Swedish photographer Johanna L Rönn, was the winner of the public prize of the 2020 edition of the One Roll competition organised by Poltred, our dealer in Lyon, France. The concept of this competition? Submit a contact sheet and six prints from a single black and white film. As a partner of the project, Lomography was pleased to offer films from the Lomography Kino B&W range to Johanna. She chose our low ISO films Fantôme Kino 8 ISO and Babylon Kino 13 ISO to create her images. For Johanna, photography is like meditation and we were curious to know more about her practice.
Hello Johanna, welcome to the Lomography Magazine! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am a self-taught photographer from Sweden and photography for me simply makes my life feel richer! I take photos almost every day and I seldom plan my photo shoots much in advance. How I feel and what I end up seeing is what I photograph. It is a moment to feel a complete presence and it is the closest I come to meditation. Photography offers me a moment to reset my mind and to be alone with my thoughts.
What's your story with photography?
I have been painting, drawing and writing since I was a child. For a long time that was my main medium and even if I very much enjoy it I never felt that I had truly found the perfect match for expressing what I aimed for and wanted to express. Then in 2012 I borrowed a digital camera from a friend. He was the one who suggested to me that I should borrow it, he said he thought I would enjoy it, he was so right! I am forever grateful for his generosity and kind concern. I really felt as if I had found the right tool for me and I then did digital photography for six years.
Then one day, by accident, searching for other things, I found my late father-in-laws old Nikon EL2 from 1972 in our storage. In the original box, everything in mint condition. I just put in a new battery and shot a roll of black and white film. I brought the film down to my local photo club and got some help with developing it. From that moment I opened and unrolled the film and saw the negatives I was completely hooked on analogue photography!
If you had to describe your universe and your photos in five words, what would they be?
Intimate, calm, sincere, dreamy and gentle.
What do you like about film photography and the experimentation it offers?
What I love about analogue photography is the numerous possibilities in which you can be creative! From choosing your camera, the lens you use, the film you pick, how you expose, how you develop and how you print on paper, there are just so many steps where you can be creative and show your own creative language! I love experimenting in the darkroom and it is a true and childish joy when you can close yourself in that room and just play! Hours magically disappear! It is a true handcraft and it feels like a lifelong lesson to master and you can always learn more!
You're the winner of the photo contest called "One Roll" organised by our partner Poltred in France. Can you tell us about this experience and your exhibition which can currently be seen in Lyon?
I get very nervous competing with my photography. I seldom do it. It feels very intimidating to put your work under the judgement of others. My photography is a big part of who I am and I feel like I put my heart out there for someone to criticize, a scary feeling! But, when I found out about "One roll" I felt that I absolutely loved the idea! To compete with an entire roll and also with prints made in the darkroom. It felt perfect for me! I used the Nikon EL2 and I was so incredibly grateful and happy when I found out I won! It truly meant so much to me. Partly because it was analogue, that felt very important to me since I love the handcraft and process. To me it is somehow more than photography. When I shoot analogue I really need to slow down. To reflect and to take my time. In that sense analogue photography helps me to view things, life, in a more relaxed way. It is more than just photography!
My exhibition at Poltred has been a dream of mine for a long time! A solo exhibition in a gallery is such a dream experience and I am very happy (happy is really an understatement!) that I got this opportunity! Poltred is such an amazing place and I love how they curated my exhibition "The moments in Between". The exhibition consists of 33 analogue photos and the title comes from what photography is to me. It is the moments in between all my obligations and musts, it is the moments I feel most close to myself and what I feel. It is the moments when ordinary life stops for a brief second and where true meetings are captured. With the exhibition I hope that the viewer feels a genuine moment of calmness and intimacy and that they feel somehow welcome to share those moments with me.
What did you think of our Babylon Kino and Fantôme Kino films? Do you enjoy shooting with those unusual low ISO films?
I really enjoy trying out new films and I think it is a great way to learn more and to challenge yourself! I am usually not so good with remembering my tripod but with such low ISO I did use my tripod. I really like the fine grain and the range of greys for my portrait work with Fantôme. Also I had to re-think a little bit for what time of the day I was shooting. I usually use afternoon or evening light but with these films it was nice to be able to shoot in brighter light and more during day time! I developed both films in HC-110 and I am really happy with the contrast and the blacks in the photos!
Dip your toe into the world of low ISO with the Fantôme Kino and Babylon Kino boast brilliant high contrast and a nuanced tonal spectrum respectively. Available on our Online Shop.