In your bag No: 1330, Philippe Bertramo
Philippe presents us with a very simple bag for a spot of shooting on the streets of Singapore. A great selection of gear and some truly classic films make this a fantastic weekend bag. Check it out.
My name is Philippe; I am French and live in Singapore for 9 years now. I was born in the age where film was the rage and my first camera was a Kodak Instamatic. After a period of disinterest, I came back to photography when moving here in 2007 and back to film soon after when I dusted out my Nikon F3 and Afga Isolette III.
Singapore is a great place for traveling, and when scouting the various surrounding countries, I generally carry around a DSLR (Nikon D700) and a medium format film camera (Hasselblad or Agfa Isolette); I may show you my travel bag once. Two years down the road (2009) I invested in the Leica M4 and Summilux 50mm v2 shown below and a Sekonic L-308s meter (I bought the Sekonic New, so I am entirely responsible for its sad condition)
After my first trip with the M4 to Penang in Malaysia, I thought that the Leica was not a great travel companion (basically I found the 35mm film format was redundant with a DSLR, a Medium format would be much more complementary). But finally when I planned a holiday in Japan the next year I decided to give it a second try. This is when I bought the Crumpler 4Mio shown on the picture; it is not so big, the black colour is discreet in town, and you can be dressed up and carry it without looking too geeky. I quite liked the results of my travel shots that time, and I made some nice encounters thanks to this camera. Since then I also brought it to Taiwan, Philippines and many time to France.
Two years ago I rented a M240 but was not quite convinced, so last summer, instead of going digital, I added to my collection a M6 Classic with a 35mm F2.8 Summaron, both in excellent condition. With the addition of the Color Skopar 21MMf4, this is now my “City Kit”. I must say the M6 with the internal light meter is a bliss.
I can still slide a wallet, phone and the now much needed reading glasses in the bag. I also realised last summer that when travelling I can actually fit the Crumpler into a larger backpack and bring along more useful stuff as carry-on luggage on the plane (book, travel guide, more film,…)
I try to keep to 52 Rolls a year, and I am on target this year. I think city photography is much more fun on film, I do not think any shots matter in itself it is more about the pleasure (and pain) we have in doing it (or not doing it: why do I have this Cinestill800 film in my camera in this bright daylight? where is my spare film? have you seen the Summilux, love?).
I try to experience many films but in the end I think it goes down to the following:
Tri-X is our saviour, a bit oo grainy for my taste, but so versatile it is difficult not to use, easy to scan
Tmax 100, the best black and white print film if you have enough light? And easy to scan too
I always do a lot of Rollei B&W film the RPX 100 and 400 are excellent to my taste. And quite easy to scan.
Portra 400, the best colour print film? Not so easy to scan, particularly to render colour
Fuji slide films when that matters; also not so easy to scan, particularly to render colour
Rollei CR-200 (Relatively) cheap slide film, but I have consistently better results in 120 and it is a bit curvy so not so nice to scan
What do I do with these films? I have them processed at the shop (we have a few still in Singapore, but they contract to the same couple of labs, and I think only one does the slides), I scan them myself with an Epson v500 and put a selection on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/5garspours/) ; for some travels or special occasions I try to do a bit of write up there (http://waex99photo.wordpress.com/ ). I sometime print some to give away; but I still have to find someone to do wet prints for me; Singapore climate, hot and humid is not paper friendly country, so I have a reason to produce digital (how curious) instead or prints.
Of yes what do I shoot? On these 52 films, part are travels, family souvenirs or “city photography”, just walking around and recording, or more reportage style, at public events. I have attached two shots done earlier this year.
An old man grieving during Lee Kwan Yew funerals taken with the M4 and Summilux.
An actress of Street Chinese Opera at her make-up table with M6 and Summacron.
Heading out for Xmas holidays in France, the M6 is loaded with Portra 400 and the M4 with Agfa APX400. I am not bringing much more film as one of your Bikkuri kits awaits me under the tree there.
Thanks for sharing your bag with us, Philippe. It is nice to hear that the film scene is kicking along well there.
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