Graphic designer and photographer Loris Faé is a true film enthusiast. He explored the different possibilities offered by our medium format film Potsdam Kino 120 100 ISO and took portraits and landscapes with it. He shares his delicate and silky monochrome photos with us while answering our questions about his artistry and work.
Hello Loris, could you introduce yourself to the Lomography Community?
Hello, I am Loris, a graphic designer. For a little over 20 years, I have been working in this field, and for 10 years, I have been practicing photography in parallel. First as a studio photo assistant and then on my own. I mainly shot portraits for individuals and professionals and creates content for craftsmen or merchants. And finally, for fun, travel and nature photography.
How your passion for film photography was born? What was your first camera?
My passion for film photography started during my studies in art school. I encountered photography at a time when film photography was in decline as the very first digital SLR cameras were born. My first camera was the one my dad (like many) loaned me for a school project; a Canon AE1 Program that I still have with 24 mm, 50 mm and 135 mm lenses as well as filters… a luxury starter kit!
And film is also about sound, patience, a certain imagination, and processing in the darkroom... It remains a somewhat magical process!
Could you tell us a little more about the images you took with the Potsdam Kino film?
I shot these three rolls in different settings and conditions each time. For the first roll, I shot Océane in Sète, around a small fishermen's village. For this shoot, she made her outfit in upcycling. For the settings, I remember it was 1/500s and often between f/5.6, f/8, and f/11 because the light was very strong but the advantage of the medium-format is that, even at f/8, the bokeh remains very pleasant, very silky. On the other hand, I had the feeling of burning out the highlights every time I pressed the shutter button.
For the second roll, I shot Laura in a solarium. A shoot halfway between a simple portrait and an “ethnic” inspired shoot with body and head jewelry kindly lent by Camille. We had a very unstable light that day. We had to wait for the clouds to pass to gain one or two stops. I mainly shot at f/2.8 and 1/125s.
As I did not try the Potsdam before, I had no idea how the contrasts between the black dress and Laura's complexion would stand out. Same as the first roll, the final word was: We'll see ;) Shooting in film also means accepting mistakes and surprises!
For the third roll, I wanted to be more disparate in the subjects photographed. As with the other two films, the common thread was the contrasts, I chose scenes that suited it. Rocks and sea, small alley in the shade and bright light, stone texture, etc... Each time, I measured the light with my light-meter to try to be as "accurate" as possible.
What did you think of our film Potsdam Kino 120 100 ISO and with which camera did you use it?
I used the Potsdam Kino with my Mamiya c220 and its 80 mm f/2.8 lens. A medium-format TLR 6x6. As the camera doesn't have a light-meter, I used an application on my smartphone to measure the light. It’s not the most accurate measurement but so far this it worked fine with me.
I really like the almost “washed out” black and white rendering. The whites are not really white, on the other hand, the blacks are present. The high and low light transition is quite smooth with a very nice range of gray. Details are present, with a fine grain. The textures are well restored despite a lens that is not the best in this category. In this regard, the Mamiya c220 and 80 mm combination accentuates this old-school rendering of the film and the square format is the cherry on the top, especially on images taken in the village or in the countryside. I find that the film adapts well to different light situations or subjects. This allows us to play a little with stronger contrasts. I would like to use it in a studio with a flash to push contrasts for some portraits for example.
What do you like about the 120 format photography?
I like the medium format for different reasons. On one hand, I am very attached to the square format. With the standardization of 16:9, composing with the square format becomes almost exotic. I think that this format is not used enough. And how to talk about the medium format without evoking this inimitable rendering! Between the very marked area of sharpness, the transition to the background bokeh and the quality of the bokeh… it is my favorite format.
When I go for a shoot, I never wonder if I should take a medium format camera as it's always in my bag with 2 or 3 films. And finally, the very limited number of photos such as 12 max with the C220, encourages you to go to the essential and I like this constraint.
What about black & white photography?
Without being too cliché: black and white is timeless; I think it could not be more current and contemporary in a world saturated with colors. This obviously makes it easier to read the image because the eye is not disturbed by the color. Black and white is mostly a choice. When the film is in the camera, it cannot be switched with a color film (except on certain cameras with interchangeable backs). Not all subjects and images are suitable for black and white. I think you need to understand what you are going to shoot to make your choice of film beforehand, but having a roll of black and white in the bag is often a good idea.
Why do you think we continue to shoot on film today?
For magic, temporality, and the object! There is such a time difference between digital and film... I rarely develop my films immediately after shooting. I often wait weeks or even months… Something that I do not do in digital. And when the magical moment of development arrives, it is a real pleasure to discover the images.
And of course for the object. I enjoy the different pleasures of shooting with a particular camera... There is such a difference between a Praktika and a Canon AE-1 for example, the rendering of optics and bokeh... each camera will bring its share of pleasures and surprises and each time with a different rendering. You can experiment with a lot of things with film; push or hold a film, multiple exposures, film soup, film swap... You can also burn the film once developed, play with the temperatures during development... I do not put film and digital in opposition because this is not comparable, but on the contrary, they are two complementary tools.
Any upcoming projects?
Above all, continue to take pleasure in photographing and developing my films because it is always an adventure! Do film photography trips like the micro-adventure in the Morvan that you published last year. And finally, continue to photograph people!
Lomography's B&W Kino films are available on our online shop.