Photographer Christoph Zoubek Uses Film to Create Gorgeous Portraits

All images by Christoph Zoubek. Used with permission.

Photographer Christoph Zoubek describes himself as a self-taught photographer (and medical student) from the south of Germany. “I’ve been shooting on film since I picked up my grandad’s Rolleiflex in 2011 after shooting…or rather ‘wasting’ a couple of years with digital SLRs.” Since then, he can attest to the fact that he hasn’t own a digital camera. Chris shoots in a load of formats and with a variety of films. He applied to be featured in our upcoming analog zine and I thought his submission to be good enough to be featured here.

Below are words from Christoph.


Currently I shoot in various formats – 35mm (Leica MP, Nikon F6), 120mm (Rolleiflex 2.8F, Pentax 67, Contax 645) and4x5“ (Linhof Technika). In black and white I almost exclusively shoot on Kodak Tri-x whereas in color I change between the Portras and Fuji 400H.

I try on every shoot to come close my own vision of a photo created in my mind. Sometimes I try to create something like a storyboard and some other times I just give in to a flow that can happen after the first few pictures. When I started analog photography I tried to focus on every little detail and was maybe too concerned with everything. Now I have learned to give in a bit more.

I think shooting with film cameras helps me a lot, because I can’t hide behind a display. Being not the most upfront person it forces me to communicate even more with the person on the other side of the lens. And I think that most of my photos could not have happened when shooting digital. I need the physical process.. to actually create something that does not consist of ones and zeros.

More facts:

– I started photography, because I needed a way to artistically express myself – and I’m a bad painter and average musician

– My biggest influences come from: Jean-Loup Sieff, Patrick Demarchelier and Peter Lindbergh. I also like the style of Henrik Purienne

– I’ve been shooting on film for 6 years now

– My personal approach is that I want to archive something, a moment, a face, the light shining through the windows… and that’s why. I’m not sure if I’m a documenter or a creator. Maybe a bit of both. I think you have to be a creator when shooting portraits because most of
them are – to a certain extent – staged.

– When creating a picture at first I try to rule out any possible technical mistakes by loading the film correctly and measuring the light in different angles. Done with this, I try to see the final result in my mind and focus on the individuality of the person in front of my camera. I ask myself: what makes the
uniqueness of this person and how can I bring it to light?

– Before I started med school, I did all the processing myself, even color. For Tri-x I used D-76. Scanning was mostly done on a Nikon scanner. Now I started sending out most of my stuff, but what I kept for myself is the printing in the darkroom. I just love the process of developing a photo under the red light.

– Film is just a real medium, I can archive for years to come; it is expensive, so it forces you to slow down and focus on your subject; and the best photos I’ve seen were all shot on film – so personally I don’t need any other medium.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.