2019: Roll Two

Somewhere between Iksan and Seoul. January 2019.

It isn’t often I get through two rolls of film in a couple of weeks. Normally I shoot about two rolls a month.

Why am I shooting so much?

It’s complicated.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.

I guess the first reason is travel. I shoot a lot when I am going somewhere. I shoot photos in the same time that people read books or listen to music. I take photos to not be bored.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.

I end up with lots of boring photos like this. That said, I think the main reason I shot a lot in the last two weeks was the excitement for being back shooting film. I’d used the M10P for a while and hadn’t shot any film.

Somewhere between Iksan and Seoul, January 2019.

Lots of these photos too. They don’t always turn out well. Rarely do they in fact. That said, some of my favourite photos were taken through the window of a train or bus.

A long time ago in Canada I had my favourite lens stolen. Honestly, I change lenses a lot. People will say I have never stuck to anything. I used the 40mm Summicron exclusively for 4 years. I couldn’t afford anything else but I loves that lens. I recently got the chance to get another. I love this lens. Feels like coming home.

Somewhere between Iksan and Seoul, January 2019.

All the photos here are Ilford HP5 at 3200.

This is a boring roll, I apologize. They aren’t always interesting.

I do really love the next photo though:

Somewhere between Iksan and Seoul, January 2019. Ilford HP5 @ 3200.

This was early in the morning. The air quality has been terrible lately, so much so that it looks like fog. The field had just been plowed. One of my favourite photos in a long time. It was very much how I’d imagined it would be.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately too. Cat photos are boring as well I guess. I love my cats though. I think I would be perfectly happy for a roll to consist only of photos of them. In this photo, Spoko is sitting in her favourite spot in our living room under a Nicholas Dominic Talvola print. He named her, so it is fitting that she loves this spot.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019.

Maybe the next roll will be more exciting. I have several trips planned in the next little while. Including one to Kyoto / Osaka. Looking forward to that.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019.

That trip will be with team Leica Korea, haha. More on that in the weeks to come ๐Ÿ˜‰

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.
Seoul, South Korea. January 2019.

Other than that, I’m happy to say if you’re in Korea soon I’ll be opening an analogue photography class at the Leica Akadamie here. During the class I’ll cover all sorts of film related topics from the basics of loading film to developing and even perhaps some printing.

Seoul, South Korea. January 2019.

I just realized half of this roll is photos of trees.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.

No trees here. Sucks this photo. They were all looking at me a split second before. I was super bummed when I saw it.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019. Ilford HP5 @3200.

This was second last photo of the roll. It is boring but I quite like it. Iksan feels like this to me. It feels like Iksan.

Iksan, South Korea. January 2019.

The last photo. It is usually of my wife or one of the cats. Wife wasn’t in the mood so Spoko stepped up.

That’s all for today.

Catch you next time ๐Ÿ˜‰

-Josh.

Leica C-Lux First Impressions

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll probably know I’m a sucker for compact cameras. Many of you probably found me because of a compact camera of some sort. In fact, for my general street photography I have always preferred compact cameras. I haven’t used many lately, but the above generally holds true.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

So let me get the disclaimers out of the way before I continue:

  1. I work for the Leica Akademie here in Korea as organizer and head teacher.
  2. I am well aware there is a cheaper Panasonic version of this camera. In my humble opinion (work bias aside) I think the extra warranty, resale value (the Leica versions hold their value much better whether you think this is justified or not) and subjectively better looks are well worth the price difference.

Okay, now that that is out of the way let us continue with my Leica C-Lux 2019 first impressions.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think it is cute the handsome camera. I very much like the blue tones and leatherette grip. I also generally love a silver lens on a black body. Of course, the lens isn’t silver but the multifunction ring is. I quite dig it.

The camera itself has a bit of a weird lens for my normal tastes. It’s a 24-360 that is only f3.3 at the widest. I find the former a positive. First, as this will be a travel / video camera for me I appreciate the range more than I might on a dedicated street camera. Second, the f3.3 doesn’t make much of a difference to me as I wouldn’t buy a compact camera for “bokeh.” That said, bokeh can be had because of the zoom range if you don’t mind using your feet a bit.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

As a street camera, it performs great. Even with the crazy zoom range there is little to no distortion or what happens to be there is well controlled with the software. I love the fact that Panasonic and Leica always include the ability to zoom their lenses in steps. I find 24 a little wide these days so I have the camera set to turn on at 28mm. It is very fast to turn on and shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

There are some convenience features I quite like as well. The camera uses a low powered bluetooth mode to send photos to my smartphone as I walk around shooting. This it makes quite easy to sit down and edit in a coffee shop when I need a break. All the photos here were edited in Snapseed. They might be a bit much for you, I just try to keep all my photos looking somewhat similar these days. This is as close as I can get to my film photos.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.
Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I included the normal version of the photo above for your reference. I like this photo. I asked the woman to look more into the light and then we got talking. She grew up very close to where I live now.

