It was Mum’s 93rd birthday last weekend, and the obligatory photographs were taken. I had the Leica M10 and the Bronica SQ-A with me – the latter loaded with Kodak Portra 400.
When I looked at the digital photos, whilst thinking they were not my best, they seemed to do a reasonable job. Full frame, only adjusted for contrast etc. Colour as shot.
Mick Yates. 2020. Mum. Leica M10, Summicron 35mm.
I just got the film back from Exposure Film Labs, flat scanned. Again, full frame, only adjusted for contrast etc, no colour change.
Mick Yates. 2020. Mum. Bronica SQ-A, Zenzanon-S 80mm, Kodak Portra 400.
Again, not sure it’s my best work, and it is hardly a controlled test as the depth of field is quite different. But it is a nicer, more natural portrait.
I happen to prefer the (less sharp) film image. Portra is warmer, and the image also seems to have more blue. An intriguing and slightly unreal combination and hot and cold, yet one that seems to carry more emotion.
The Leica image, because I wasn’t shooting wide open, has more separation between the subject and the background. And the skin tone are very ‘real’. So, technically stronger I think.
Then I played with the colours on the film images. Very hard to get similar balance as the Leica photograph, and in getting the blues a bit more balanced, the skin becomes too orange?
This is where I got to:
Mick Yates. 2020. Mum. Bronica SQ-A, Zenzanon-S 80mm, Kodak Portra 400. Adjusted Colour.
I am sure that there are an almost infinite set of possibilities, though the exercise seems to demonstrate that each medium has its own intrinsic qualities and it’s up to the photographer to make choices.
The last, adjusted image is my favourite.