Sunday, March 17, 2013

March 2013

Jonathan Canlas:

Film is not dead

By Jacob Stordahl

We hope you have been enjoying our interviews so far! Please send us feedback at

To sum up the work of film photographer, Jonathan Canlas, is easy. Real people, in real settings. You can see by the shots below that he manages to capture the most real and fun moments in a shoot. As he said in the interview below, he loves to take shots of his family, and you can get more real then that. His images are sharp, and of the highest quality. He is truly a fantastic advocate for the medium of film photography. 

We interviewed Jonathan, and here is what he had to say...
Q: What got you started inphotography?
I was living in Japan and a friendof mine Eriko Aoya lent me a Canon AE-1 with a 50mm 1.4 lens. I really had noidea what I was doing so I shot on A quite a bit.  I ended up getting a degree in Japanese andAsian Studies and then went back and did a BFA in photography. I never aspiredto be a wedding photographer. Like most people in my industry, I startedbecause friends found out I did photography and asked me to shoot theirengagements, which lead to hey will you shoot my wedding which lead to shootingup to 74 weddings in one year.  I’vesince slowed my weddings down considerably focusing more on commercial andpersonal work.
Q: What is your earliest memory ofusing a film camera?
Again, while living in Japan at age19.  I mean, I’m positive I had takenphotos before that but I had no interest in it. I always thought I was going to be an architect when I was little.
Q: What have you done to get fromthe “Amateur” level to the “Professional” level of photography?
Hard work, hard work and a hell ofa lot of hard work.  I shoot a ton, andam still working on what I’m trying to say and how to say it.  There is no real way to say you’ve gone fromamateur to pro.   I guess what changesthat is once you start charging money/providing services and more importantlyactually get said money you are asking for. 
Q: What otherartists influence your work today?                          
Chuck Close, Richard Avedon, andWilliam Eggleston.  I also love AaronRuell’s work.  I love new topographicsand shooting things people would not call “interesting” or “beautiful.  I take pride in making the mundaneinteresting.  One of my biggest expensesis buying photo books.  I usually acquirearound 30+ books a year. I’m always looking for inspiration.
Q: What is your favorite format offilm and in that format, what is your favorite brand/maker?
My favorite format is medium formathands down. I’ve shot 35 but it is just too grainy for my taste.  I’ve shot some 4x5 but I don’t have thepatience for it. My favorite color films are made by Kodak no questions asked. IfI had to choose one to shoot the rest of my career?Probably a close tie betweenKodak Portra 160 and Portra 800.160 because it is in 220 and the amazing skintones.  And 800 for the saturation/color.ForBW, I am in love with Fuji Acros 100. The tonality is unreal.  No otherbw film out there gets the tonality that I want other than this film.  I just wish it was a faster ISO.
Q: Are there any formats of filmyou haven’t tried?
8x10 and larger…I’ve shot aboutevery film stock out there minus some obscure agfa, ilfordbw films.
Q: What are your favorite subjectsto photograph? Favorite locations?
My family and kids as subjects andanywhere I call home as a location.  Imean, all of my personal works stems from where I call “home”.  I don’t have a favorite location.  People used to ask me this all the time.  And not to sound ungrateful but some of themost exotic and amazing places I've visited were never as great as home.  Locations do not matter to me.  Great photos are always 5 ft away from you atall times.  You just have to see/find it.
Q: What have been the most excitingexperiences, shooting for clients?
Giving back is the most rewardingexperience for sure.  Exciting wise, I’malways excited about every shoot that I do regardless of how cool it really is.  Once that excitement leaves, I think I’d bedone with photography.  I will say thebest job I ever had was 6 days shooting on the island of Kauai for a companycalled Kukuiula (  It was an absolute dream.
Q: How long do you think you willcontinue to be a film photographer?
At least 1 year after they stopmaking film as I have it stock piled. But honestly, I don’t think they’ll ever stop making film so I don’tthink I’ll ever stop being a film photographer. Even if the big 2 companies that currently make film stop making film,someone will come in and take over the reigns. It will just get more expensive to shoot film.  But I own my own lab which helps a ton.
Q: Any tips for people wishing tostart photography?
Get out and shoot and do it often.  No online site, book, video, or workshop willteach you more than you getting out and shooting for yourself.  EVER.
Q: How about people that haven’t experiencedthe medium of film yet?
I think if people knew how easyfilm was there would be more people shooting it.  It seriously is a beautiful medium and theexperience alone of not looking at the back of your camera is somethingeveryone should experience.
We asked Jonathan to list his film equipment from a regular shoot... Here it is!
Contax645 w/ 80mm/35mm/140mm/210mm. 
Leica M6 with Voigtlander 35mm 1.4/Nokton 50mm1.1. 
Fuji GA645. 
Mamiya RZ Pro II w/110mm/90mm/50mm/127mm/180mm. 
Toyo 45cxw/210 
Schneider 6.3.
Kodak Portra 160/400/800.
Kodak Portra 160vc/400vc.
FujiAcros 100. 
Fuji FP-3000B/100C. 
Ilford Delta 3200. 
Alien Bees 800ws x4 w/varioussized softboxes, umbrellas, beauty dish, honeycombs etc. 
Nikon SB80dx x2

We found some reviews of Jonathan's work 
Beautiful and uniquewedding photos...loved this photographer!....4.6/5”- Anonymous User(

Jonathan was recommended to me by a friend withimpeccable taste. She hired him for her engagements and wedding photos, and Iloved the results. So I, along with most of our friends, have since used himand have loved our pictures as well. If you are repulsed by standard,"prom-posed" wedding photos, then Jonathan's candid, artsy stylemight be what you are looking to achieve. What impresses me most is his abilityto capture a couple's chemistry and style, and to adapt to it without losinghis art in the process.” – Angie S., Chico, CA (

Jonathan Canlas will amaze you with his beautifulphotography. You will not regret hiring him.”- Anonymous User(  

We have picked out top TEN favorite photos shot by Mr. Canlas, and here they are...

Show some love for Jonathan and visit his site and blog!
                                            Jonathan's Site                          Jonathans Blog           
Thank you for reading! 
Come back next Sunday for the next 
"What's in your camera bag?"

Copyright Analog Revival 2013

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