Martin Henson is a highly established fine art photographer who has been working in the industry for over forty years. He prefers to document the local landscapes of his home town in monochrome and has had his work featured in numerous photography magazines and websites. He also runs regular workshops covering large format, pinhole, digital and film.
This year, Martin chanced upon the 25 year Anniversary Edition of the Lomo LC-A 120 camera and documented shooting his first rolls of film via his YouTube channel. He took the camera on a trip to the Lake District and was pleasantly surprised by the results. We were so impressed by Martin's work that we invited him to talk to us about his experiences of this camera and what it takes to create such beautiful landscape photography. You can also watch his original YouTube review.
Hi Martin, please tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in 1952 at a place called Adel Mill Farm in West Yorkshire, was brought up with all my family, Mum, Dad, Brother, Sister, Grandad, Aunts and Uncles. A wonderful time of life, from those younger years of living on the farm a greater appreciation of our countryside was learnt. I now live in a place called Otley, a small market town in Wharfedale also in West Yorkshire, I work from home in my digital darkroom and do all processing and printing from there.
My first camera was bought for me when I was 12 years old and was a Kodak 120 roll film, which I still have. It was a baker light box camera, fixed lens and leaf shutter but it took large negatives and was a bit hit and miss in quality, but it started my interest in photography, thanks Kodak.
My first early claim to fame was when I won first prize in the Leeds show and this gave me the inspiration to enter more, take more images and improve my darkroom work. I have won various competitions over the years, mainly in B&W and had pictures published in nearly every popular photo mag on the market. I first started in B&W developing and printing, slowly moving to color but I was always drawn back to monochrome as the preferred medium. For me it’s simple but effective, dramatic not garish, and for landscape can’t be beaten. I have a deep love of black and white photography using films as the medium. I own lots of film cameras and use them all, I develop my own film, then do high-res scans and output through large format inkjet printers. I prefer this way of working these days and no longer use the darkroom, although at some point that might change, time will tell.
Have you noticed a big change in film photography over the last few years and has this impacted on your own work?
Yes, big changes. Digital cameras are the norm, nearly everyone young and old carry cameras, the new medium. Never have so many images been captured and viewed in all its history. Many thought the film era was finished, the good news it’s not finished, its popularity is increasing.
New film cameras and film are still been made through companies such as Lomography, Intrepid cameras, Croma cameras to name a few and have shown that using film is fun and very rewarding, making you feel in more control of the picture taking process. I would say that using film has not impacted on my work, it’s had a positive effect and separated it from the mass of digital images taken everyday simply because of its look and feel.
How did you get on shooting with the Lomo LC-A 120? What were you most surprised about?
The Lomo LCA-120 is a unique camera, a camera that attracted me for its wide angle view. It’s a medium format camera, light, easy to use, anyone using this camera for the first time will be blown away as I was with its very accurate in built light meter and the quality of the images the wonderful 38 mm wide angle lens produces.
Tell us about these photos, what did you choose to shoot and what do these photos mean to you?
My choice of pictures are based on creating artwork and documenting time. The pictures taken around were I live are important to me maybe not as much now as in the future, they're like a time capsule of visual history that becomes more interesting as the years fly. That excites me and keeps me doing it. There is always something to document and where better to take images than your own areas you know so well. The images taken in the Lake District and anywhere I travel are based on the same thought process, however, the emphasis is more to creating art, images that give a feel for that area and it’s surrounding environment.
I try not to be to rigid with myself and can change my thought pattern to accommodate where I am and what I photograph. The LC-A 120 in a lot of ways helps me with this by being (and I don’t mean this as a derogatory statement) untechnical in use, allowing the photographer to concentrate purely on the photographic process of subject and composition.
What tips would you give to anyone wanting to try shooting with film for the first time?
The tips I would give to anyone starting in film photography is not to get bogged down too much with technicalities, don’t strive for perfection, see the beauty in imperfection, think out of the box and look beyond the obvious. But most of all experiment and enjoy taking and making pictures using the still wonderful medium of film.