Washi Film is a French company created in 2013 and based in Saint-Nazaire. They are specialized in handcrafted film making and industrial film conversion.
Washi (和紙) in Japanese literally means “Japanese (wa 和) Paper (紙 shi) ”. It is handmade from local wood that makes it stronger then standard paper. Usually used for traditional arts like origami, Washi Film created an emulsion from this special material.
The Washi V is handcoated on artisanal Gampi paper made by Awagami Factory in Japan. This is a delicate film and you have to be very careful when you load, advance, and rewind the film. You can shoot 16 pictures per roll.
I shoot with a Leica M6 and the Noctilux 50mm . When I shot my first roll, everything went all right until I rewinded it. The film broke inside the camera and then I made a huge mistake : I opened the camera instead of asking the lab to open it in the darkroom to remove the film. However, I was lucky enough to save 6 pictures.
I love the rendering of this film! I’m crazy about it! It looks like an ancien ink painting on silk.
So I decided to shoot another roll in Paris. And this time everything went all right. I brought it to the lab Friday, the 4th of January 2019 and I’m still waiting for the scans.
Update : 16th of January 2019
I received the scans from my second roll . They are great except some stains on almost all the pictures. I asked the owner of the company Washi Film about that. He told me that the emulsion was applied manually on the paper and this explains that it’s not 100% regular on the film. Besides the film is hand-coated in the dark with infrared glasses so he can not see all the flaws. Let’s say that these irregularities make the charm of the film. However I decided to remove the stains with photoshop. You can still have a idea of what the stains look like because I didn’t remove them on some pictures.
Well, despite the stains I still love this film and I’m looking forward to shoot more pictures with it.
Update 29 of January 2019
I’ve received the scans from my 3rd roll. I shot it in Paris, early January. This time, there were no stains, it came out clean! I’m very happy with the results. I went to the Arc de Triomphe, on the roof top and and had some panoramic views of Paris. It was foggy so the Eiffel Tower is not really visible. I went as well around the Ile Saint Louis to finish the roll.
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Paris Photo is the most prestigious gathering of art galleries in the world of photography . It takes place at the famous museum Le Grand Palais in the heart of Paris. This year, the 22nd edition hosted 166 galeries and 31 publishers, from the 8th to the 11th of November. 68 000 visitors attended the event, 40% of them came from abroad.
Visiting this unique exhibition is very inspiring, considering the diversity of the galeries coming from 30 different countries. The atmosphere is special, this is a place where you can meet people and share your passion for photography.
In order to take original pictures, I choose to document my visit by shooting with film. I tried for the first time the film Kodak TMax 3200 . It is quoted at ISO 800 so in reality, they push it 2 stops when you meter at 3200. You can meter it at 800 or 1600, but you have to tell it to the lab. They have a chart indicating the different requirements of development corresponding to the ISO.
I shot it at 3200 because it was indoor. After a few shots, I realised that there was enough light to shoot at 1600. As you can not change the ISO after starting the shooting, I shot everything at 3200.
I’m very happy with the result. There is some nice grain, expected at such a high ISO, and we have a lot of details in the shadows. It is sharp and clear.
I used my trusted Leica M6 TTL and the lens Noctilux f/0.95 . I shot most of the pictures around F5.6-F8 , in order to keep a descent shutter speed.
Here are the pictures :
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June is a great time to shoot Street Photography in Paris. The weather is beautiful, many tourists are visiting and there is a lot of action in the city. I choose Montmartre and le Sacré Coeur to try for the first time the TechArt Pro adapter for shooting street photography. I had the Sony A7R2 and the Leica Noctilux. In order to add some fun to that I shot all the pictures wide open at the aperture of f/0.95. It’s rare to see this kind of pictures at this aperture. Usually people use the zone focusing technique with an aperture around f/8. As I don’t like to do like everyone else, I did the contrary, I shot wide open! At this aperture you need to nail the focus perfectly. That’s where the autofocus function of the Techart Pro is essential. The depth of field at 0.95 is so shallow that too much time would be necessary to manual focus and I would miss the shot. Obviously people won’t pose for you. The concept is to catch a slice of life, to capture a special moment, to document street life. To do that you need to focus quickly otherwise the scene will change and you miss the picture.
The adaptor worked perfectly! Sometimes the face detection was working, but not always. When the face couldn’t be detected it was not a problem because the focus points could detect my subject and I just had to shoot. I was really glad to have it and try this experience because street photography makes more sense at this aperture. As only your subject is sharp, it draws easily the attention on it and immerses instantly the viewer into the story.
