 and Agfa Vista Plus 400, but since I have decided to stick to the Fujifilm to get consistency in the colour tone, the last thing I want is to change to another brand. And since most merchandisers are trying to push up the price for films, I have no choice but to order my stocks online. I did try to support local businesses, but the price difference is too huge. I can get the same film online for half the price of what Michael’s Camera is charging; I just need to order more and wait patiently.  

I have also decided to publish some scanned images from Roll 1 to 10 on my Instagram feed. Since all these photographs were shot last year and with the different type of films, I will not include them into my 2017 projects. For the rest of the films shot in 2017, I will not be scanning them at the lab for the time being. My objective is to forget what I have shot and just keep shooting. By the end of the year, I will go through the whole lot of negatives and pick out the one that will go into an exhibition and a book. I reckon it will be like opening a Christmas present, the mystery and excitement you get when you look back at what you have achieved in a year. Hopefully, I can tell myself it’s a job well done.

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