FilmsNotDead Winner: Siim Vahur

The recent FilmsNotDead competition offered a little step back in time for film and Kodak film lovers. The challenge (or excitement) was to enter with images that were shot on a Kodak Box Brownie.

Siim Vahur from Estonia won the competiton by sharing the images below which were shot with his Kodak Box Brownie 2.   We, from Kodak Alaris caught up with Siim from Estonia to ask some questions about shooting film and what he enjoys the most.

We hope that you enjoy his thoughts and especially his hints and tips on shooting film.

Thanks
Lars.

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KA: Siim, you’re clearly a lover of film photography. Do you have a favourite camera that you regularly use?

S: As a mad collector – I’ve got plenty of them. Right now from my collection of 35mm cameras I like to use my Voigtländer Super Wide-Heliar 4.5/15mm with my 78 year old Leica III, a Canon Canonet QL17 G-III (as it’s the most handful light-weight fast lens rangefinder with full manual option), Horizont,  Fujica Drive (neat little half-frame)

maru_-_knitter_(fujicaST801_helios85mm_f1.5_velvia50)_09[1]

And from my collection of 120 it’s some simple boxes like my competition winning Brownie No.2, my Daci, a Seagull 4B (I really like the triplet lenses as well as square format) and my Arax 60 MLU (+Zeiss lenses).

My collection habit has even made me create cameras of my own. I have a self-made anamorphic pinhole camera http://www.siimvahur.com/anamorfoos/index.html and a

self-made half-frame fisheye http://www.siimvahur.com/commuud/fisheye/

I’m always ready and willing to try things that are new, the bond between me and film photography is strong and not something I see changing in the near future.  Today’s world is too fast for film, my everyday work is fully digital, I’m a fan of new technologies, but I enjoy shooting film. Not for a fun. Just. For a life.

maru_-_knitter_(cant_remember_film_and_camera)_15[1]

KA: So you mentioned you’re a collector, but are you an amateur or professional photographer?

S: Professional. I guess. For almost 10 years I have been full time theater photographer (my main job is at Tallinna City Theater, VAT teater ) and I’ve been working part time as a food photographer for magazines and cook books. When not shooting for  home/creative still life (i.e food photography) or work/portrait etc (i.e theater) I do like street photography. I don’t do wedding photography.

andrus_-_an_actor_(whosafraidofvirginiawoolf)RB67ProS_55mm_expKodakEPN100[1]

KA:  OK, so you’re a professional, did you always want to be a photographer? How did you become a photographer?

S: No, but it just went that way. First I was interested in classic graphic art (you know – all those good old methods – from dry-point to lithography). But one day I found myself studying photography at Art College. And four years later I found myself taking pictures at theater.

In childhood I wanted to become a asphalt worker (at summer) and a street cleaner in night shift (at winter).

KA: How long have you been shooting film for and what do you enjoy most about it?

S: I’ve been shooting film consistently for about 15 years and really it’s just because I love beautiful things, including all those heavy and shiny cameras. I especially love using unique lenses that give me real feelings with real film. Shooting film is about thinking first  – not just point and shoot!

margus_-_an_actor_(barnes_-_red_noses)_RB67ProS_180mm_6x4.5back_KodakEPN100_exp10.1994[1]

KA: So tell us, what are your favourite films to shoot and why?

S: Again I like to use a variety of films, I shoot colour and black and white, so it’s a good mix for me.  The colour films I’ve used most are Kodak Profoto 100 as I find it the best value for money and I also use Fuji Velvia 50 as its deep blue, dark green tonality fits 100% into our the ’pessimistic’ Estonia climate. However with these being expired films, I am looking at experimenting further with Kodak’s Portra and Ektar films.

When it comes to black and white I’m a fan of hi-iso and push-process black and white, so Kodak TRI-X, Ilford Delta 3200 / Surveillance P3/P4, Agfa Traffic are my best friends.

I also like to shoot the now expired Kodak Vericolor III (when I can find it) as it offers neat tonality.

alo_-_an_actor_(valdes_-_midnight_sun)_RB67ProS_127mm_fomapan100[1]

KA: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to use film?

S:  As I said to the Films Not Dead team, don’t go the Lomo way (sorry, guy’s), look around, get a real camera (from a box brownie to a modern ultra wide Heliar equipped and a 30′s Leica or just a simple mechanical SLR with some fix lenses), find some neat films with real character and play and try and you can feel the difference between your smartphone and real thing. For camera colletors like me, it’s great to be able to use my neat and beautifil old gear.

KA: Finally can you offer the readers of this blog five tips on shooting film?

S:

1. Composition. See frames in your head. Think!

2. Light. See light around you. Use it, i.e move yourself!

(One light, one place, different angle of views and you can make really different results – awful ones and vice versa)

3. Light. Measure it! Know your film’s peculiarity.

4. DOF. Use it! Most wonderful thing in photography.

5. Don’t rush, just be ready.

KA: Tell us a little about Siim the person:

S: I’m just a 32 year old guy with wife and daughter. I have done photos for many cook books, books, theaters, posters, magazines, websites … so photography is my life.

I love my country. And I love this kind of bad weather.

My life – my pictures: www.siimvahur.com

My life – my wife – my pictures, all of them: www.marudesign.eu

My collection of cameras – http://www.flickr.com/photos/siimvahur/sets