I’ve always wanted to try out Fujifilm Natura 1600 film since over ten years ago when I first saw a photographer using it on their Flickr page. Combined with the Fuji Natura Black camera, it looked like the most heavenly combo ever. I even managed to buy a Natura Black just before I left for my 2017 stay in Japan but sadly the camera had issues catching onto the film. What a bummer.
Nevertheless, when I arrived in Japan in July 2017, I visited some of the local photography shops to find this coveted high-speed film. Knowing that it was being discontinued, I bought a pack of 10 rolls, though in hindsight, I wish I had stocked up more. Knowing its value, I made the decision to only use this film for the right occasion and not be wasteful with it like I have with other films in the past.
I came back to Melbourne the following year (2018) for my friend’s wedding and had planned some photo shoots with fellow models during my time there. One of these projects was the aptly titled ‘Three Stories About Food’, a three-part photo series heavily inspired by cinema and revolving around a loosely formed narrative involving food. The very first shoot I did was a late night shoot with model Jessie, set around the streets in Chinatown and ultimately ending with a feed at a popular ramen shop.
Although I shot this series with a combination of both film (using a Nikon EM and 50mm f/1.4 AI-S lens) and a digital mirrorless camera, the film scans I received ended up being my favourites from the shoot. For some, they may find it a little too grainy but I fell in love with the lush tones and the ambience evoked thanks to the film’s low light sensitivity.
The title of this set is ‘A Ramenful Life’ and it got me thinking about the things we cherish most. To be in company, enjoying a nice meal and to be documenting it all on a special kind of film… what more could you want in life?
~ Huy Le
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