Saul & Ernst Recipe

The inspiration

This is an approach attempt to a colour style inspired from some of the iconic images from the works of Saul Leiter and Ernst Haas. If you don’t know them, check them out it’s well worth it. The idea is to achieve a “painterly” look. I’ve deliberately chosen to go for a warm cast which I think works best for the final effect. Because of this, the recipe could have many subtle colour variations that might suit better the available light conditions and subject. Feel free to experiment and share the results here in the comments.

Kodak Portra 400 recipe. (X-Trans III )

Going “retro”

Lately I have been looking at several examples of film photography using Portra 400, many of them shot with the ever growing popular Leica M6, but also Olympus om4, Pentax 67, Mamiyas and the likes. Film has been back in favour from some years now and it is all the rage right now. Many photographers use it as a means of distinguishing themselves from the masses as a result of cultivating their own style. It is certainly enjoyable to see those classic retro coloured pictures. Even though the film look is old, the images themselves have a very distinctive contemporary look. That is because the modern lenses are so much technically capable than they where and as a result, the images are crispier than ever. It’s only when you deliberately use old glass that you get the true old look. But in my humble opinion sharpness, as overrated as it might be (a “bourgeois concept in the words of H. Cartier Bresson), is a goddess that is hard not to worship nowadays.

The magic of colour

As I previously mentioned, one of the reasons I grew fond of the Fuji system is their colour science and the flexibility it gives you to shoot directly in camera with the style and mood that you choose with little or no need to edit your images afterwards. In this article I will only explain a few basics about the film simulations and recipes that derive from them. If you want to have a deeper understanding of it and play yourself with the concept, I recommend you visit the “bible” of film simulations recipes which is the outstanding website Fuji X Weekly maintained by Ritchie Roesch, a true goldmine on its own on this subject.