Shooting film in black and white, pushing the ISO to 1600
Eric Kim has tremendous enthusiasm for everything he tackles. He's also an all-round nice guy. When I met him and his girlfriend Cindy in London over a year ago I discovered two of the most agreeable people on the planet. They are unfailingly kind and invariably fun, with prodigious passion for photography in all its forms. What I like most about Eric is that when he tries something different he goes for it hook, line and sinker. No compromise.
Eric has long been on a film kick, having spent several digital years with a Leica M9. Now he carries his film MP with him everywhere he goes and doesn’t desire any other camera. I can understand this because I have recently been using my MP (with the cheapo Leica Motor M which I picked up last month) and getting to love it even more. When I acquired Neil the M7 a few months ago I considered selling the MP. I am now glad I didn’t (not that I would dare tell Neil who is sitting on the shelf, snug and blissfully ignorant, wearing his Arte di Mano rocker jacket and Harry Benz strap). Sorry Neil.
After three years of colour film, spawning such adventures as depositing no fewer than 164 rolls of exposed film at his local Costco, Eric has gone monochrome. With film you don’t need the extravagance of two cameras (if you're really extravagant), an M and a Monochrom: Just buy a different film. Life used to be so simple. As usual, Eric is all pumped up for a life in black and white and he’s pushing the ISO to 1600. (Memo to self: Try pushing my MP tomorrow; I found a good article here).
I have around 10 rolls of Tri-X chilling at home, so I popped a roll into my Leica, changed my meter to ISO 1600, and started to shoot. And boy, this is the most fun I have had in photography in a long time.
It was like I was a kid again, or picking up photography for the first time. Shooting at ISO 1600 (instead of the normal 400 I do on Portra) was a lot more liberating — I could shoot at faster shutter speeds indoors, and I didn’t have to worry about making photos with nice colors (black and white for me is more about emotion, mood, and forms).
Suddenly I found myself shooting almost everything. Selfies in the mirror, my shadow, my balcony looking out, Cindy working at home, and even random strangers in coffee shops. I know that most of these photos probably won’t be that interesting, but they feel much more personal, and I am having more fun.