Get Featured: Yanbo Tang Yanbo got into film photography and has been shooting merrily away ever since. He shares how his discovery of black and white film has complemented his contrasty, graphic aesthetic and hasn’t looked back. Check it out.
My name is Yanbo Tang and I’m an amateur photographer based in Montreal, Canada. I got started a while back in Hong Kong; the city was bustling with life, so I just had to pick up a camera and go shooting. Started to shoot film there as well, and haven’t gone back to digital all that much since. Your website really helped me when I was picking up analog photography, so thanks!
For a while I’ve been trying to experiment with shadows on black and white film, as I’ve always been fascinated with the deep rich blacks that it produces. Also in terms of composition, shadows are extremely useful; they can act as an excellent negative space for the figures in the frame, resulting in images that have an extremely simplified composition.
I tend to do street photography, so I look for these situations instead of creating them artificially. Usually I would look for extreme back lighting or very angular light. I find those situation very interesting and very challenging as well; the extreme latitude of black and white negative comes in very useful. My go-to films are Tmax 100 and Tri-X 400, I have a bit of a soft spot for Tmax as it was the first film that I developed and use.
I especially love angular light, as it helps very sharp lines of shadows that I’m fond of. The photo of the columns is a good example. This sort of lighting comes often in European cities, where the buildings are very tightly clustered, so the light only comes from the openings of alleyways.
I’m a huge fan of Fan Ho (no pun intended), and I try to mimic the geometry and the use of light in his works. Hopefully one day I can achieve some of the things that he was capable of.