Another feature I love about the C-Lux is its ability to charge via USB. I can charge it on the go with my laptop or a battery bank. I really, really wish it were USB-C but I guess we are a ways off of that on cameras yet. Maybe next year.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I didn’t find myself using the zoom very much during the first day of shooting. I did take a portrait of my wife with it later at night that I am saving for the full review. Much like the need for a viewfinder I find the need for a prime lens when shooting street photography to be a bunch of hipster nonsense. The only actual reason I see for this is size. With a camera like this it matters very little.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

One thing I won’t really talk about a lot until the main review is the flash. It is a bounce type flash that is similar to that on the RX100 series. Because of the zoom range the flash on the C-Lux is quite strong for its size. This is important if you want that Daido Moriyama high constrast blow out the highlights kinda look. I didn’t do much testing of this yet aside from a couple of shots around my house. Expect more in the review.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think the reason I like compact cameras so much is they so perfectly match the “moment” of capture to me. The photos I take with a compact camera almost always seem to be closer to my mind’s eye. I don’t think this is exclusive to any particular compact camera just those cameras in general.

So, surely I am not saying you go and buy this camera. I will say it ticks all the boxes I want in a modern compact camera. It has a 1 inch sensor, viewfinder, strong flash, nice looks, touch screen(also in the menus) self contained lens cap, bluetooth, and usb charging. The video is a big bonus since I have started to do a lot more of that.

Anyway, that is all for my first impression of the Leica C-Lux. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Upcoming reviews include the C-lux, the Leica MP (film), the Wotancraft Trooper, and the Pixel 3.

Much love from Korea,

Josh.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

First Roll of 2019

Frame 1: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

This was the first frame I took this year. My cat sits on the air purifier while I sit at my desk. I guess she likes the fan. We should have called her Marilyn. The light from the window to her left was particularly strong. I’m happy I got a full frame from this considering it was first. My wife said “how can you make the cutest kitten in the world look so scary?..”

Frame 7: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

So my plan for this post was simply to go through most of the photos from my first roll of the year. I had a bit of a contemplation during the end of last year. One thing that continually came to me was how much I needed to shoot film. I don’t know what it is honestly. It isn’t some hipster nonsense “look” or anything of the sort. It just works for my brain. I was sitting down last night scanning these mediocre photos and I felt near-on giddy.


Frame 3: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

These photos aren’t in any particular order. I’ll probably share 20 or so. The way I shoot film is I shoot 4 to 5 frames of most scenes. Even mundane stuff like my lunch (the Soju bottle actually houses sesame oil ;)). I got in the habit of doing this because I shoot without a meter. I guess you can call it self bracketing.

Frame 5: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Would I benefit from a camera with a meter? Maybe. I never end up using them after the battery dies. I never agree with the meters either. Maybe I’m weird. I end up second guessing myself with a meter. I prefer to just trust that I’m right.

Frame 18: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 19: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

My way of developing is quite strange too. I develop a roll based on my brain’s version of what it thinks the roll was shot like. For example, if I feel I slightly over exposed the more memorable photos in the roll I will develop the roll slightly less than I might normally do.

Frame 9: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

People hate watching me develop because I don’t use a thermometer, don’t clean my negatives, and only use a wall clock for timing things.

Frame 10: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

As I developed this roll a friend from Seoul was watching me. He was cringing the whole time constantly saying I’m crazy. I changed the developing time midway because I remembered something from the roll. He wanted to bet with me that they wouldn’t turn out.

Frame 24: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.
Frame 25: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I don’t want this to come off as I’m some kind of mad genius. In fact, I’m quite lazy, hate maths, and lost my thermometer years ago. The fact of the matter is, black and white film is so forgiving that it is a joke to care so much. At least for me.

