We welcome Ben Whitmore to the club to introduce our surprise roll for September: Fuji Industrial 100.
Hi Ben, greetings from Scotland and welcome to Canister. Can you tell us a little about your work as a photographer and how long you’ve been shooting film.
Thanks for having me! I first picked up a camera seriously while working as a staff writer for a surfing magazine called Tracks here in Australia. I often travelled with photographers and essentially, they became amazing tutors. One of which would often challenge me to “get it right in camera” and would say things like “you wouldn’t have gotten away with that if you were shooting film,” so I figured that would be a great way to hone my work.
I picked up a 35mm Nikkormat about 7 years ago now and fell in love with the challenge and reward of shooting film. I live on the beach on the Gold Coast so my personal work mostly revolves around beach culture and surf, but I will often work on projects that take me away from that, which is refreshing
So what does your average day look like?
I have a full-time job, and only work about 5kms from home, so I will generally get up, get my two kids off to kindergarten by around 7am, then head into work with a camera in hand to grab some shots along the way. I’ll often pop out on my lunch break and do the same kind of thing and then when I get home, you’d normally find me annoying my kids by taking their photos constantly.
I shoot weddings on weekends, but will generally set out blocks of time to work on projects as well.
And what qualities do you think shooting on film brings to your work, both in the process of capturing the images and the final results?
Film keeps things less sterile for me and has forced me to read light better than I ever did using a digital camera. Then there’s the “look”. When I go back through my family’s albums or look at someone like Linda McCartney’s work, namely that of her family, there’s such a warm and organic aesthetic to those images that I just don’t get by looking at the same thing done on some megapixel beast. Having just shutter speed and aperture to worry about is so freeing when shooting, it’s just a great process to focus your attention on your subjects.
What’s your current focus? Any projects on the go?
We’re coming into summer here now, so I will probably spend some time shooting in the water with my Nikonos V, but for the past year I’ve been working on a portrait series of fathers from all persuasions that I hope to finish by the end of this year. I’ve interviewed and shot around 40 fathers so far as an effort to get Australian blokes to share their stories a little more and the book’s purpose is to raise money for a charity that supports homelessness and families.
So to our surprise roll of September: what’s your experience with Fuji Industrial 100? When did you first shoot it? What did you think?
Industrial 100 really shocked me. I actually thought I’d loaded a roll of Provia 100f slide film into my camera and sparingly shot frames over a long period in Australia, the Philippines and Mexico. When I sent it off to be developed, the lab called and asked why I wanted it processed E6, and it twigged that I’d loaded the Industrial. I was beside myself for making such a silly mistake, but then when I saw it scanned, I was really pleased with the colour it produced in all kinds of light.
Sure, it’s a little more grainy than your average 100 speed film, but for the price, the colour and ease of scanning, it’s an absolute winner.
When and why would you shoot it now?
I’ve actually just ordered a big batch for summer. I’ve had quite varied results from Ektar and Portra, so I’ve done away with them for the summer and will look to shoot some vibrant everyday beach stuff on Industrial. It’s the kind of film I can load and shoot beaches, portraits, street photos or basically anything with pleasing results. I’ve even seen a wedding shot on Industrial and was quite impressed.
Any quick tips on shooting with Fuji Industrial 100?
I shot mine at box speed thinking it was slide film and was perfectly happy with the results, but I would still favour a touch of over exposure. Having the option of 24 exposure rolls is also great as I get fairly impatient sometimes and want to pull the roll to have it developed!
And finally, any advice for people starting out on their film photography journey?
Light, light, light. With film, there’s no hiding like there can be with digital cameras. I often would shoot in poor light and simply edit to a point where I had a usable, yet “artistic” image. So film taught me to pay better attention to it and how it can make or break an image. I’d also highly recommend having at least one project to work on that keeps you excited and motivated to shoot.
Sound advice Ben, thanks for joining us.
Based on Australia's Gold Coast, Ben Whitmore is a documentary-style photographer who's personal work largely centres around his home and Australian beach culture. You can follow Ben on Instagram @bwchronicles and check out his weddings portfolio site.
Photo credits © Ben Whitmore / Fuji Industrial 100