I had developed a habit or better say GAS since I got my first vintage lens the “Helios 44-2 58mm f2”. However, I was pretty much excited to try out film photography but the bad news for me was that none of the stores in my hometown, Guwahati, Assam had any stores that developed or kept film stock.
In Oct 2019, I happened to find a collector in Delhi, India who happened to have a working Canon AE-1 Program within my affordable budget and that led me to do some research regarding where and how I can get film stocks and develop them at a reasonable rate. And finally, I found Filmfotostore who had all the stuff that I needed. So began my first experiences of shooting film. 2 rolls down, I finally decided to give portraits a try and when I approached Sukanya Gogoi for the shoot she was super excited to try out which for both of us was going to be a new experience.
Our choice of location was Shillong, Meghalaya in India, as it was the time to witness the beautiful cherry blossom in every corner of the city.
My choice of film was Kodak Portra 400, which has got a renowned reputation for being the perfect film for portraits. Now, to those who never visited Shillong let me tell you, this is a place which can rain at any moment of the day. The wettest part of India i.e, Mawsynram is just 65 km away from Shillong. So, the only thing I was praying for was rain not playing a spoilsport on the day of the shoot.
Now, let me tell you, I started my photography with a mirrorless system which promises to give what we see. And for me to not being able to see what I had just clicked was something I was worried about. Having a completely overexposed or underexposed film was the last thing I would expect. So, I let the camera take all the major decisions for me. Kept the mode dial on Program and just prayed the camera knew what it was doing.
Luckily enough all the shots came out quite good. My first portrait shoot with 35mm film didn’t end in a disaster. The grains, the color tones are something worth trying the Kodak Portra 400 for.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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