Gloucestershire-based photographer Michael Sullivan loves to shoot film. Recently Michael shot with the Lomo LC-A 120 loaded with color negative and Lomography Xpro Slide Film, and the results were quite fabulous. Meet the man behind the camera here.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography.
I’m Michael, I grew up in South Wales and now live in the Cotswolds, England with my wife, Rachel. We both work in the design industry and met while studying in Swansea back in 2003. We often explored the nearby Gower Peninsula, where I would snap away at the sea views, cliffs, and caves on every visit with a very basic digital camera. It didn’t have an LCD display and could only store around 30 images, so in a way it was like a traditional point and shoot film camera. It was exciting to wait for the images to slowly upload onto a PC, and there would be some nice surprises, but the image quality was pretty poor.
Rachel bought me a Lomo Fisheye for my birthday in 2006, and this was probably when I started having some fun with film. Before my next birthday came, I bought myself a Lubitel 166B and a Zenit E. I instantly fell in love with the lenses on these, the quality, and the beautiful focusing. I think the way I photographed and my general outlook on photography changed quite a lot from using these cameras.
How was it shooting with the Lomo LC-A 120?
I’ve always preferred shooting in square format (before Instagram came into our lives!), so the LC-A 120 felt familiar. I found it simple to use, and I liked the strong build of the camera—it’s built like a tank but isn’t too weighty. Also, the sliding lens cover is pretty clever. I was happy to find that I could take multiple exposures on the LC-A using the MX function, although I didn’t shoot as many doubles as I should have! They came out more interesting than I was expecting. The sharpness of the lens is impressive, too, and I was surprised [at] how well it handled shots in low light with both 400 and 200 ISO film.
What do you love about film photography?
I love the unpredictable qualities of film along with the grain, tones, and colors. I’ll often take the same shot with a film and digital camera, but the digital version will usually be lacking something. Film photographs seem to tell more of a story and somehow be more meaningful to me. I think that film [not only] can capture but also create an atmosphere.
What’s in store for you in the next 12 months?
I’m looking forward to a bit of spontaneous travel in the summer months. I have Scotland, Norway, and Iceland in mind. I’d love to photograph the varied landscapes of these countries on film. I’m also hoping to shoot a few festivals again this year such as Wilderness in Oxford and Festival Number 6 in Portmeirion, North Wales. I love photographing the colorful costumes people parade in, and trying to capture the atmosphere at different times of day and settings.