Eliot Japy is a young, upcoming photographer based in Paris. He tested out the Potsdam Kino 120 film and shared with us a step-by-step guide to the process behind creating these photos, from getting the right location and composition to developing and scanning each frame himself. He also talked to us about the enjoyment he gets from analogue photography and the limitless opportunities for experimentation.
It is your first time being published in our Magazine, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Eliot Japy and I am a second-year photography student at Gobelins, a Parisian photo school.
At what age did you start photography? What part of analogue photography do you appreciate the most?
I started at 14, and I caught interest for analogue very early on. I discovered the joy and the frustration of the homemade scanning and development process. I believe that analogue has a magical and crafting element that digital has lost with time. The limited amount of views, the development in the dark, the chemical smells but also the fear of messing up, all those feelings and emotions are close to my heart and make analogue a precious activity. Additionally, I really enjoy the silver printing process (as well as the printing of digital photos), as I do it on my own with baryta paper thanks to a numerico-analogue process.
Are there any themes or subjects that you gravitate towards when taking photos?
Hmm, not really... I would say that it depends on several factors: which film I am using, the current season, the people I am with.
You recently tried out our Potsdam Kino B&W film, what did you think of it?
I really enjoyed the vast range of grey offered by the Potsdam, more specifically in the highlights where the dynamic range is the most important. The Potsdam has a 100 ISO sensibility, and since I was shooting during the winter, I was really afraid to be affected by the poor weather. Therefore, I decided to push its sensibility to 200 ISO, however, it did not take away any of the film's fine-grained in 120 (6x6). I really enjoy shooting in black and white as I find that the viewer's eye focuses more easily on the composition and the geometry of the photo, rather than eye-catching colors.
Can you explain the inspiration behind your photos?
This series of photos were captured one afternoon on the beach of Dieppe, in the north of France. I was lucky enough to benefit from a sunny winter day. I walked without a destination in mind, allowing my stroll to carry me through the city all the way to the beach. I decided to isolate my model on a 6x6 square format, in order to realize minimalist compositions with vast empty spaces.
Can you explain your development and scanning process?
I scanned the film on my own, and I used Kodak T-Max RS as a developer. I really enjoy the process of processing negatives, I find it to be the key moment. Then everything can happen, a chemical or timing mistake, and suddenly your photos are a distant memory. That is part of the game!
I did not encounter any problems during the development. After that, I moved to the scanning room. For my scans, I was lucky enough for this series to work with my school's scanner, an Imacon, although it is not always the case. During the lockdown, I started scanning at home with a 5DS above a light table, pinning my films between two glass plates. I scan the negatives, then convert to positives on Lightroom with NegativeLabPro. I really enjoy that "digital development" part, the render the pictures is then at stake, so it is a very important step for me.
Do you have any advice for black and white photography enthusiasts?
I know that the best advice I could give is to keep on experimenting again and again. There are thousands of creative possibilities, whether it be films, format, cameras or development possibilities. I do not think that experimentation knows any limit, and luckily, analogue black and white experimentation is quite affordable. In my opinion, you have to try it all.
Another Lomography product you would like to try out?
Many Lomography products caught my attention! It is hard to select one more than another haha. Films such as the LomoChrome Metropolis or the Lomography 400 and 800 are definitely on my list! Otherwise, there is the LomoGraflok 4x5 that I really want to try out!
Can you tell us a bit more about your future projects?
I am currently working on black and white portraits with a 4x5 dark chamber. When can we get a 4x5 Lomography film? ;)