A Holga CFN kickstarted UK-based lomographer James Hayman's journey to shooting on film. Now, he currently handles large format photographs for an independent photo lab. In this interview, our featured community newcomer adds an analogue touch to a famous movie quote and discusses his passion for the medium.
Name: James Hayman
Location: Lewes, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Please tell us something about yourself and what you do.
I live in the lovely countryside between the South Downs in East Sussex near the historic market town of Lewes. My background is graphic design, but I have found myself working for an independent photo lab in Brighton called Colourstream, managing the large format side of things.
I was given a Holga CFN for my birthday that opened up a whole new world of capturing and creativity. I've been hooked ever since. Now whenever I go out or on holiday I'm laden with a ton weight of film and cameras (six at the moment).
How did you find the Community and who/what convinced you to join?
I've been buying my cameras (Sprocket Rocket, Supersampler and recently a Horizon Perfekt) and film from Lomography for a few years now and I joined as I just thought that it would be fun to show the results with like-minded analog enthusiasts.
As you have read the 10 Golden Rules of Lomography, what rule do you apply in your everyday life?
It's the first rule (Take your camera everywhere you go) and I consider the most important as I've always got a camera of some sort on me ready to capture that special, unsuspected, little moment. Sometime ago I challenged myself to take a photo a day for a year, it was quite amazing as there's always something to capture. I was using digital for that project, so I might try and do it again but with a film camera next time.
In this digital age, why still film?
If the camera is a body, film is its soul.
I went to a photo exhibition of portraits a while back and there was one of President Lincoln made from an original negative. It fascinated
me that I was about two steps away from being in the presence of the great man himself - that negative was there in front of him. Digital looses that physical magic connection.
Also I'm sure it's the same for a lot of people with the anticipation of getting a film back and seeing what's been captured in the unique way that only the analog process can offer. You may have a few disappointments, a couple of average ones, but there's always a few gems among them, that's the one-off joy of it.
Your favorite analog camera as of the moment? Why?
If my heart were made of plastic it would be in the shape of a Holga. It was my first love and think it always will be. That big block of plastic is unpredictable and puts a dreamy otherworldly effect on any film.
My 1950s Kodak Duaflex II runs close though. It got a very satisfying loud "clunk" when you press the shutter and it takes a little more devotion as it should take 620 film so I have to sand the 120 spools down to the right size. It suffered a little accident when I went tobogganing down steep hills surround by trees in Finland and I dented the back of it, but the plus side is it now does light leaks galore.
What is the Lomography camera you’d want to have someday?
I like cameras that give photos a completely different prospective to the subject you're taking. But rather than a camera it'll have to be the Petzval 58 Bokeh Control Art Lens. The effects you can get out of that beauty is a whole new kaleidoscope of wonderment.
Any song, book, or movie you live by?
Any of the Arcade Fire albums are a good starting point. "Ramblin' Man" by Lemon Jelly is an ambition of mine to visit all 67 places that they list, I think I've only managed to cross one place off so far.
For a film, it'll be Forrest Gump. Be good, do right and you may influence popular culture, but I'd say: "Life is like a cross-process film, you truly never know what you're gonna get."
Share your current favorite Lomograph, could be yours or a friend’s. Why?
I love the tones that the redscale film has given this picture. With the subtle turquoise sun complimenting the orange sky and the dark red silhouette of the old ruin of the tin mine. It looks as if it's either a golden memory of a forgotten past or a unsettling scene from The Wicker Man.
Any Community member you look up to? If so, why him or her?
That's a tricky question as there are too many talented people here to pick, it's staggering. You get insights from the various uniqueness of each individual and the quirks of a foreign country, which in turn drives me to try new techniques and want to seek out those places and cultures.
Lomographers that use a splitzer is a source of inspiration as I'd like to explore that method more, but anyone who shoots film is someone I'll always tip my hat off to.
What are you looking forward to in our Community?
The continued use of film, with all the experimentation and devotion that's required to keep this wonderful media alive. It's a great source when I want to shoot some film and not sure what, a browse though fellow photographers photos gets the ideas flowing, even if it's just the type of film that they've used. Your competition briefs are another useful way to think laterally and challenge yourself to try something different to communicate a subject.
A quick community shout out: If anyone has a few tips how to shoot with an Infrared B/W 120 film that I have recently acquired to be shot on a Holga camera, I would be grateful.
Thank you James for sharing your thoughts with us! Welcome to the Lomography Community and we're looking forward to seeing more of your work!