UK based photographer Patrick Reason shares with us some of his landscape shots and film experiments using the LCA-120 camera.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I have always had a love of film and it was the only format when I started taking pictures in the early 90s. My preferred films were Kodachrome 25, 64 and Fujichrome Velvia 50, all were great for landscapes and portraits. I also had a fondness for Ektachrome I.R which was E4 processed but widely available in the UK at that time all be it to special order, Aerochrome was relatively unheard of and did not feature in UK catalogs. I also liked using Ilford B&W films especially FP4 and XP which was a chameleon of a film and could be abused in practically any expose/aperture combination. I had a break when I got married and had children because after that digital came out and I wasn’t so sure of my photographic abilities anymore. I took a digital training course which was great but I never felt as though I was close to photography in the same way as I had been when I shot film, digital was just too clinical and with smartphone cameras and cheap compact cameras, I felt (and still feel) that photography is only expressed properly through film.
How did you get on shooting with the LC-A 120?
I have always loved the 6x6 format, especially for portraiture although Charlie Waite was an early photo hero with his Hasselblad and slow ISO films but using the 6x6 square format for landscapes. In my earlier days, medium format was too expensive for the amateur unless you went ‘Russian’. I had (and still have) a Lubitel 2 which is great but the likes of Mamiya and Hasselblad were just too expensive especially when you added the cost of the lenses. When Lomography released the LC-A 120 my ears ‘pricked up’ as it got rave reviews and meant that finally, I could access a quality medium format camera without selling the kids! The lens quite rightly gets all of the excellent reviews but the meter should not be underestimated, it is not easily fooled and has never let me down yet with exposures - even my DSLR struggles with its TTL system in certain conditions but oddly the LC-A 120 always seems to get it right notwithstanding its mechanical heart.
What did you choose to shoot?
The LC-A 120 has a wide angle lens and whilst you can shoot whatever you like with it, I prefer to shoot landscapes. I love Kodak emulsions and cannot wait for Ektachrome 100 but would be massively excited if they re-released Kodachrome, I have seen nothing close to it since it’s demise but it is not looking likely to happen anytime soon. The LomoChrome Purple, X-Pro & Redscale are popular additions to my fridge!
What is the appeal of shooting with film?
The beauty of film is that you do not know what you are going to get until you see the negative or scan. It forces you to concentrate on composition without rattling off hundreds of digital shots and the sifting through what you like. The colors and grain of film are also far more subtle and your images will have a color range a subtle color content that digital just cannot reach. Although some of my favorite films have been discontinued, there is still a great choice out there. Kodak (Portra, Ektar, and Tri-X), Fuji (Velvia 50, Provia 100 & 400h) and Ilford (Pan 50, 125 & SFX) are great but do not underestimate the great films from Lomography. The Redscale is brilliant, Lomography X-Pro does whatever you want it to do and LomoChrome Purple are just a few which will greatly enhance your portfolio. They often go under the radar because of their more famous cousins but the quality and consistency is equal and I never venture out without my LC-A 120 and a roll of X-Pro as the number of chance images I have stumbled upon are countless and I would never have got the shot if I had had to ’set up a tripod, take a reading, use a cable release etc.
What’s coming up in 2017?
I have recently visited the Isle of Mull and Iona in the Hebrides, Scotland and used a couple of rolls of Ektar to capture those remote places in the color and angle that only the Lomo LC-A 120 is capable of doing. I have shot extensively with the Lomo LC-A 120, Lubitel 2, Canon EOS 1000 & 300 along with digital. You can view my images at www.patrickreason.com where I have a whole chapter set aside to showcase film and what you miss out on if you do not consider it!