Daily Inspiration #357 by Khunya Pan

Daily Inspiration #357 by Khunya Pan

Here are my three new submissions for this month. My newest direction I’ve taken with photography is texture. Not so much abstract texture, but texture on things that we see in most everyday life. I try to give movement to my pictures, and I think texture can either make or break it.

All three photographs were taken with a Pentax K1000, Super-Takumar 50mm f/1.4. Ilford HP5+ 400 film. Developed in Rodinal 1+25. I still have my ongoing Photograph A Week mailing list. If you’re interested in being added to it, just email me at khunyapan@gmail.com.

Yours friendly,




  1. The images are brilliant and ‘K’ has produced a really excellent ‘style’ – This is the way of wet photography, it allows the photographer to produce his own style. And to my eyes the photographer has succeeded in interpreting the images in his way. He knows how to achieve the effect in the dev and printing of them. If he’d wanted to get fine grain and super sharp prints there is no doubt in my mind he has the technical wisdom to achieve this. The mastery of film photography is knowing how to extend the process. Penny Smith use’s 3200 asa even in daylight. Make no mistake she has more awards and recognition than 99.9 percent of snapper’s could dream of! And she still use’s Pentax ES11’s which were used in her eight years with New Musical Express (2015) – Look he up if you don’t know who she is..

  2. Photo’s are beautifully composed, exposed and taken – I really like all three! BUT…I think the grain spoils it for me, it’s too harsh – and that’s the fault of the film+developer+time added with the fact that scanners accentuate grain in a false way (something not seen in a print) I think perhaps ID11 with HP5+ would have given finer softer and smoother grain.

  3. You know, every time I click on a submission on this site and look at the shots, i know exactly what I’m going to read in the comments that follow…Wow! Amazing! Fantastic work! etc.
    Seems to me that all one has to do to be an amazing, fantastic photographer is submit pictures here.
    Seriously, some of these pictures are ok. None of them are really amazing, fantastic,stunning or any of these other overworked adjectives.Yes, that’s just my opinion, because hey..i always give my own opinion.
    Not to take away anything from Khunya Pan’s images. They are fine. but..fantastic? …Really? I would say nicely observed, interesting enough but well short of fantastic…oh and yes Felipe..that is grain not texture.
    This is not intended to be a negative comment so I hope it won’t be taken as such, just trying to keep things in perspective.

      • @Tom: as you may or may not know, not everyone succeeds in getting images put up here. I tried three times without succes and gave up. I post links every now and then (f.i. above; my Flickr name is MikeD700, I’m Michiel Faro on Facebook) and am open to any criticism. I actully would welcome that.

        Anyway, the mild criticism voiced here appears pretty reasonable, well mannered and constructive to me. That doesn’t mean of course you have to agree with it.

        I applaud the OP for doing b&w with a simple slr; I’ve got a few of those as well, prefer 400Tx in D76 1+1, scanned properly (not having a darkroom anymore I have to let others do that), but still am regularly disppointed with the results. The intention was good, the result wasn’t. It happens, I try to learn form it.

      • I wasn’t implying my photos are better ( they aren’t actually! ) just that I thought everyone overrated these.Fair enough comment though, if I can get some images together over the summer break that I think are worth sharing I’ll submit them and you can let the comments fly!

    • Steve, I think you fail to see the social element. There is a social encouragement in saying a photo is “fantastic”, like saying “keep it up, you have something good going on”..!

      We need those encouragements in a mode of mutual understanding. Gives confidence. Obviously the most useful comments are the critical and analytical ones.

      • Good point. Thinking about it, I agree with you Mikael. That’s a good approach. I do think it’s great that everyone contributes what they have here with their own personal vision ( including Khunya) and there are a lot of images that are outside the box on this site which is refreshing.

  4. Hey Khunya,

    Thanks for sharing. I really like #2 and #3. I especially like the look of the floor and her hair in #2.


  5. I really like these pix. Khunya’s choice of materials is a personal thing, that I think work perfectly for #2 and #3. The composition is excellent.
    I would hang #3 on my wall, and I don’t say that very often. The grainy look enhances the image.
    Wonderful stuff.

  6. Absolutely wonderful work! It is tough to put your work out there for comment. I admire your courage, talent, and your use of this terrific film and developer combination. Beautiful. Keep it up!


  7. Great shots, and I’m loving the grain structure in your HP5+ developed in Rodinal. Awesome.

  8. Just some comments ..so please don’t take offence ..just ignore these comments if you like.. it seems that the whole developed film has such graininess that any individual textures in the pictures are swamped or overwhelmed by the film’s granularity.

    The smooth body texture in number 1 is indistinguishable from the texture of anything else in the picture; the supposed contrast in texture between the smooth face and the textured and patterned carpet in number 2 is also overwhelmed by the overall granularity (only the black eyes and hair looks smooth and untextured by comparison); and in number 3 the texture of the skin, cigarette paper, cigarette ash, jeans, boots(?) and floor all look equally textured because they’re – again – overwhelmed by the texture of the medium ..the film itself.

    Perhaps instead of coarse, grainy ISO 400 film, you should have used smooth, grain-free ISO 50 film, and that – with suitable fine-grain development – would have let the textures of the objects WITHIN the pictures make themselves known, instead of being swamped by the roughness of the developed image.

