I Shot a Roll of Portra 800 by Or Sachs

Dec 9, 2019
3 min read

My name is Or Sachs, I am a 33 year old teacher who lives in Israel. For years now I have been drawn to the fringes of different scenes. I have found myself coming back to the punk and metal music scene of my youth. I feel that that scene holds a big amount of energy within it and I want to capture that energy through my photography.


20 years ago as a teenager, I too was part of that scene. Back in high school I was the meanest looking dude, personifying the music I listened to and the feelings I had on the inside through how I presented myself to the world on the outside. I loved that.

So it seemd the logical thing to do was to combine the two, my deep love of metal and punk and my current passion of photography. 

I went online and started connecting to and talking with teens and youth from that scene and asking if they would like to be professionally photographed by me. I quickly found myself coming back to a place in myself that has been a long time forgotten. I started meeting new people, going to concerts, visiting squats,  abandoned houses,  artistic flats, repurposed industrial lofts,  as well as shooting pictures on the streets. 

I found myself becoming more and more a part of that scene, trying to capture in still portrait photography that raw energy of these people who embody it.

My day job is teaching in a High School, so talking to young people has been a skill I have been working on with my own students for the past 10 years. Every meeting with a new photgraphy subject would start with a short interview. I have learned that the right words, tools and making a very big effort in creating an intimate and safe environment for my subjects to be photographed by an older stranger with a big camera.

I chose film for this project, film slows me down. Instead of 30 shots, I take 10. Sometimes only 5. I work with a Bronica GS1 and two lenses – 100mm F3.5 and the 65mm F4, a good tripod and an electrical trigger.

As for the film choice, I like to work in dark scenes and love how Portra 800 can give me that possibility with bright and contrasty colours. The grain on that film is noticeable and love the film look it gives it. Colours are strong and work very well with my subjects.


At first I was afraid of the grain size, but after seeing it online I thought this might work well for me. The warm colours, the bright greens. This film is perfect for portrait work and its speed helps work hand held with my Bronica.

I always work the scene. I start by looking  for great colors and most importantly –  the light. Once I find that I get my subject feeling comfortable and looking for the right composition. Now comes the hard part, capturing the right face and expression. Most of my time behind the camera is focused on getting the right look from the subject. It’s a thing I took from Richard Avadon. I am currently in the middle of this ongoing project and am working and meeting more and more youth from the punk and metal scene to capture their stories and their energy through my lens. 

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