Since I got into film photography after stumbling across some cheap point ‘n’ shoot cameras in a UK charity shop a few years back, my main focus has been to try as many different film stocks as I can get through. Usually in the Yashica Electro GSN that I picked up a few months later.

The motivation to do this probably won’t last forever and I am looking forward to at some point doing a big project or document a trip on just one film type. For now though, I’m still exploring and learning about as many different stocks as I can.

While I have shot a few of the more unheralded films along the way – Oriental Seagull 100 was one that I liked in particular – these five frames are from one of the best-known offerings out there. The grand old ILFORD HP5 PLUS.

I liked to shoot out in the streets of Shanghai during my time there. It’s flat, very walkable and with enough going on to be able to get through a roll of film in a session or two. Best of all, most of the people don’t seem to mind having their photograph taken.

There’s also a good amount of days with good light throughout the year, which is always something to take advantage of. When I shot this HP5 PLUS, it was the light that I was primarily looking for.

I like to have people in my shots, but it’s the light that makes a photograph for me, so the general idea here was to find that and wait for people to enter it. I also like my monochrome shots to have good contrast. Having read that HP5 PLUS is more on the medium side, I thought finding the light and shadows would help with this. And it did seem to.

Overall, I found HP5 PLUS to be a safe and solid film with a nice low grain. It’s not my favourite from what I’ve so far shot, but it gave me nothing to complain about either. I probably would shoot it again, but not yet. Not when there are still so many others to try first.

~ Lee

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About the author

Lee Webb

I shoot film and sometimes vintage lenses on digital cameras too. Mainly travel and street photography up 'til now but I'm sure that could change. The important thing is to make photographs whatever they're of.

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