Analogue photography lover Matthieu Quatravaux is a French artist who mainly takes portraits. Today, he shares his medium format pictures taken with our Lomography Color Negative 400 and 800 films. Matthieu particularly enjoys the aesthetics of our color negative films, saying, "The Lomo 400 and 800 gives pictures with good saturation and a real 'analogue look', I don't have the intrigue to take digital photos when shooting with them."
Read his interview to know more about his work and discover some of the photographer's tips to push our films.
Hello Matthieu, could you please introduce yourself to our readers? Since when have you been practicing analogue photography?
Hello, I am Matthieu Quatravaux, I am 21 years old and I come from Bordeaux in France. I started photography about 10 years ago but it's only 5 years ago that I started to get interested in analogue photography. I first started to use a Semflex camera inherited from my grandmother using the Sunny 16 rule. Then, I bought a small Minolta 7s with a broken light-meter so I kept on working with Sunny 16. Back in the days, I was mostly taking street and landscape photos and just doing a few portrait shoots. It's about one year after that I started to practice portrait photography when I discovered YouTube channels, like Negative Feedback by George Muncey. He interviewed Rosie Matheson and I discovered the 67 Mamiya range as she uses the Mamiya RZ67 camera. Then, in a small photography shop in Russia, I found by luck an old Mamiya RB67 with a 90 mm lens for a really good price so I jumped on the occasion. I told to myself "Oh, awesome, I will have almost the same camera as Rosie Matheson". And it's when I started to seriously take portraits. So it's been 4 to 5 years since I use films.
What is Lomography for you?
Lomography is an important player in the world of analogue photography because the brand continues to bring new tools on the market to keep this practice alive. I'm talking about products like the Digitaliza (which I use with my V600 to scan my negatives) or simply all the films available. Lomography is for me a way to save money without neglecting quality.
You take a lot of pictures with the Lomography Color Negative en 400 ISO et 800 ISO films. Why do you like these films?
For quite a long time I used Kodak Portra or Fujifilm Pro 400H before discovering Lomo 400 and 800 films. I was surprised by the rather low price and I suspected the films to be of rather low quality but I still gave it a try and I did not regret it. For quite a long time I compared my results with the Portra and the Lomo and I was able to determine that: 1.) the Lomography film is more interesting regarding the price but also that 2.) I preferred the way it looks. The Lomo 400 and 800 gives pictures with good saturation and a real 'analogue look', I don't have the intrigue to take digital photos when shooting with them.
I also tested the performances and I loved everything I tried, the films have a very good dynamic range and I never reached their limits. I can overexpose my films of one stop or even two, without losing quality in the colors but improving the details in the shadows. That's why I almost always overexpose my Lomography films of about two-thirds of stop. In general, these films match my expectations and are always able to handle all of my uses. The only downside, his the film paper which is unfortunately quite short. You have to get used to loading the camera quickly with a firmly tighten film to avoid missing the first image. Sometimes the writings on the back of the paper can appear on some images so you have to be careful to always load and remove these films in low light situations and to keep your rolls away from the light until you process them to avoid this problem.
You often push our films, can you tell us more about this choice?
Indeed, I often push the films of one stop or two stops. I only started to do so about one year ago because I did not really know about this method before. It was at first by necessity, for example, I had a 400 ISO film loaded but the light conditions did not allow me to shoot quickly enough. So, I used a higher value for the exposure after asking the lab to push the film to have a good image no matter the lack of light. Then, when I discovered that the results were good when I pushed my films, I started to push films even in situations when it was not necessary, only because I loved the additional grain I got on my negatives.
Now, I mainly push the Lomo 800 of one stop, using them at 1000 ISO (always to keep the shadows) for my studio photoshoots in continuous light or when I'm looking for a more intense texture of the grain. The same scenario happens with the other ISO films -- I push the Lomo 400 of two stops, exposing at 1000 ISO to slightly modify the colors and get an intense contrast.
The photos we are showing in this article were taken with Hasselblad 503CX and Mamiya RB67 cameras. Why did you choose the medium format?
The choice of medium format mainly came from the photographers who inspire me in portrait photography. Like I mentioned before, Rosie Matheson's photos pushed me to try this format. And I love the 6/7 aspect which is more harmonious than the standard 24/36. After some time with the Mamiya, from which I love the amazing quality of its lenses, the sharpness, and the render of colors, I started to get tired of carrying 3 to 4 kg of photo material and I started to realize that my compositions looked good in square format. So I looked for options and I was at first interested in a Bronica S2A, then I tried a Hasselblad in a shop, and I was sure, I needed a Hasselblad! Now, I mostly use my Hasselblad 503CX with an 80 mm or 50 mm lens. It's a real pleasure because it's compact and light. It also offers two more images for each 120 roll. Presently my choice is to keep on working in medium format because I'm used to it and because I love the level of details and depth you get in this format.
What do portraits bring to you?
I mostly like fashion photography, I get more fun with it. I love to broadcast in the best way possible the looks of the people I take pictures of. As I'm quite introverted, it allows me to meet new people while going out of my comfort zone. I really love talking with my models and to create images that represent them as much as me.
Do you have some future projects you would like to talk about?
I tried to get into the fashion world by shooting for agencies, it's my main goal for this year regarding my professional life. I'm also working on a personal project about the feeling to be always obliged to smile in society. But I won't say more as it will be a surprise... I'm also thinking about some fashion series but that requires a lot of logistics so I will take these pictures when I will be able to, luckily this year.
Thanks to Matthieu for taking the time to answer our questions and to share his images with us. You can see more of Matthieu's photos on his Instagram.
Our Lomography Color Negative 120 films can be found our the Online Shop.