Using a Modified Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 Camera (And More) For Fantastic Portraits

All images by Notches. Used with permission.

As I’m going through submissions for the upcoming Analog photography zine by the Phoblographer, I’m pooling through well over 400 emails. Some of them are positively fantastic, and some others aren’t quite zine quality but they’re still very good. For example, take the photographer who calls themselves Notches. Why? I’m not honestly sure. But part of the unique look that Notches develops in their images comes from the more manual instant film camera options out there. One of which is a modified Fujifilm Instax Wide 300 offered by Camera Film Photo. This lets the user have full shutter speed and aperture control.

But more than that, there’s a sense of wanderlust in Notches’ images.

Here’s what Notches had to say in their email:

I am a film enthusiast who mainly uses instant cameras. My go-to cameras are Mint’s SLR670 and a modified Instax wide 300 with a Mamiya Universal Press’s lens. I enjoy street and travel photography and also shooting simple daily objects that I come across. I like shooting film because I started with a film camera (A red plastic Holga) and that led me down the rabbit hole of trying to collect as many of those beautifully designed film cameras as possible. Also, there are so many types of interesting films to try out and that keeps my interest going. My favourites are Revolog’s colour series, Cinestill 800 and Kodak Portra.

Ming Chan from Mint inspired me the most when I first got into Polaroid cameras. I bought an SLR670 because of his work. Later, I started following the work of Nguan, a Singaporean photographer and Louis Dazy’s night photography, both of which I absolutely love.

I got into photography in 2009 when I bought a red plastic Holga from Lomography. It was really fun for me and I brought it everywhere I went.

I always have the urge to shoot. It’s just something that I do for enjoyment- To document the things that I want to remember. I took it upon myself to print photos and catalogue them neatly in different albums. Every trip abroad means that a new album will be filled. Photography ensures that I remember as much as I can when looking at my pictures, from the moment I took them to how I felt at the time. I have also met many friends through our mutual love for film photography. I did a 24 Instax postcards project and sent photos to new and old friends in Germany, Czech Republic, Canada, Japan, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Hong Kong, Thailand, USA, France, Turkey, England, Taiwan, Italy, Indonesia and Singapore. If it hadn’t been for photography, I would never have met them and formed these connections.

I’m leaning towards the documenting side. Even though my friends sometimes pose for me after some amount of begging from my side, I spend more time shooting people and situations that I come across.

I usually look for compositions and lighting conditions that I like, or people who interest me. I prefer to shoot scenes that have a certain peace to them. I have a tendency to slightly over-expose film by The Impossible Project due to a personal preference for a lighter look when I use my SLR670. As for my modified Instax camera, I have to use my phone’s light meter app to get the numbers down before setting up the shot.When taking candid shots, this has to be done rather subtly and quickly so as not to be noticed by my subject. So far, I haven’t been caught, probably due to the quiet shutter and how I carry my backpack in front to quickly hide my camera once I’ve taken the shot.

I don’t process my own film, so I bring them to the local film lab. I’m thinking of investing in an Epson scanner though.

While I enjoy both digital and film photography, I’ll pick film photography simply because I like instant film and digital photography doesn’t offer that(But this may change after the release of the Instax Square camera.). Also, there’s a unique look to certain films either cannot be replicated in photoshop, or takes a long time to do so when that time could be spent shooting more. On a more superficial level, I personally prefer the designs of film cameras more. Some of my favourites are the SX-70 and the TLR series, which I find to be beautiful designs to collect and display.

Be sure to follow Notches on Instagram and Flickr.