Frame 27: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

One thing I’d say is clean your negatives before you develop. I never do aside from a slight dip in my magic sauce (classified information and no dirty ideas it is safe for work ;)). This is basically the reason for the cloudy look of my negatives.

Frame 14: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Well, that is what has been hypothesized by those whom have watched me develop. Who knows. I just keep doing the same thing. I hate being introduced to new developers or fixers. I’m too lazy to learn something new.

Frame 15: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Ah, I guess then I should tell you what I do use. I use T-max developer and Ilford fixer. I love Tmax with Tmax film but these days it has just become too expensive. It is also okay with HP5 like this roll was.

Frame 21: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I didn’t shoot much street on this roll. It was the first roll with a camera I wasn’t used to. Wish I would have shot more “normally” though considering every frame (exposure / focus wise) came out great.

Frame 22: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

Forgot to mention some big news! Yesterday I started shooting the introduction for my YouTube channel. I know I’ve promised this many times. I can honestly say this is the first time I’ve ever taken it seriously.

Frame 23: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

I even hired someone to take care of the filming outside. Yesterday was supposedly the “practice” session but there was lots of useable footage from the day.

And yes, I know you video guys are going to tell my the Olympus camera I have sucks for video. I’m sure it does. Basically it is what I have and it works. The footage looked fine to me. Maybe later I’ll get something “better.”

Frame 30: 2019. Ilford HP5 @1600. Leica M4.
Iksan, South Korea.

That’s about it for today.

What’s up next?

Well, I’m waiting on my 40mm Summicron to come back from service to shoot another roll of film. In the meantime, I’ve got two reviews coming up. One of the Leica C-Lux and another of the Google Pixel 3.

You can expect the Pixel review by the end of the week. Small spoiler, the camera is really, really good. Really good. Like, really. The Pixel has never been available in Korea so I’d never even held one until recently. I don’t know how I can go back to anything else.

Friends in Japan wanna be on call to send me one when needed ๐Ÿ˜‰ ?

Anyway, kitten picture to end the day.

Manbo. Google Pixel 3, Portrait Mode.

Peace kids.

-Jt

2018: Top 10 Photos (1-5)

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

5

This is a photo of my mom. My mom came to Korea for the first time in 2018. I cherished that time with her. We didn’t have a great relationship when I was young. She’s a bit like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Tons of heart but extremely strict and can be borderline scary. She was a high school teacher and the type that you’d imagine still might have a belt lying around. That said, she has softened much in her old age. I took this after my wedding reception. She was hungover. My mom literally never drinks. Well, Junku bro and friends had her drinking at my reception and she was feeling the effects. She stayed like this for a whole day. She’s coming back this may. I can’t wait.

Iksan, South Korea. July 2018.

4

I shared this in my last post as well. I absolutely love this photo. When my wife cleans the floors she dances like a ballerina. It is one of the most beautiful and graceful things I’ve ever seen. She clears the floors of obstructions, plays a classical piano arrangement and floats through the rooms with a cloth and some water. I’d never been able to get a very good photo during the routine. She’s embarrassed by it. I haven’t a clue why.

Iksan, South Korea. February 2018.

3

This was also taken during the unusual snow storms that plagued Iksan for a couple of days in 2018. I was on my way to class when I saw this loan man just kind of standing there contemplating his plight. I took this without much care to be honest. I was cold and had no gloves so I wasn’t much in the mood to be taking photos. I’m glad I did. Prints of this now hang in many countries throughout the world. It was my most requested photo from this year. Generally I don’t agree with those numbers but in this case, I love this photo.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

2

So the last two photos were taken one right after the other with the above having been taken second.

I took this photo of my wife on our wedding day. I didn’t take many photos during the day, perhaps 10. Every time I see this photo I am filled with happiness. She was talking to a friend or something but I couldn’t see anything but her.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

1

This is my favourite photo of 2018. It isn’t the best photo I’ve ever taken technically. It is a photo that I would describe as an amalgamation of compromises. I took the photo in our then unfinished living room. The lighting was a simple placeholder light that struggled to light the entire room. I had 400 speed Ilford film loaded in my camera and no flash. I’d shot the previous 15 photos on the roll at 400 because I’d dreamed of my wedding photos being “clean.” Realizing this wasn’t going to work I just said f%$k it and decided to shoot this at what I’d thought to be 3200 (no meter on my camera). I think continued to take 6 photos of her during the next 3-5 minutes (number 2 on this list being also taken during that time) at what I judged to be 3200. I developed the film as such and just threw out the rest of the negatives. I only wanted these photos. They are grainy, and show the lack of dynamic range in the film at 3200. I don’t care. I wanted to get those photos. Do I wish they were digital? Not at all. I can’t tell you how much happier it makes me to look through my book of negatives and see these photos. Those pieces of film were there with me at that moment. Cheesy? Maybe.

