Last friday… I remember like it was yesterday. But it was actually the day before yesterday. So yes — I remember it well. It was a beautiful summer evening. Perfect weather. I had a rough week, but instead going for a drink, I decided to pack my camera bag with my Leica M6, Olympus OM-1 and few rolls of that sweet, sweet Kodak Tri-x 400.
My plan was to find something special. Something very classic. And as you know, camera is like a talisman. If you wear it, you are able to summon the photo gods and they’ll send you photographs. If you wear two cameras or a Leica, the photo gods are very pleased. I was wearing two cameras of which the other one happened to be a Leica. The photography gods were extremely pleased that night and arranged something very special for me.
As I was wandering the streets, looking something to shoot — preferably a view that would look like a scene from Casablanca, I happened to notice this beautiful woman. I recognised her to be the vintage model Shanona Dreem. The camera straps pulled me towards her, like a dowsing rod. We started to chat and one thing lead to another. After talking about this and that for couple of minutes, we ended up having the most spontaneous model shoot ever, right there on that spot. The conditions were perfect and the photography gods were smiling upon us.
Vintage movie look and feel
As you may remember, I have a sweet spot for photos that look like stills from an old movie. Shanona looked extremely beautiful and exactly like she popped out from an old finnish movie. It just so happened that we were blessed with some of the most perfect background settings too. The image above was taken in front of an old cruise boat that just happened to have an old Volvo parked in front of it. The lighting was pretty much perfect soft sunset. I’m also very pleased how the Leica lens rendered the image. Very creamy classic look.
Pulling Tri-X again for that classic look
On my last post I mentioned felling in love pull processing Tri-x. I’ve found that to be extremely nice trick for summer when a slower film is needed and contrast needs to be moderated in-camera. The roll of Tri-x on my Leica was set to 400, but the one in my Olympus OM-1 was set to 200 and I really think it helped to soften the contrast a bit. These images would have not been as successful with Tri-x pushed to 800, which is my usual solution. The lighting was actually very high contrast, which you probably can’t tell too much from the images, because it has been softened up so nicely. Pulled Tri-x really handles high contrast situations well and helps to create a very classic retro look. I developed the films at home, as usual, in Kodak D-76 on a 1:1 dilution. I scanned the images with my cheapo Epson V330 or whatever the model is.
I didn’t do much editing, as the images turned out so nicely. I did only minor adjustments to some of the tones and also some very minor dodging and burning on Photoshop. But 95% these are very natural images. I left the dust particles also on purpose, because I enjoy the filmy look and feel that they help to create.
A huge thanks to Shanona — she’s such a talented model, with a great taste for aesthetics. I enjoyed shooting with her tremendously and it is amazing to think just how spontaneously these images came to be. Give her a follow on Instagram at www.instagram.com/shanonadreem/