Until recently my film photography had more or less been exclusively shot on either AGFA Vista 400 for colour, or XP2 for black and white. I’ve played around with Fujifilm and other Ilford stocks, but had never really needed anything more than what Vista and XP2 offered me.
However, there are a number of projects I hope to spend the next few years working on that required something more. I needed consistent results, the latitude to shoot at 1600 (I usually shoot all of my film at ei800, regardless of box speed), as well as accurate colour and sharpness. Portra 400 is a film with quite a reputation – I had avoided it because I wanted my film work to be distinct, and as different from my digital colours and approach as possible.
By introducing Portra 400 to my workflow it marks an acceptance of film as a valid professional tool for exclusive use, as opposed to being used alongside a digital option.
I loaded my first roll of Kodak Portra 400 into my Contax G1 about ten minutes after arriving at a Fashion presentation in South London, where I had been invited to photograph backstage.
After this I used the rest of the roll on days out and about in London, shooting street mainly on the 45mm Zeiss lens.
I managed to get 37 shots from the 36 exposure roll, out of which 16 were “keepers” to my eye. I’m really happy with the colours, they’re exactly what I needed them to be, with strong skin tones, and close to my favourite shades of green. I especially liked the images which combined different light sources for a cinematic aesthetic.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my experience shooting Kodak Portra 400! If you enjoyed my images here then consider following me over on Instagram! If you enjoyed my thoughts and perspective then you might enjoy my other featured articles on this site, or my own blog where I discuss my day-to-day life as an artist and photojournalist.
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