I think Kodak Tri-X 400 might be one of the most mystical film stocks ever produced. For more than 70 years of its production, it has covered almost all of the history of the 20th century folowing WW2.
Its flexibility to tolerate push-processing makes it a favourite of photojournalists of the film era. One of them is Don Mccullin, who swore by the film. It isn’t the cleanest film ever produced, the grain, the high contrast that shows the brutality of history makes the storytelling more accurate, as the roughness of the image shows through.
This reason alone makes Tri-X a film worth a try for every photographer. So when I got a roll loaded into my Nikon F5 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens mounted to it, I wasted no time shooting with and headed to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, known for its diversity. This makes the city a place where photographic opportunity is everywhere.
I roamed around Dataran Merdeka, situated in front of the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad building which was built during the colonial era under British rule. The stark contrast between the colonial architecture and modern urbanscape makes a great backdrop for candid moment. I then headed to Nine Emperors Gods Temple, a Chinese temple in Ampang, a suburb around 8 kilometres away from downtown Kuala Lumpur.
The temple is the home of the Nine Emperors Gods Festival, where there are rituals and celebrations by Taoist faith Chinese people celebrated in the 9th month of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. I finished the roll the next morning on the route of the 2019 Standard Chartered Kuala Lumpur Marathon, held in Dataran Merdeka. The marathon is one of the biggest running events in Malaysia and moments are just waited to be captured.
My Nikon F5 performed flawlessly and as a digital native photographer, I have no problem at all switching back and forth between my film and digital cameras. My only awkwardness is when I accidentally chimped on my F5. Otherwise, the F5 gave me these 5 frames of Kodak Tri-X shot at EI 1600.
Just as expected, the Tri-X lives its Legend.
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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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