The Kodak 1000 word Film Friday blog is a dedicated platform where we feature great photographers sharing our passion for film photography.
Today we’re excited to feature a photographer from the UK, Matt Osborne. We discovered Matt following a fashion film shoot in Ukraine where he shot a model in black and white on Kodak Professional T-MAX 400 film. Here, in this blog post Matt talks about his passion for film photography and his use of Kodak film. Being a professional model and wedding photographer, Matt prefers to work with a mixture of film formats and cameras for different scenarios.
Take a look at Matt’s images and make up your own mind, then why not pick up a camera, buy some Kodak film and take some great shots yourself.
- Lars Fiedler
Shooting film by Matt Osborne, Photographer, UK
I am a self taught model and wedding photographer and have been shooting for around four years. Towards the end of 2012 I was already shooting my digital Nikon D800 camera in full manual mode using some of the best legacy lenses ever produced but I needed more. It was here that my journey with film began. I started with a Contax 645 medium format film camera as I loved the wedding photography examples I had seen during my research shooting Kodak Professional Portra 400 film. The skin tones are just unmatchable with digital.
Living in the UK, the light levels are often much lower especially in the winter months. For this reason I often shoot Kodak Professional Portra 800 which allows me to photograph UK models and weddings with the same high quality and characteristic skin tones yet still with available light. The Contax standard Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 lens is a fast lens meaning it can be used in lower light situations. In this instance I can often use Kodak Professional Portra 400. When I use my Mamiya RZ Pro II 6×7 however the lens are often f3.5 or f4.5 (200% less bright) so more light or faster film is required. It is here than Kodak Professional Portra 800 saves me every time. When large medium format film negatives are scanned I think it would be difficult to distinguish between Kodak Professional Portra 400 and Kodak Professional Portra 800.
Example - ARAX-CM and ARAX 80mm f2.8 lens, 120 Kodak Professional Portra 800 film, Agnieszka, Poland.
My passion however is black and white film photography and I develop my own film using a mix of Kodak Professional Xtol and Agfa Rodinal. I find I tend to see photos in black and white, pools of light and shadows. I’m not sure if it is something I have developed or trained my eyes to see or just something I’m lucky to have. Even with digital I tend to shoot B&W JPEGs. For black and white film photography my favourite films are Kodak T-Max 100 and Kodak T-Max 400. When shooting 35mm film I use a Nikon FM body then all my Nikon lenses I had invested in for digital. As I like to use fast prime lens (85mm f1.4, 50mm f1.2, 200mm f2) I can shoot with available light more easily so I tend to use Kodak Professional T-Max 100. This fast film gives ultrafine grain so when scanned the images look almost digital yet better as they have texture and a 3D quality.
Example – Nikon FM and Samyang 85mm f1.4 lens, 35mm Kodak Professional T-Max 100 film, Andra, UK
Film gives an apparent extra layer of detail that cannot be achieved with digital. For the Contax 645 and the fast Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2 lens I also shoot Kodak Professional T-Max 100 however for my other medium format cameras I need faster film.
My most used film camera is a medium format re branded Russian Kiev 88 6×6 camera badged as an ARAX-CM. The camera is also known as a Hasselbladski as is a Soviet copy of the famous Hasselblad. I love the 6×6 format and the camera is compact so is my first choice when I need to fit a medium format film camera into my hand luggage. I love the no frills shooting. No battery, no light meter, just a box, a lens and some film. This lets me channel all my energy into each photo resulting in often better composed and more thought through images. The ARAX lenses tend to be f2.8 or f3.5 but for super sharp images stopping the lenses down to f5.6 can give the most striking and high quality results. Stopping down the lenses means I need more light or faster film. Living in the UK the first is not an option in the winter months so I shoot Kodak T-Max 400 film. As with the Kodak Professional Portra 800, when T-Max 400 is scanned it would be difficult to tell it from Kodak T-Max 100. Both offer exceptional B&W tonal ranges and super film grain.
Example - ARAX-CM and Mir 38v lens, 120 Kodak Professional T-Max 400 film, Yulya, Ukraine.
I feel my journey with film is just beginning and I hope to enjoy many more years with Kodak. I already offer film photography for weddings but hope to attract a niche market in the future for those who like to enjoy the finer things in life.
To find out more about Matt Osborne please visit:
or follow his blog and Flickr pages at