Film photography has been a bit of a rabbit hole for me. I’ve always been into photography among many other visual and artistic endeavours. I have a background in graphic design and visual arts, but for some reason I didn’t consider myself much of a photographer until I got back to 35mm film photography in 2016. I had some initial experience in analog photography as a teenager, around the late 90’s and early 2000’s just before the world went digital. Digital photography didn’t do it for me though, and I experienced a great disconnect with photography during those years. It never felt real so to speak.
I do shoot both film and digital, but none the less, film is the only true medium for me. I certainly think about it more and it seems to teach me more about photography and it’s fundamentals. That is the reason I started writing this blog too. Since I’m thinking about film photography so much, I want to print out my thoughts, as an open learning journal. I also want be part of the film community and help spreading the word about this awesome medium.
Approach and influences
I like straight photography and in-camera techniques. I use Photoshop in my daily work as a graphic designer more than enough and want to leave that out of my photography as much as I can. I try to avoid editing and even cropping. Black and white images look beautiful as they are and I usually add just a hint of contrast or adjust the tones slightly.
My favourite genre is street photography, inspired by the usual big names of classic photo journalism, such as Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau and Alfred Eisenstaedt — even though, I don’t have a favourite photographer as such. I’m just a fan of photography and art in general. I also enjoy very much the work and teachings of John Free. In addition to street photography, I very much enjoy anything nature related, as I am an avid outdoor enthusiast, which is probably less obvious judging from my photo gallery. But occasionally you can find me from a long arctic hike from Lapland with my camera. I’m originally from Helsinki, Finland, where I like to shoot most of my street photos. Nowadays I live in a rural area in Sipoo near Helsinki, which have given me a different view of the urban environment.
My gear setup
I really enjoy simple, well-built, mechanical vintage cameras. I love gear just as much as anyone, but I try to keep my collection very minimal and I often give away or sell the stuff that I don’t need.
- Leica M6 classic (black chrome)
- Leica Summaron 35mm f2.8
I switched from Leica M4-2 to M6 very recently. The Leica is my main shooter that I take everywhere with me. It has to be the best and most enjoyable camera I’ve ever used. I absolutely love it for it’s reliability, simplicity and historical significance.
- Olympus OM-1 md body (chrome)
- OM Zuiko 50mm f1.8
- OM Zuiko 35mm f2.8
- OM Zuiko 28mm f3.5
The original Olympus OM series is just the best! I’ve shot probably a million rolls through my OM-1, which is probably my all time favourite SLR.
- Fujifilm X-E2
I don’t have any native auto-focus lenses for the Fuji. I basically just have adapters for mounting my Leica and Olympus lenses, which means I basically shoot digital with manual focus only, using the vintage lenses. Fujifilm digital cameras are so far the only ones that manages to simulate the film shooting experience to some extent, which is something I really enjoy.
Film and developing
I develop my own black and white negatives at home. At the moment I mostly use D-76 for developing. I enjoy different kinds of films, but my all time favourite has to be Kodak Tri-x 400.
At the moment I’m more than happy with just with the few cameras I currently own. But — I’m very interested in looking into old Nikons too. Especially the FM2 and F3 with 50mm lens.
— Pekka Keskinen