Interview with BENNY ASRUL, INDONESIA
It gives me happiness whenever I see my negatives turned out nice.
Welcome, Benny! Mind telling us about yourself and your story on how you got into film photography?
Benny: I'm Indonesian, working for an oil company, been living in Singapore for years.
I've been shooting with films since I was in school back in Indonesia, and I just continue with it.
What type of film do you use and what camera do you use it with? Why do you prefer these?
Benny: I shoot with different type of format from 35mm, 120mm up to 4x5 large format camera.
It really depends on what I shoot and the outcome I want to achieve, for example I love shooting streets with 35mm as it's light, flexible, more discreet and fast. Whereas I love using medium format or large format for landscape photography or modelling/people.
Personally I like Fuji Acros 100 for bw, also Kodak TMax 400 but recently they have the backing paper issues that made me less confident using that film anymore. For color I like Fuji Velvia 50 when shooting landscape in color. For people in color I like Fuji Pro400H or Kodak Portra 400/800. There are plenty of good films around.
What do you think film has that digital doesn't have?
Benny: Process, it just has different process compared to digital. Different approach, I think when shooting with film we tend to be more careful as we can only see the results after the processing. Element of surprise, sometime when we develop the film after few months (or years) later we see pictures that we can't even remember we took them. I like that feeling though. Film is just not for everyone.
Do you print your own photographs or are you comfortable having them printed in a lab?
Benny: I process my films myself here and I will send the negatives to Lab in Jakarta if I need to have prints.
What motivates you to continue making photographs with film? Have you learned anything about yourself through film photography?
Benny: I love the process, the results and it teaches me to become more patient, more careful and respect the photography itself.
Are there any photographers that influenced your way of making pictures?
Benny: I like the works of Michael Kenna and Kenro Izu, for their landscape. Saul Leiter, for his street in colors. Koudelka, Rene Burri, Elliott Erwitt for their black and white works. For modelling I like Jean Francois Jonvelle and Jan Scholz, I think their works are beautiful.
Do you see any value or merit shooting with film?
Benny: I guess it gives me happiness whenever I see my negatives turned out nice, after all the process we've been through.
What do you think your future is like with film photography?
Benny: I believe as long as there are still film makers, it will exist. I've seen many people try to make a come back to films. It could be challenging though, as the cost becomes higher, and some films have been disappearing from the market.
What’s your dream photography project?
Benny: Well, probably I wanna do more photography travel if I have more time, and to publish more photography books.
Would you like to offer some good words to those who want to try film photography for the first time? What must they learn before venturing into this format?
Benny: It's good to learn some basic understanding about metering, it's ok to try first with digital camera as we can see the results fast. Composition, moment, etc can be learnt over the time through practice and practice. Learn to process the film ourselves, as we can have the full control of what we want to achieve.
Benny is busy finalising his third photography book. Expect it to be out sometime in early January 2018.
Well, all the luck, Benny! Keep us posted on the launch of your book.
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Well now, if you are a passionate film photographer and would like to be interviewed? I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject, "Interview me", and share your story, thoughts, and work related to film photography. I’ll get back to you as soon as I receive your request for an interview.
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