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Celebrating the art, process, and gear of the film photography community!

18 Aug '18

In The Frame: John Helmuth

 

John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

All Photos © John Helmuth
Instagram: @jhelmuth87

 My name is John Helmuth. I'm currently living in Philadelphia, but grew up right over the bridge in South Jersey. I graduated from the University of the Arts in 2011 with a BA in Graphic Design. I've been a film photographer since 2000-2001 when I got my first film camera, a Canon AE-1p. I stopped shooting film for a long time to get more digital work, but ended up selling all of my digital gear to invest in some Leica gear about 2 years ago. Most of my freelance work is shooting classic cars and classic car shows / events, but since I live in Philadelphia I always find myself shooting around the city focusing on whatever catches my eye. People, architecture, signage, all different things. I also usually travel with a batch of film whenever I'm on vacation.

John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

I ended up getting back into film photography a few years ago after taking a long break because I found my digital work more or less getting lost in the sea of digital photography online. I was able to get a better a response from my film work while continuing to photograph the same things I shot with digital. On top of getting more recognition for my film work, I love geeking out and getting into the more technical side of film. Absolutely love finding my favorite black and white films, using certain color films for certain times of day, pushing film to gain more light and texture and making the subjects of my images feel like they're from another space and time by just using certain types of film. Not to mention making new friends and being included in the film photography community.

My Domke F-5XB is filled with a Leica M6TTL .85 with matching leicavit, Voigtlander 35mm f1.4, Summarit 50mm f2.4, Tele-Elmarit 90mm f2.8, all BW XS-Pro filters, and a Yashica T2 point-and-shoot.

The first image is a photo of a 1949 Mercury that was shot in the Philadelphia Navy Yard in front of a retired aircraft carrier. This was photographed for the Jalopy Journal. I wanted to photograph this car surrounded by interesting elements of the city the car was original from.  I shot this image on Portra 400 around dusk. It was shot with a Leica M5 with an early 60s Summicron 90mm f2 lens.

The second image is a photo of my cousin on a smoke break outside of our beach house. Her positioning in front of the window, the back-lite glow, the framing of the plants around the window, and the timing of having my film camera loaded with black and white TMax 400 were all by chance. This caught my eye immediately. One of my all-time favorite BW shots. Shot with a Sears 35RF.

John Helmuth - ShootFilmCo In The Frame

The third image is a night photo of a motel called the Beach Comber located at the beach town of Wildwood, New Jersey. This town is packed with retro motels stuck in time. Many of their original neon signs still glow in the night. This specific motel was the main headquarters of the car club The Oilers during The Race of Gentlemen, which is a motorcycle and automobile racing event on the Wildwood beach showcasing all pre-WW2 motorcycles and cars. This was shot on a Leica Minilux with Portra 800.

 

 

02 Jul '16

VIDEO: Surprise Vintage Camera Unboxing

Posted by Mike Padua in 35mm, film, film photography, Gear, videos

I bought a sealed box of vintage cameras without having any idea what was inside. I couldn't resist the temptation. A lot of the fun in discovering this stuff is in the surprise, and when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't say no. I thought it would be fun to get a video of the unboxing, so here it is!

 

 

See photos of the contents here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskzfxdJf
Vintage Camera Collectors on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/vintagecameras/
Help keep these videos coming! Support me here: http://www.shootfilmco.com

03 May '16

In the Frame: Royce Stevenson

Today, I'm glad to feature film photographer and radio DJ Royce Stevenson. He has a passion for taking 35mm film photos around Kansas and the midwest. Let's talk to Royce to see he's all about.
Image by Royce Stevenson
Your work could be easily characterized as "street photography" but there's also a lot of attention to shadows, structures, architecture, and reflections, too. How would you characterize what you do?
Royce: At first I characterized my photos as street photography, but anymore I try to just take cool photos.  Landscapes, street photography, portraits…  I love them all!  Anymore I try to capture more of a feeling.  Plus I am always trying to capture different moments and events, so as I grow as a photographer I think I focus less of the style of photography that I do, and more on taking good photos.
Image by Royce Stevenson
You have a real commitment to capturing the time you're in and the world around you. The work has a feel of being in the middle of something great and vibrant, like a "right place/right time" vibe. Is this on purpose? How do you choose what you shoot and why is it important to you?
Royce: Wow that means a lot to me that you say that.  My mother was very much into photography.  Growing up she always had her Canon AE-1 program and was taking pictures with it.  My most prized possessions are all of her photo albums.  They mean so much to me because it captures not only my life but everything that was going on at that time.  She passed away 5 years ago and I started getting out and taking pictures with her Canon 50d.  In high school and college I took dark room classes and I wanted to get back into film photography.  One thing I noticed was around my city there were not that many people capturing what was going on.  I live in Wichita, Kansas and I see lots of building photos and landscapes, but I really wanted to capture the people, places and times and of city before they are gone.
Image by Royce Stevenson
You seem to be unafraid to get close and shoot people pretty intimately. Have you always done this? Does it intimidate you to shoot so close to people?
Royce: Shooting people up close terrified me at first and quite frankly still does every now and then.  One thing that helps is I try to go to events that have people I know there.  I have been taking pictures long enough that they are used to seeing me with a camera now so they let their guard down.  I also have a bit of an advantage because I work in radio and people are more apt to let you take a picture of them.  Something I always work on and am getting better at is not holding the camera up all the time like I am trying to get a photograph of a person.  I might catch them not paying attention or in a zone.  Most of the time, the person doesn’t even realize I took a picture of them. But yes I still get nervous and anxious when shooting people.
Image by Royce Stevenson
Your work also has a real sense and reverence for history, specifically the "Kansas Travels" series. What attracts you to those types of places and scenes?
Royce: I love traveling!  One thing that I don’t think most people in Kansas realize is how many awesome places there are to see in Kansas!  I was also a history major in college so when I drive around and see these small Kansas towns I think to myself, who used to live here and why?  The smaller the town the better!  Plus Kansas has quite a few ghost towns so there is always something cool to see.  A great example of this is my ongoing Kansas Carnival project.  Many of the county fairs and small festivals with carnivals are the biggest event for some of the small Kansas towns and counties every year.  They wait for them to come every summer and it is an event they save up for!  If you ever want to see want the soul and heart of Kansas is about, go to one of these county fairs.  Also being born and raised in Kansas, it is who I am and I am so proud that I can represent the state by showing it off in photos.
And finally: You're a Radio DJ! How does this influence your photography?
Royce: Yes.  Many times I am able to get access to places and talk to people that normally I would never be able too.  Also working in radio, you have to be able to feel comfortable talking to strangers and dealing with people.  Having people skills is such a part of it for me.
Make sure to check out Royce's work and connect with him on social media:
Snapchat: royceontheradio
11 May '15

