There is a vast and growing community of highly-talented, recreational film photographers online right now, and UK-based Shakif Hussain a.k.a. jenquest is a great example of this. Shakif chooses to document his own world and the people around him with a natural sense of subtlety and grace. We gave Shakif the challenge of shooting with the Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 film and, in this interview, he shares the unexpected perks that come from trying something new and out of his comfort zone.
Welcome to Lomography Magazine, Shakif. Please introduce yourself.
I’m a father of two amazing daughters and I use photography mainly to document them growing up but also for street photography which is another passion, so pre-COVID I was doing a lot of that.
On your Instagram feed you seem to only shoot with B&W film, what's the appeal here?
I’ve been known to shoot color on odd occasions, but mainly black-and-white. This is because I feel black-and-white images get straight to the point. There are no distractions and the viewer is looking at exactly what you want them to be looking at.
Black-and-white also conveys the emotions I am trying to express better. I find it very difficult to do that with color mainly because color images can be very distracting and the viewers’ eyes might be wondering through the whole image and miss the story you are trying to tell. There is also the fact that black-and-white film is a lot easier to process and develop at home. Though in my case, I would say that this is more of a bonus than a reason to shoot black-and-white.
How did you get on shooting with the Fantôme Kino B&W ISO 8 Film?
I found it a little daunting at first but also exciting. I’m very much a no tripod, high-speed film shooter. I don’t normally shoot below ISO 1600 as I love grain. So the Fantôme Kino film is the complete opposite. This got my brain buzzing with different ideas I could try. I would have loved to try some portraits of friends but social distancing meant it wasn’t feasible. Maybe next time. It turns out that I had nothing to worry about. The grain is minimal but the images have a sense of creaminess to them. The contrast levels are a delight - inky blacks and bright whites made my images really pop. Most of the images I shot were handheld, though I did use a tripod for one or two images.
Any tips for other photographers wanting to shoot Low ISO film?
It would be a good idea to use a manual camera with a fast lens. As you might find that you need to shoot at the faster end more often and those cameras give you full control of the image-making process.
Where do you see the film photography world going in the future?
I see good things for film photography. A lot of people are bringing out new products such as lightmeters, enlargers, film scanners, the film itself, etc. While it may not take over from digital, there is definitely a place for film photography and it seems to only be getting stronger.
See more of Shakif's photos via his Instagram page jenquest.