    The intentions are GREAT! ..but perhaps you used the wrong film to try to achieve your intentions.

    • I agree with David’s overall sentiment (which is just an opinion to be taken with ample salt).

      There’s something about HP5 and Rodinal that I don’t like for skin tones. To my eye they look gravely and blotchey. For the 3rd picture it seems to work by adding mood and texture to the denim and asphalt.

      One of the great things I love about HP5 is the way it responds to different developers. In my experience you can get a very fine grain by using Tmax or Clayton F76 developer.

      Again, this is my experience and my opinion. Your art should be your creation based on your feelings. Thanks for sharing your results.

    • On the technicality of the film processing, I agree with David’s and Scotto’s replies.
      You should give Tmax developer a try with the HP5. That is what I have and the results seems to be better in terms of grains.

      • Jason, its great that you posted that link. Just look at how horribly plastic that M9 shot looks compared to Khunyas grainy shots. A fantastic comparison that screams everything I love about analog b&w.

        • Mikael, I think the look of the shot in the link has as much to do with the 50 year old Jupiter 3 at f/1.5 as it does the M9. I wouldn’t describe it as “Horribly Plastic”, most certainly it is in stark contrast to Khunya’s image, hence the link………I like you have begun to use my M9 less in favor of the M6 and M3 because analog has become my preference over time. I’d add that were I to take this particular shot today it would probably attempt a look somewhere between the two images.

    • I think you used exactly the right film and developer. I love how the Rodinal has emphasized the grain texture in all of them. Without it they’d lose their unique character.

      • It is taste, some people hate HP5+ with anything, think it’s too grainy. I don’t mind it, but I know a lot of people would never cross HP5+ with Rodinal. I use DD-X 1:4 with my HP+ and a lot of people still don’t dig it.

    • @David: 400 ISO doesn’t have to have grain as coarse as this. I had the experience with 400Tx the other day ( http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3719354895340&set=a.1341329926202.49632.1019802137&type=1&theater ), and decided it’s not the scan (sometimes it is), it’s the development of the film; probably Fujidol in a machine.

      If developed with a bit of sense (D76 or HC110, or Microdol-X), and scanned properly, 400Tx can give lovely medium grain, bot at all like this (or in my pic).

      The first image is interesting, but would have gained by having more contrast in teh surrounding subject matter. The body shape could do with some blown out highlights for instance, takes care of the grain as well.

      • When I click your link, Michiel, I get “This content is currently unavailable”, so I can’t see it.

        I agree that ISO 400 shouldn’t normally look as coarse as this; maybe the development temperature was too high, or maybe they’re weird scans..

        400 is an “all round, general purpose” kind of film. But for showing “..texture on things that we see in most everyday life..” ..as Khunya Pan intended.. I think a finer grain film would have let the textures – of what’s IN the pictures – show up better ..especially with smooth skin textures.

        Perhaps Khunya Pan doesn’t have easy access to slow, low ISO, fine grain film: the previous post in May showed grainy HP5 and not quite so grainy Tri-X. Perhaps Khunya Pan ought to try a little Efke KB25, or Adox CHS50, or Rollei Retro 100 for fine grain.

        • It all depends of course David. If this the effect the OP aimed for, good for him.

          In a picture like this (#1; I like the idea) I would have for either the soft smooth look, emphasizing texture (Plus-X might have been sufficient, in Microdol-X probably, overexpose one stop, underdevelop), or the hard contrasty look, emphasizing shape and outlines (Tri-X in HC110, underexpose by one stop, overdevelop, agitate more for contrast.

          I don’t think the grain would have been like in the HP5+/Rodinal combo.

          Oh, lighting! Maybe the most important factor here. For skintones, try to stay away from the middle greys, as they show grain most and can have a tendency to “muddy up”, if you know what I mean.

    • First of all, I would like to thank everyone for the feedback. It means a lot.

      However, I would like to address everyone that has responded about the grain, film, and developer used. I understand that you’re all just giving constructive criticism and advice on better film to use with Rodinal, etc. The thing is though, is I have experimented with different films and developers, and for this particular “project” (if you will), a very coarse grain film used with a developer that promotes grain in film is just my artistic expression. If I had wanted a finer grain film to be used, I would of used ADOX 25 Art, etc.

      Not everyone will like these photographs, or my choice of film/developer combo. But I do feel that if I hadn’t put any info about which film and developer I used, this probably wouldn’t of started up such a debate on here. I do appreciate feedback and criticisms, but sometimes getting caught up in the technical side of things, it can go too far. If I see a great painting, it never crosses my mind to tell the artist they should of used oil paints instead of water based.

      Again, thank you all for the comments and feedback. I do greatly appreciate it. Don’t take this message as a jab to all of you that thought I should use a different film or developer. I just wanted to speak up so you could see where I was coming from, as the photographer and artist.


      • Thanks, Khunya, for replying, and explaining why you chose to use what you chose! It makes such a difference to hear what a person has really intended, compared with what might just be accidental.

        I saw that back in May you’d also used an M9 at ISO 80. Different settings for different textures.. thanks for the feedback.

  9. These are fantastic!! Thank you for sharing. Great camera, great lens, film and developer combination. And great composition on your part too of course. I love them all, but really love the second photo.

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