top of page

Jack Xu

'Arrival' by Jack Xu

"...Literally shooting in the dark with film as I forgot to set focus before sunset..."

Pentax 6x7 105mm 2.4, 16minutes exposure. Portra 400


So tell us more about yourself and about 'Arrival'? "I am a 31 year-old 9 to 5er in the property industry, based in Auckland. This image was taken at the gannet colony, Muriwai. I went with a friend who had just recently returned from overseas and the main goal was to capture some milky way time-lapse. Brought the Pentax along just to play while we wait for the time-lapse to finish. Literally shooting in the dark with film as I forgot to set focus before sunset. Originally I planned to shoot 20minutes+ exposures but even 15minutes felt like forever…stopped some shots at 16 and 18minutes. Didn’t follow any rules or reciprocity calculations, the images turned out okay! I really need to be patient and try for 30minutes+ shots. " What draws you to analogue photography? "To be honest it was COVID…the lockdowns last year made me dive deeper into photography, the art of capturing to be precise. I started watching YouTube videos and reviews on what film camera to get. I had a clear idea that I only want to shoot medium format film because I could simulate 35mm film with my digital cameras. I loved the feel of physically winding the crank, setting the dials, meter the scene and release the shutter, that satisfying sound of every component working in harmony to create an image is something I will never experience with modern-day cameras. " Who/what inspires or has influenced your thinking or photographing? "One artist I follow closely is Jason from Grainydays, not only are his videos entertaining to watch, but his works are also amazing. Another of my favourite is Cody Mitchell, solid content which is very informative. " Do you have a favourite film stock you like to use often & would recommend? " I guess an obvious one is portra400, I used to simulate this look on my Fuji cameras with recipes, this is my go-to film stock when I am shooting portraits on medium formats. For 35mm I use Kodak Gold the most, for one reason it's cheap, but it also has surprisingly great tones. " Do you have a subject matter or style you always find yourself drawn to? " I shoot mostly streets with my 35mm and portraits, landscapes with my medium format cameras. For street snaps, I like to shoot storefronts for some reason, whether they have closed for the day or not yet open, probably due to the lockdowns that you never know one day they are here and the next day someone new moves in, the last photo you took of them becomes their only memory. " If you were to use one camera for the rest of your life, which would you choose?" " Hasselblad 500 series, their shutter sounds never gets old." " What do you think is the biggest misconception about Analogue photography today ? I think the one misconception people might have is that you have to get one of the famous popular cameras to take good photos. During the past decade or more, there have been so many types of film cameras made, expensive celebrity cameras such as Hasselblad and Leicas are only the tip of the iceberg. There are actually many other alternatives that take just as good photos, it's the way you use them that counts. " Do you have a tip or a 'life-hack' advice you'd pass on to anyone from your experience so far with analogue? " With the cost of film rising(it's a good thing for the industry) one method of saving some money when it comes to developing and scanning is to use Red Dragon's Film Lab as they provide the most cost-effective solution. Even though you might only save a few dollars each time compared to other labs, that few dollars can grow into something big in the long run, perhaps a new camera! In all seriousness, the saving helps "


To hear or see more from Jack: @orokaj


bottom of page