John Dewhirst uses photography as a way to relax and enjoys the creative opportunities that film photography can bring. He recently discovered the Lomo LC-A 120 which he's used to take photos of places close to his Bradford home. He talked to us about benefits of shooting with this compact automat medium format camera.
Hello John, please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is John and I live in Bradford, Yorkshire. I am a qualified accountant and self-employed, specialising in business restructuring and turnaround. Photography is a wonderful way to relax and I combine it with other hobbies and interests that invariably provide me with subject matter. My photographic interests are pretty varied as my Twitter account will testify with typical photos featuring football, gigs, steam trains, industrial archaeology and buildings in my home city of Bradford.
What made you start shooting with film?
Around ten years ago I rediscovered my old vinyl albums that had been stored and left untouched at my late mother's house for fifteen years. Going back to the late 80s I had enthusiastically switched to buying CDs and yet when I started playing my old albums once again came the realisation that they actually still sounded pretty good. Arguably I had a similar epiphany with regards analogue film photography when I rediscovered an old camera.
The analogue difference is sensory. Just as vinyl offers a mellow sound, film provides a distinctive depth to a photograph that even Lightroom presets cannot match. The experience and output of analogue photography is also refreshing when compared to digital and forces concentration on the basics of composition and light.
What do you enjoy about shooting with the Lomo LC-A 120 camera?
Film offers unique creative opportunities and my introduction to Lomography came with experimentation using specialist films such as Redscale, LomoChrome Metropolis or LomoChrome Turquoise. My purchase of the Diana, Sprocket Rocket and LomoApparat cameras was with experimentation in mind but what I enjoy about the LC-A 120 camera is that it offers so much more. I'd already had a taste of the LC-A 120 look from my purchase of the Lomo LC-A Minitar-1 Art lens which I had used with a Leica MP and in particular for concert photography. I was sufficiently impressed to buy an LC-A 120 itself.
Living in Yorkshire with the heavy skies and damp weather I enjoy photographing moody skies and in fact I think that this is a real strength of the LC-A 120. In good light you can also get a surprising degree of sharpness with the camera. I only bought the camera in November last year but I am looking forward to getting some vintage looking images when the sunny days eventually arrive. My other camera is a Leica but I genuinely believe that the LC-A 120 is a wonderful complement and provides a refreshing change from the contemporary fixation on pixel count.
Tell us about these photos. What did you choose to shoot and why?
I have found the LC-A 120 to be perfect at capturing moody skies such as the series I have taken of the Leeds-Liverpool canal in Shipley or those of Top Withens on the bleak Yorkshire moorland made famous by Emily Brontë. The images have an ageless character about them that you will never get from digital. The LC-A 120 also offers a surprising degree of clarity in an image and in the right light situations you can get very sharp images, rendered in a vintage aesthetic as those of a local graveyard demonstrate. The size and weight of the LC-A 120 makes it an ideal travel camera for snapshots with a difference.
To see more of John's photos check out his Twitter account @jpdewhirst