I could give a f%$k.

Hope you enjoyed this year’s top 10. I didn’t take many photos this year. Around 500 in total. That’s okay. I love the photos I did get. Nowadays I’m more than happy to get 2-3 photos a year I consider to be good.

Much love.

Josh

September 15th Artist Talk – Leica Store Gangnam

L1000351-Edit
Korea, 2017.

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. Some new stuff to announce!

As of this week I started as the Leica Akademie Ambassador in Korea. What does this mean? It means workshops, lectures, exhibitions and more! I’m really excited by what is to come.

First! This Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 at the Leica Store Gangnam I will be having an artist talk introducing myself and my work. It costs just 10,000 won and drinks will be served! So if you’re in an around Seoul please stop by and say hi!

There are limited spots available, so please sign up at the website below. If you have any questions please let me know!

http://leica-store.co.kr/main/akademie/akademie_view.php?idx=79

Scan-171028-0024-Edit
Korea, 2018.ย 

Who wouldn’t want to come out and see this face?

haha.

See you soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Birthday

L9995170-01
Iksan, August, 2018

It was my birthday yesterday. I tend to forget. They kind of just happen.

I’d asked people on my Instagram in the morning what I should have for dinner. It seemed a fine enough idea. The choices were raw beef or sushi.

I’d put on shorts and paint stained t-shirt to go out. Since renovating our house it seems like everything I own is paint stained.

L9995160-01
Iksan, August, 2018

My wife, on the other hand looked as beautiful as always. Her sense of style is one of the things I love about her. I can’t quite place it, but I love it nevertheless.

20180812_195324-01
Iksan, August, 2018.

Sushi won the Instagram vote. Only one vote matters.

We had raw beef. It was amazing. It is served with pear and raw egg. It’s probably my favourite food in Korea. I also requested it for our wedding meal.

Wasn’t a popular choice, ha.

L9995181-01
Iksan, August, 2018.ย 

She was happier than she looks here. She was trying to look “noir” as she put it.

I like that she plays along with the photographer thing. She lets me have my hobby.

On my birthday, at least.

August, 2018.

Iksan, South Korea.

 

The Wall

2017-09-09-0017-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.ย 

There is this wall. It isn’t a particularly interesting wall. In fact, it is a very normal one.

2017-08-07-0023-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

That being said, I think it is my favourite wall. It is kind of beige or off-white. The wallpaper is fairly typical for Korea.

2017-08-01-0004-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

I can’t remember the first photo I took against it. I think it might have been the one above. The light comes through the door to the left.

2017-08-07-0025-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

The clock goes well with the wall. I think it is a Lego clock. I can’t remember really. I’m not really even sure it works.

2017-09-09-0009-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

2017-09-09-0004-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

It has seen a lot, this wall.

It will continue to see a lot.

2017-09-09-0010-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

I don’t think I need a studio. I might be weird but, I like my wall.

A boring post, I know. Nothing else to talk about really.

And I really do like this wall.

Iksan, 2017.

2017-09-09-0018-Edit
Iksan, South Korea. Leica M3, 35mm Summaron.

 

 

 

Workshop and Exhibition: Wearethestreet + Leica Camera Korea in Seoul

Hello everyone! Wearethestreet is happy to announce our inaugural workshop and exhibition held in concert with Leica Camera Korea in Seoul! The workshop is hosted by Leica Camera Korea and is sponsored in part by Lucida Straps.

Exhibition Details:

The exhibition will be held at Leica Camera Korea in the Gangnam district of Seoul. The opening will be held on July 7th, Friday at 6:30PM, and we look forward to having a great time with students and the press as well as Leica Korea patrons and staff! It is also open to the public, so feel free to drop by! The address is on the opening poster above. If you have any questions, feel free to email wearethestreet member JT White (jtinseoul at gmail dot com). The exhibition will span the month of July, but if you’d like to meet wearethestreet members be sure to come to the opening. The opening will include members: Aik Beng Chia, Chulsu Kim, Junku Nishimura, Nicholas Dominic Talvola, and JT White. Member Sean Lotman will be at the exhibition the following Friday, July 14th.

