For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phobloographer.
The last years in photography have been a very revealing experience for us. I was taught that Fujifilm Velvia is terrible for portraits. And, from personal experience, I accepted. However, Fujifilm is gently promoting Velvia by sharing photos of users who have used it for portraits. And believe it or not, the photos are really stunning. It undoes a lot of what the photo industry has preached. I’m not surprised, given the current backlash against wanting to spend hours in front of a computer. Fujifilm Velvia for portrait photography is a new combination that I never thought I would see. But with Gen Z following Millennials’ work to stabilize the film community, that seems like the obvious choice.
First examples of Fujifilm Velvia for portrait photography
The Fujifilm Pro Film Instagram account started sharing portraits of Velvia not long ago. Earlier this year, Fujifilm discontinued PRO400H to the sadness of many photographers. What’s even worse is the reason: a major supply issue to make the film. So they used and experimented with other options. With the pandemic creating so many new photographers, many have had to get creative. And Velvia seemed pretty perfect for a few people.
This photo above from @tituspoplawski is a prime example. On the contrary, it looks a bit like Ektachrome or Ektar. Of course, the output is a fairly straightforward lighting setup. We can observe a blue background with a big spotlight effect on the model. Because the light is most likely balanced against daylight, it works great with Fujifilm Velvia for portrait photography. The model’s skin tones seem a bit cooler, which is a slap in the face for more modern photography.
Titus is not the only one, however. Fujifilm also shared the work of @willemdafilm. His work is more alive. It is also slapping all the rules of the portrait world. Instead of using contrasting colors, everything is pretty much the same color tone. This technique has been used for years but has been really showcased with the work of Steve McCurry. Willem uses shadows to differentiate subjects, background, and wardrobe. It is a masterful job from a technical point of view. In recent years, YouTubers and other photographers have used a neon on the side to provide more contrast. But this idea is thrown out the window.
The new trend?
Could this be a whole new trend? Since the pandemic began to be brought under control, the world has become much more experimental. Even the NYTimes ran an article the other day that included tons of experimental movies and looks. I even thought that some of them were considered illegal by photojournalism standards, but they are not.
It sincerely excites me for the future of photography. The last couple of years have been spent shooting to achieve a clinically perfect shot that you would then refine for hours in post-production. And the thought of giving up your daily grind just to chase your dreams and jump on another grind is annoying. But a lot of these photos get rid of that idea. We must actively dismantle many aspects of the current photo industry so that we can grow and evolve. We are in a place where digital, mobile and film photography can coexist: we just need to think differently.
We reviewed Fujifilm Velvia 50 sometime ago. And honestly, I can consider seeing him again. You want some ? Pick it up on Amazon.
All images in this blog post are screenshots. The original image is a screenshot of this article.