The old paint factory

Photo by Jespter Yu. Cropped and Edited by me.

Photo by Jespter Yu. Cropped and Edited by me.


Last year 2015 in September my friends and I decided to explore the old abandoned paint factory. The factory belonged to the German company Beckers founded in 1865. They expanded quickly and during the late 19th century they opened a shop in Stockholm. In 1902 Beckers opened a factory and in Lövholmen where they where active for over a 100 years. In 2008 the factory was closed down and moved to a more modern factory. The old building has been abandoned ever since and many people have been exploring these areas since then. Parts of it are destroyed and most of the factory is heavily painted in graffiti. Here are some random shots.

Contax G2 28/2.8, 45/2.0, Kodak Tri-x 400.

Pentax 67, 75/2.8, Kodak Tri-x 400, X-tol.

Pentax 67, 75/2.8, Kodak Tri-x 400 @800, X-tol.

Just for fun and comparison here are som Contax G2 45/2.0 vs Pentax 67 75/2.8 shots.

© 2016 Photography by Joel Foo

Some words about the CONTAX G1 and G2

Hi everyone!

I had heared a lot about the Contax G cameras on youtube and other medias. Before I began my trip within the compact camera realm I wasn't too sure about the Contax G system. Mostly because of the general idea that the AF on compact cameras weren't that good. After some reading and research on the web it seemed people were very pleased with the system and the Contax glas has always had a good reputation. BTW check out Mike Thomas review of the G-cameras on you tube. 

Anyway several months after, as the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) had been laid to rest, my friend Ola Billmont popped the question if I was interested in buying a G2 kit he was selling. The Contax G2 with 28/2.8, 45/2 and the 21/2.8 with external finder! All for a very good price. So.. I felt the GAS coming back and thought that I should try this camera. I later found a very cheap G1 on ebay for dual wielding of course :)

Don't worry I won't bore you with the same old facts you find everywhere :) There are so many thoughts about this camera, and some many really nice things.. First of all the autofocus system was better than I expected, on both cameras! The G2 actually has two systems that operate side by side. The first one is contrast based and the other one uses infrared technique. As it focuses it uses the contrast based one first and then confirms it with the infrared light, which is not visible to the eye. In low light where the contrast based system may struggle it uses the infrared one to focus. I have never found the camera hunting focus at any time. It focuses almost instantly. This autofocus system works really well! The G1 only has contrast based focusing and a striped red assist light that helps it in low light. Honestly its hard to tell a difference in good lighting. They both work very well. 

There are some small differences between the cameras other than the autofocus system, size and the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 vs 1/200 on the G1. But all in all they are very fine cameras. Personally I find the G1 a bit nicer. It fits my hand better and weighs a bit less too. One thing I didn't find too good was the viewfinder. This is a very relevant opinion. The size of it is perfectly fine, but the thing is that even if it is a rangefinder camera it doesn't show anything outside the fames lines in the finder, like say a Leica. Having used a lot of rangefinder cameras I am used to seeing the frame lines and outside them to help me compose and anticipate what's going to come into my frame. The G-cameras only show what you are going to get as a SLR would do. Outside the parallax adjusting frame in the cameras is only black masking. This took me some time to get used to, but now I don't think about it that much.

My final words is that this is one of the most useful cameras according to me. I love this camera! It has autofocus, it's quick, small and light! Great for snaps and street photography as well as travel photography being a compact and "light" system. Here are some random shots with the G1 and G2.

G1, G2, 28mm/2.8, Ilford Hp5 @1600, developed in Xtol stock solution. 

These photos where taken during a yearly event called "Bike in Tweed". The Tweed Run is a group bicycle ride through the centre of Stockholm, in which the cyclists are expected to dress in traditional British cycling attire, particularly tweed plus four suits. Any bicycle is acceptable on the Tweed Run, but classic vintage bicycles are encouraged. Some effort to recreate the spirit of a bygone era is always appreciated. 

G2, 45mm/2, 28mm/2.8, 21/2.8, Ilford Hp5 @400 developed in Xtol 1+1.

G1, 28/2.8 Hp5 @400 developed in Xtol 1+1

© 2016 Photography by Joel Foo

A small project I did last year

Last summer my friend told me about this place, Stora Skuggan. He told me every Sunday people come here and dance Lindy Hop. I thought maybe I should check it out. If anything, it was a good opportunity to take some photographs. Little did I know, I experienced something almost magical. That Sunday there was a live band playing. I later found out that this never happened before for as long as they’ve been dancing here. There’s normally just a DJ there, so I really got my self a treat!

I really enjoyed the positive atmosphere, so I decided to come back and come back again on that summer of 2014. Within a few Sundays I felt the need to create a small project. On the last Sunday of the season at Stora Skuggan I had a small one-day-exibition. Just saying thanks and giving something back. 

This event repeats every year and starts in the end of May until end of August. Please check out their Facebook page All photos below are shot on a Leica M9 with Canon 50mm 1.2 LTM or Voigtländer 15mm 4.5 Asph and edited with VSCO film presets.

© 2015 Photography by Joel Foo


Sharing photos

Hi, guys!