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I was in Paris in January and I went to Montmarte and the Sacre Coeur to shoot some street photography. It’s a very lively neighbourhood with many cafés, restaurants, musicians, painters, street sellers. In January there are not so much tourists compared to the spring and summer , but it’s still busy and entertaining.
I shot with the Leica M6 TTL, the lens Noctilux, and a roll of Kodak TX 400. I choose to push the film 1 stop at 800 because it was not very sunny and I wanted to have a descent depth of field for street photography.
You can see below the video and the pictures.
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The “Bokeh Challenge f/0.95” series consist of shooting an entire roll of film at the aperture of f/0.95 , which is the widest aperture possible with a lens as of now. This is a difficult task :
1- first you need a find an interesting subject that you can shoot closely ; the closer you are the better the effect.
2- then you need to find a background that will melt properly to form a nice bokeh
3- finally, you need to nail the focus precisely because at 0.95 the depth of field is very shallow and with film you don’t see the result immediately. and consequently you can’t start again if you fail.
The point of these challenges is to take advantage of the capacities of one of the most legendary lens ever made, the Leica Noctilux. Wide open, this lens produce unique and outstanding images. Being able to separate the background from the subject makes your picture more “understandable” to the public. They will understand immediately the concept of your photograph and won’t be distracted by another element in the frame. Beside, in a pure artistic and aesthetic point of view, it makes the picture more beautiful and eye catching.
I was in Paris in January for this photo walk. I had my Leica M6 TTL loaded with a roll of Kodak Portra 400. As it was a cloudy day, the shutter speed didn’t need to be so fast to compensate the huge amount of light coming through the lens. It was 1/500s in the morning then 1/250s and 1/125s in the evening. Anyway, overexposing of one stop or two a color film doesn’t hurt.
I started the day in Le Marais, then I walked to Saint Michel and I finished at Place de la Concorde with the illuminated giant wheel which makes a great blurry background.
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I was in Paris in November and I wanted to shoot a special film, to change from the usual brands that we often shoot. So I went to Nation Photo at Chatelet and I purchased a roll of Washi Film D “Sputnik” , made by a french company. This film was originally made for aerial surveillance and cartography, I thought it would be interested to try it.
I went to Montmartre and le Sacre Coeur, the basilic of Paris, and I shot street photography, monuments, cafés, and the painters of la Place tu Tertre.
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Cinestill 800T is a special film which comes from the motion film Kodak Vision 3. Consequently it has a cinematic look and it’s amazing for night pictures. We often see this film used in Asia or chinatowns in western countries because there are a lot of neons and it looks great. We rarely see Cinestill 800 pictures of classical monuments from western countries, that’s why I wanted to try it in Paris to shoot the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde, le Louvre and its pyramid. For this shooting I used my Leica M6, the lens Noctilux f/0.95 and a tripod. As it’s a fast film, I didn’t need very long exposures, however for 5 seconds I still needed a tripod to have sharp pictures. I had a cable release as well to be sure that the camera would not move.
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Nous avons rencontré Xavier Jamaux dans son studio à Paris où il a composé les bandes originales des plus grands films de Hong Kong pour Johnny To : Sparrow, Accident, Mad Detective, Three etc…
Xavier nous a parlé de sa passion pour Hong Kong, de ses rencontres avec Johnny To, de ses voyages au Japon et à Taiwan, ainsi que de ses futures collaborations avec Jay Jay Johanson et Tatiana Platon, top model et chanteuse…
English version of this interview here
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I shot these pictures in Paris in November 2016, with a telephoto lens : My Sony A7R2 and a Sony G Master 70-300mm . It was a very interesting experience because usually I shoot street photography with a 50mm lens or a 24-70mm. A long lens gives you a different perspective and you can shoot with a different state of mind. You see things that you would not see otherwise. I edited them in Lightroom, and I choose black and white because it helps to focus on the subject, there is less distraction.
Paris in black and white has a unique look and it enhances the romantic aspect of the city.
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Nasha Mekraksavanich is a young and successful designer, based in Thailand with two shops in Bangkok ; at Emporium (1F) and Siam Paragon (1F). She is famous worldwide and has customers across the globe. She has just been elected as the most stylish woman 2016 from Zen stylish award.
We met Nasha in Bangkok, in one of her shop on the first floor of the Emporium shopping mall (Phrom Phong).
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