If you go back and read my Return to Film article, you’ll see I mentioned I wanted to get into large format. Well, I have done just that since 2017 and I am now on my second large format camera. This portrait session found me switching to black and white film — Freestyle Photo’s Arista EDU Ultra 100, and leaning more towards street/urban portraits for my personal work as well as my studio work.

I have always been a fan of the shallow depth of field. But lets face it, I can’t afford the price that’s being asked for Kodak Aero Ektar these days. So I went the next best option and you know what? I think I made the better choice IMHO.

I’ve gone back to the roots I grew up with as a kid living with my grandparents. Having old Time Life magazines around in black and white as well as being raised on the movies from the ’40s and ’50s. So it’s natural that I gravitate back to black and white as I get older. It’s just more familiar to me.

I have been looking for a black and white film stock in that will give me that fine-grain look and so far, the one that is readily available most of the time in may part of the world is the Arista EDU Ultra 100 (rebranded Foma Bohemia’s Fomapan 100 Classic) and I will say I am quite happy with it.

I do still like the CatLabs 80x too, but for this particular session I choose to go with the Arista and I’m so glad I did. Living here in New Mexico, we tend to have an abundance of sunshine. So ISO 100 film (or slower) tends to work well outdoors.

Beau and I decided to stick to the downtown area and use the old theater as the backdrop for the majority of the session. It urned out pretty well for a session planned on short notice. We shot late in the day to avoid the majority of the heat, which is still brutal here in September.

The only downside was I had the one image collect a bunch of dust on it right around her face and head. Did my best to re-wash and work on in it post. But to no avail, the damage was on the negative. Problems aside, with this camera lens combo, I have been able to capture the aesthetic that I want for my portrait sessions going forward.

~ AJ

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About the author

Avatar - AJ White

Portrait & Commercial work. Film & Digital. I'm here for the Tacos!!! Based in Carlsbad New Mexico and doing my best to travel to others areas that I want to see.

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  1. What a fun location. My favorite is the first image. The blown background makes the subject jump off the photo. I did not notice your reflection in the glass until the the other poster commented on it. Very cool photo as well.


  2. Great photos. I especially liked the one with the theater – the photographer’s image is visible as a reflection in the glass! I had a Pacemaker Crown Graphic which I regret selling as it was so compact and portable – moved up to a Wista field 4×5 which is fantastic, but anything but compact and portable. Sigh. I guess you can’t have it all.

    1. @Ken, Thank you! Yes I saw that before I took the shot. Decided it was kind an homage to the greats of the past who included themselves in images thru reflections. I really like this camera, not in love yet. Still need more practice with it. I definitely agree with the portable comment. I do need to fix the latch on it so that it will close properly.