Leica Camera Korea Gallery
Prints will be available and for sale at the exhibition and for the duration of the month as well as here, on our blog!

Photo co. JT White
Workshop Details: The workshops! Well, we are very excited about this, our first workshop as a team! While all of us have experience teaching workshops in the past, this the is first to be held by the wearestreet team together.

Outline:

Note: Details subject to change as this is a general outline of the schedule of events.

Weekend 1: July 7th and 8th. Introduction to Street Photography

With Nicholas Dominic Talvola, JT White, Aik Beng Chia, Junku Nishimura, and Chulsu Kim.

Friday July 7th (4:00-6:30PM)
Session 1: Introductions and Photo Talk

Students will be taken through a short introduction process and ice breaker. Following the ice breaker, students will show their best photo and give a short presentation on why they chose that particular photo.

Exhibition Opening. (6:30PM)

Students are welcome to stay for the opening of the @wearethestreet exhibition. We can do short artist talks at this time talking about our given photos or just mingle and get to know the students better. Might even have a guest DJ appearance from Nicholas Dominic Talvola ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saturday July 8th (11:00-5:00PM)

Session 2: The Basics

We will discuss our equipment and how to use it. Wearethestreet members will talk about their basic styles of shooting and the settings and techniques we use.

Session 3: Shooting

We will shoot a bit during this time. The students will be put into groups and will be assigned to a โ€œteam.โ€ Should be a good opportunity to spend some time with the instructors or at least watch them in action!

Session 4: Editing and Processing

In the classroom, students will use their laptops, phones or ipads to process their photos. The teachers will help with each by giving short presentations on our own methods.

Film shooters can also get help but we will recommend digital cameras during the workshop.

Photo co. Sean Lotman
Note for students attending 2 weeks: 

For the students attending both weeks we will share email addresses and phone numbers and schedule a call or meeting in order to discuss a project the students will shoot during the week that we will help them process and edit. 

Photo co. Junku Nishimura
Week 2: July 14th and 15th. Street and Documentary Photography (Intermediate)
With Nicholas Dominic Talvola, JT White, and Sean Lotman.

Friday, July 14th (4:00-6:30PM)

Session 1: Portfolio Review

Students will submit a three photo portfolio to discuss as a group. Each student will present their portfolio and explain why they chose the photos and give a little story behind them. This can be done in English or Korea and will be translated. The @wearethestreet members will take turns talking the students through their portfolios with likes and dislikes or improvement ideas.

Students will decide on an โ€œideaโ€ for what they would like to shoot that night and the following day.

After the review, students are welcome to spend some time with the instructors and perhaps grab some food or drinks!

Saturday, July 15th (11:00-5:00PM)

Session 2: Editing a Project

Students will meet for a short classroom session where @wearethestreet members show the students projects they have worked on and explain the ways they edited the series and reasoning behind it. Students will have the chance to ask questions and discuss. We will also discuss the technical aspects of shooting projects and the mediums used.

Session 3: Shooting

For this session we will shoot with purpose. The students will be asked to try and capture three photos in the theme they chose the night before. They can walk as they wish, however, they can also ask the teachers for help and follow them as they wish. The teachers will provide tips and tricks during the walk. The students may shoot when are where they wish as long as they return by the specified time.

Session 4: Editing

Students will edit their photos and make their selection and share them with the class. We will discuss together and give positive feedback and improvement tips.

Note for film shooters: If you prefer to shoot film, message us in advance of arrival. Wearethestreet members will prepare and develop film as part of the editing process. Nicholas Dominic Talvola is especially excited to make a mess of the Leica Korea bathroom ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Photo co. Nicholas Dominic Talvola (Getting ready to destroy a bathroom)
Price:

Each workshop is 300USD that can be paid to the Wearestreet paypal account (Info.wearethestreet@gmail.com). Receipt will be given after payment recieved and a more detailed schedule will be sent. Students who are from Korea or living in Korea can pay in KRW. Email us for details on this.

Also, students that would like to attend both weekends can do so for 500USD. These students will also receive a special online training during the week and a portfolio review session with their favorite Wearethestreet members.

Please fill out our Google Form if you plan on attending!

The workshop will be limited to 15 students per week, so be sure to sign up as soon as possible! We look forward to seeing you here in Seoul!

-Wearethestreet team