My very first Ilford film — and boy it’s not surprising why are they so highly revered!
When I found out that my friend was going to Hong Kong, I asked her to help me find some films that are not easy to get here in Malaysia. The list I gave her included specific film brands and models, such as Fuji Astia, to make it easier so she can simply hand it to the shop. However, on one item I was being very general — I just put “any Ilford films”.
So far, the only Ilford I can find is the XP2 in 120 format. It is still possible to find others, but it has to be ordered online or by other means, and rarely we can find them sold in shops. My friend returned a week later with a few rolls of film, but there was only one Ilford — the Delta 400. It still managed to excite me anyway!
One Wednesday night I loaded the film into my LC-Wide and returned to my primary school, where Chinese calligraphy classes are conducted every week. There would be school kids learning the basics, but also senior citizens who have had years of experience there to hone their skills. I used to write there when I was still studying, but stopped once I entered secondary school.
My grandfather also regularly writes there; but in recent years he has started to take on the role of assistant coach to teach the kids. I thought that the whole setting was perfect for some black and white photography and it was really nice to catch up with my teacher too.
When I got back the film, I was simply amused by the results. The contrast is vivid, but not overpowering. Details are nicely preserved and the highlights are not blown out. But the thing I loved the most is how the blacks turn out really black. The depth and dimension of this film is simply amazing; and it really helps to bring out the essence of the calligraphic writings as well.
In conditions like this, where the surroundings are in a muted colour palette, it is best to experiment with Black and White photography. After my this first attempt using an Ilford, I can say that I’m totally hooked now and will surely find more of them to shoot with!