5 Frames… Of West End Brisbane on Fuji Pro 400H (EI 200 / 120 Format / Fujica GS645 Professional) – by Zhan Teh
West End, Brisbane is a quirky little inner-city suburb with a strong history and culture if you care to look. Here you can always count on seeing a plethora of characters every day of the week. One can argue the only thing more vibrant than the people that frequent West End are the cafes, bars and shops along the main street. Home to a mixpot of culture, you can find a variety of alternative shops ranging from vintage clothing, herbal medicine to used book stores.
Unfortunately, small businesses like these are particularly susceptible to the economic downturn caused by the COVID pandemic situation. Due to new lockdown policies, most shops have no choice but to put their business to a halt. The once lively and busy main street changed over a week. This is not the West End most of us in Brisbane are familiar with.
To document this project, I chose Fuji Pro 400H colour negative film. The idea was to capture the stillness of a once vibrant retail street. Pro 400H’s pastel-like color quality is perfect for this. To further accentuate the ‘still’ atmosphere, I overexposed the rolls to soften the colors.
The camera of choice, however, was my not-so-trusty Fujica GS645 Professional. I know I needed medium format for this series of shots and the GS645 is all I have for this format. I love this camera to bits but I struggle so much with the rangefinder focus on this camera! As per usual nearly half my shots turned out slightly off-focused. I can never for my life figure out if it is a calibration problem or my own user error. Having said all that, I am more than satisfied with how the shots turned out – well at least the half that was not misfocused.
The keen-eyed might notice a streak of light on the right(portrait orientation) of my pictures. This is due to a pinhole of light leak on the bellows of my camera that has since been repaired. I thought about editing those out in post but ultimately left them there for a bit of character or it might be just a fancy way of saying I am lazy.
At the time of writing, things are beginning to look better for West End with the easing of lockdown policies. Most shops are starting to resume their businesses but some never got to recover.
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