Kentmere 100 – Fashion, fetish & film
SilvergrainClassics tests Harman Technology’s latest film in a latex fashion shoot.
By Christopher Osborne.
The team at Harman Technologies sent SilvergrainClassics samples of the newly released Kentmere film in 120 format for testing. We have held back on reviewing this film as we wanted a shoot that would push the film to its limits. Yesterday, we had the perfect shoot scheduled. We chose to try the film in the studio as this allows complete control of the lighting.
In true German fashion, it was 11 am to the minute when I arrived at the SilvergrainClassics studio together with Lena Paulus of Latex Fashion Design and her boyfriend. Model Hannah Mariah was in the car park as we arrived.
The primary aim of the shoot was to create a series of colour images highlighting the texture of an extremely elegant latex gown. Marwan set about creating a complex lighting scenario based on the kind of lighting that would have been used in a 1980s fashion shoot. He set a strip box with a grid on each side sides of the backdrop as rim lights. A key light was positioned from the left and above with just a reflector. This harsh light would ensure that the folds in the fabric would be pronounced. A lower light in a soft box illuminated the bottom of the dress. During the shoot, he added an optical snoot which cast the moon onto the background. Later he added a further snoot to light a Martini glass. The colour shoot is the subject of another story, but I can tell you that the results are nothing short of fabulous.
Hannah Mariah in a stunning latex gown by Latex Fashion Design. Shot on Kentmere 100.
The dress, nails and eye makeup were a dark royal blue. The background was blue. And the props were blue too. We wondered if we created a test environment that would be too challenging. How would Kentmere 100 would cope with this? Think of washed-out blue skies. Would everything merge together?
Late in the afternoon, Marwan needed an inspiration break and so he took over managing film processing and I took over the studio for our Kentmere test. I used an original Pentax 645 for the test as I wanted to see how the combination of fantastic glass but a smaller negative size (for 120 film) worked.
Hannah is both a fashion designer and a model in her own right, so one could not find an easier model to work with. Both Lena and Hannah had brought in potential props and these had been largely unused so far in the shoot. We decided that this would be a good time to work our way through the objects piled up on the table. Hannah and Lena suggested how each item might be employed, and so we carried on with a light-hearted and collaborative approach.
This morning I developed the film in Zone Imaging’s 510 Pyro mixed 1:100. I chose this developer because it has a beautiful rendering for portrait work. Development time was 12 minutes.
The negatives have been scanned on an Epson V750 with SilverFast software. Editing has been done in Lightroom and I have kept this as minimal as possible. I have removed dust & scratches, cropped images to 8×10 format and in 2 of the images I have made minor adjustments to the exposure.
So, what do we think of Kentmere 100? The first observation is how fine the grain appears. Staining developers like 510 Pyro do reduce the appearance of grain because they stain the gaps between the grain that scanning software loves to sharpen. However, even taking this into account, the grain is very fine, especially for a film that is designed to be in the budget price range.
Kentmere 100’s rendition of skin is nothing short of beautiful. As model Hannah was explaining to designer Lena at lunchtime, film is a far more complimentary form of photography than digital. Minor blemishes and imperfections are magically reduced rather than enhanced.
In some of the shots, I positioned Hannah more towards a profile shot. The rim lighting was bright, and I was curious to see how Kentmere 100 would cope with this. There is detail on the skin and at no stage were the details blown out.
In the ideal world, there could be more detail in the Iris of each eye, however, Hannah’s eye colour is dark brown and looking through the results of the colour shoot, her eyes appear dark there too. Hannah was wearing a stark dark blue eye shadow and Kentmere 100 differentiates this nicely from the surrounding skin.
We found the tonal reproduction to be very classical. The rendition of the mid-tones looks like a 1960s film shoot. It is a little bit like Pan F with a slightly darker mid-tone representation. We will definitely be using this film stock in our vintage photoshoot workshops in the future.
You can see more of Latex Fashion Design on Instagram at @latex_fashion_design and more of model Hannah Mariah at @the.hannah.mariah/
Images © Christopher Osborne 2023.
You might also be interested in this previous SilvergrainClassics article on DSLR scanning at a photoshoot during the Frankfurt Fashion week 2022 at https://silvergrainclassics.com/en/2022/04/dslr-scanning-with-negative-supply-at-the-leica-gallery-workshop/
You can find an index to the entire collection of SilvergrainClassics magazines here https://silvergrainclassics.com/en/magazine/index-of-articles/