Well as usual it's been a while. I really don't know why it has to be this way. Anywho.. I started sorting out some of my scanned negatives just now and realised I haven't touched my scans form this April/May. Usually I scan and edit them and then they are uploaded onto my private flickr account, which only a few friends and family can view. It's kind of sad that they will never be seen by the public. Most of the photos are from my spare time out shooting, spending time with my friends or family. So I now decided that I am going to share more stuff with you in the future! These are photos from 30th of April. On this day in Sweden we celebrate the arrival of spring! We light a huge bon fire and drink lots of beer :) No, for real, this is a celebration for the whole family. In some of the pictures the words "ELD" and "ANSVARIG" apperar, "ELD" means "fire" and "ANSVARIG" means "person in charge". I hope you enjoy the photos and hope to share more photos with you in the future.

Ricoh GR1, AgfaVista 400 @1250.

Mamiya 7, 80mm f4, Portra 400.

© 2015 Photography by Joel Foo

First roll of color film


It's been a while, as usual. Just wanted to share some photos from this June I took when Philip, Jesper and me went hiking for two days just a few miles outside Stockholm. It actually was Jesper's idea just to get out of town and walk through the woods. So we rented a car and headed out. I normally don't shoot nature och landscape photography but I thought, what the heck. I love being outdoors so I figured maybe I'll actually shoot a roll of color film. I shot a roll of Portra 400 just because it's one of the most common films. 

© 2014 Photography by Joel Foo

I left my only color film roll at "Team Framkallning" where Veikko works. He processes most of Philip's and Jesper's color film and I have heard so much good stuff about him. He owns a small labb and darkroom where he processes color and b&w film. Since it's a small company he gives personal and good service. I got to know him during the summer when I shoot more color film. If I continue shooting color film I'll definitely leave my rolls with him.

So what was my first reactions to color film? Well, being an only b&w shooter until now I must say I really like it. The colors on film are so much more alive that what I'm used to on digital format and LR. I have tried to emulate the color film look but you just can't beat film. Also scanning color film is a pain compared to my easy breez-y b&w scanning but I think I got the colors right.

I also shot som Tri-x and Acros. Comparing the color shots with the b&w is like comparing apples and pears. They are simply two separate ways of capturing light. I do like both but I must admit I like color film more for this purpose more. It gives the photo so much more quality and dimension. All photos are shot with the Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and with either 50/4.5 or 110/2.8. 

© 2014 Photography by Joel Foo

I'll do another post soon about my summer shootning Portra 400 soon. Thanks for reading!




The past 4 months..

Hi everyone!

It's been too long since I wrote anything. Doing too many things at the same time, too little time and a pinch of laziness. Anyway..

So after Dubai and my rebirth or reincarnation I started experimenting with some of the thoughts and ideas that awoke. I wanted to eliminate all the technical aspects of my photography and just explore my creativity. I took out my Holga120N and a couple of other compact cameras and loaded the with film. I also acquired a Holga BC 135+flash and another Holga 120 with built-in flash. 

High in spirits and I went out and ventured the exciting and unknown. In the beginning it was a bit fiddly with the new gear, but it grew on me. Actually its just point and shoot.. well more or less. The great thing with the Holgas are that they creates a rather unique aesthetic to the photographs besides vignetting and light leaks. Using flash is something I haven't been doing within street photography. Mostly because I didn't have the guts to use it. But with the boost of confidence from my workshops in Dubai I was willing to give it a try. Here are some of the shots taken with my compact cameras. The cameras I used was the Holga 120N, Holga 120CFN, Holga 135 BC with Holga flash, Ricoh GR1/v and the Miolta Hi-matic GF, shot on Tri-x, Hp5+ and T-max.

As I wrote on previous blog post one important thing I learned from the workshops was that as a photographer you choose what to show and not show. This gives you great power in creating your own story. If you show too much you might reveal the whole story and the photograph might not be too interesting. But if you leave some of the more revealing bits out and just focus on the details or the abstract feeling the photograph may seem much more interesting and open to different interpretations.

Another thing I wanted to experiment with was hands and gestures. People express them selfs by facial expressions and body language apart from verbal expression. I find hands interesting. Maybe it's because we use them in so many ways that they have their own character. Soft hands, hard working hands, women's hands, dirty hands.. I know. It's a bit weird or even a bit of a fetish, but it's interesting to me.

All the above photographs are also black and white. Although my eyes opened to color in Dubai I still wanted to do this type of photography in black and white. The aesthetics and dramatic contrast worked best in this case. 

Shooting with point-and-shoot cameras or equivalent really freed me from some of the things that sometimes distracts me while shooting. I don't have to think so much about exposure or focusing correct. I had a little light weighted camera that didn't weigh me down, no distracting technical stuff to think about. I just felt a sense of freedom and very open minded as if I could do anything I wanted without getting judged on technicalities or what's correct or not. 

Next post will be about me venturing to the world of color and maybe some more reflections about my photography and what has been going on in my head. Thanks for reading and please comment and give any kind of feedback. 

Keep calm and keep shooting!