In The Frame: Sue Denaim (4614)

Uncropped Cheap Film by Sue Denaim
It seems appropriate that with any analog photographic endeavor, the final product should result in a printed collection of works. Today, we're proud to feature photographer Sue Denaim, otherwise known as "4614," and his new book "Uncropped Cheap Film." Sue's work appealed to me because of his use of "non-professional" films. The cheap films you'd find on vacation in drug stores, gas stations, and grocery stores. As a kid growing up in the 80's, these were the only films I knew. I was never even aware of, let alone shot with, the professional-level films that you'd find in specialty camera shops. To me, the cheap films are what is a huge part of what the "film look" is because it's what I grew up with.
Below, Sue gives us some insight into his work.
What type of subjects do you concentrate on the most?
I concentrate most on composition.  The subject can be anything as long as its interesting.
What makes you gravitate to film?
There are a few things that make me gravitate to film.  First is the sound of the film as its advances to the next frame.  I can't explain it but that sound just makes me giddy...  Next, is the lack of instant gratification in the whole process.  You can't just check each shot and reshoot until you get it right.  You need to actually know what you are doing...or go broke and crazy.  It helps you develop patience and you learn to take your time...carefully pick out your subject and maybe decide the shot is NOT worth it.  Next, is the scanning process.  I love digitizing my film and fixing the contrast and getting rid of dust and scratches... or leaving them in if they work with the photo.  And, I love that i can hold the physical negatives in my hands.  I love cutting them and organizing them.  Labeling them the same as the folder of the scanned images on my computer.  Last, I love that i don't have to keep up with the latest new technology.  I shot digitally for years and always felt like I had to keep up with the newest high end cameras.  It gets to the point where its not even about the photography but about the equipment.  My saying, "A good photographer can shoot a great photos with anything, including a cheap throw away camera."  I learned photography using film... and i love coming back to it.
From page 22 of Sue Denaim's book, From page 22 of Sue Denaim's book, "Uncropped Cheap Film." Photo © Sue Denaim (4614)
What types of cameras/films do you shoot with primarily?
I had a Canon F1 that i LOVED!  But it broke and the film will not advance...and I have not had it fixed.  I also have a broken (Canon) AE1...but lets talk about cameras that work!  Right now I'm shooting with a Canon Rebel 2000 for my 35mm needs and a Holga120 for my 120mm needs.  I like to shoot cheap film.  I like the grain and the way I can buy more for my buck.  I used to shoot a lot of Arista Premium 400 until it died earlier this year.  So now I shoot mainly Arista EDU Ultra ISO 100 200 or 400 for my black and white needs.  For Color I shoot Agfa Vista Plus.  I'm not a film snob.  I like grainy, grimy cheapness.  I have a box of 50 rolls of expired Agfa color film that I've been shooting, too.  A few of those made it into the book but I'm saving those for a new future project.  For the Holga I use Arista EDU ISO 200 or 400.  I've been shooting tons with the Holga/cheap film combo...but again that is for a future project.
What motivated you to create your book?
The motivation to create the book came from the need to see my work in a physical form and not just one or two shots at a time.  Also, I had a vision of what I wanted my work to look like and be presented that I just couldn't achieve online.  Photography has become this non-physical entity.  A photo can be shot, edited, sold and displayed all without ever living physically.  Monetarily I know this makes sense (and cents) but I wanted something physical that I could present to people and say "I made this."  I have so much photography that no one ever sees.  Things get lost online in the crowd of media that is bombarding you daily.  People that follow me and have known me a long time open the book and find things that they have never seen before.  While looking at the book they actually take the time to admire the work that went into every shot.
From page 62 of Sue Denaim's book, From page 62 of Sue Denaim's book, "Uncropped Cheap Film." Photo © Sue Denaim (4614)
What types of projects can we look forward to in the future?
I am already half way done with the next book... a book of my Holga work.  It's a lot darker and gloomier than this one due to the nature of that camera.  I also plan to put out a book of my expired film work.  Also, I was thinking of making an issue dedicated to only my digital work from past years.  There is a reason this book is labeled "Vol. 1"... there are more books to come.  I'm also working on some canvas prints of my work that I'll create frames for.  Maybe display in a gallery around LA sometime.  I've had my work in a few galleries in the past and was thinking of jumping back into that scene.
*******
A big thanks to Sue for sharing his work. Please make sure to support Sue, film photography, and the printed medium by checking out his book, of which there are only 25 signed and numbered copies for only $30.
To buy the book, you can Paypal Sue directly at im4614@gmail.com.
You can also find him on Facebook and Instagram.