Marta Arjona Tests our Medium Format Film in Dance Photography Sessions

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Marta Arjona is a photographer and filmmaker based in Valls, Tarragona (Spain). Her passion for dance and the audio visual world has led her to start projects where she expresses her love for both disciplines, founding her own production company where she gives visibility to dance and performing arts. She is also an active member of the Lomography community, so we were particularly excited to see what she would do with some of our 120 film rolls.

© Marta Arjona - Lomography Color Negative 120 ISO 800 - Raquel Rodríguez

Hi Marta, welcome! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi Lomography Family! A pleasure having the chance of being featured here. My world has always revolved around images and movement. I have surrounded myself with dance since the age of two and have been carrying a camera around my neck since I was four. After graduating from Audio visual Communication and Journalism in 2015, I founded and directed DansPXL, an audio visual and photographic production company specializing in dance and performing arts, focusing on creating short dance films that have been awarded worldwide but also in dance photography.

When I was studying I bought a Diana F+ Mr Pink, but after some years using it, I left film photography aside. In December 2022 I was having lunch with some friends and one of them took out from her bag a Lomo Lubitel 166. In that moment, I fell in love again with film photography, I rescued my beautiful Diana and I started using film cameras again, this time using them professionally. And here I am, shooting more film photography than ever.

© Marta Arjona - LomoChrome Color ’92 120 ISO 400 - Raquel Rodríguez

Why do you love photographing dancers?

As I said before, I have always been taking photos and I have been always surrounded by dance. I remember being eight or nine years old with my Pentax point-and-shoot camera watching the older girls of my dance school performing and thinking, I would take this and this picture. And once in university and in the professional it was really easy to start collaborating with different dancers, with my dance teachers and so. When I started with dance photography again, I wanted to buy a camera that let me experiment with dance, and I was suggested by Miyagi Studio a really nice shop of vintage cameras in Madrid, to buy a Pentax K1000 that would allow me to work completely manually and shoot dance as I was already doing with a digital SLR.

Dance is ephemeral, because what is danced in a moment, it will never be danced again in the same way. And capturing it with my Pentax brought me to another dimension, because I had no control of what I had shot and it was already more magical and a great experience for the dancers too. Most of them have been interested in film photography since their experience with me, and this is awesome! Some months ago, I started buying more cameras, and the experience is getting better and better in every dance photography shoot.

© Marta Arjona - Earl Grey B&W 120 ISO 100 - Dúnia Pena Iranzo

These wonderful photos were taken with the Lomo Color Negative 800, LomoChrome Color’92, LomoChrome Purple and Earl Grey B&W. What are the features that impressed you the most?

For the Lomo Color Negative 800 I really like the results I got in the studio. I shot it at 1600 ISO and it was the first time I really obtained the results I wanted because shooting with a Yashica 635 (3.5 as maximum aperture) and high shutter speeds to capture movement makes me need a lot of light, so I can say that I finally discovered the film which I want to work with in the studio. I have shot lots of LomoChrome Purple in the lasts months and well, I simply love it because of its unexpected results. For example I shot a pic in London Bridge with it that is completely different to the result I got shooting it with a dancer during sunset. In this case, the images are completely different in the city than in an abandoned place and I think that this makes this film special and lovely.

I started using the LomoChrome Color '92 since the moment you launched it and I especially love the results it gives me in the studio, creating a very special vintage look. I have to say that I have a special love for this film because I was born in 1992 and well, I think we are connected in some way. It was my first time with Earl Grey B&W and it has made me enter the Lomography shop and buy some more rolls. I want to keep on trying things with it, also in 35 mm.

© Marta Arjona - LomoChrome Color ’92 120 ISO 400 - Dúnia Pena Iranzo

Do you have a favourite Lomography Film?

This is a really difficult question. I would say that Color Negative 800 is a great choice for obtaining professional results in the studio, the LomoChrome Color '92 is fantastic for getting a special vintage look, and LomoChrome Purple it’s always surprising you with the results you get. So depending on what I need I will be between these three.

Which camera did you use? Why did you choose a medium format camera?

I used a Yashica 635 and a Hasselblad 500 C/M, that I was using for the first time in the shoot in Madrid with La Bailarina Imperfecta. I chose a medium format camera because it allows me to get even more professional results, but also it makes it easier when it comes to being creative, making double exposures with the Yashica 635 for example. And well, medium format cameras are especially beautiful, don’t you think?

A lot of effort goes into the photos you take. How do you organize the shoots and where do you get your inspiration from?

It really depends on the dancer. In this case the three shoots were really different. With Raquel I did what I normally do with contemporary dancers (and what I love!) which is working through improvisation. In this moment, the world disappears for me, and we are only the dancer, her movement, my camera and I. The results are always magical and unexpected. In the case of La Bailarina Imperfecta we worked with ballet poses, so as we were walking through the crowded streets of Madrid I was visualizing what she could do and specially where. And with Dúnia, she is a very versatile dancer, and I had already worked with her in the studio and also in nature, so I was thinking of an abandoned place, something full of graffiti with her sexy-jazz look.

© Marta Arjona - 2021 LomoChrome Purple Pétillant 120 ISO 100–400 - Dúnia Pena Iranzo

How do you choose the locations for the shoots? Did the kind of film influence the choice of the location?

Absolutely, both the dancers and the film influence in the location. With LomoChrome Purple I wanted to know how it would work in two different urban spaces as the city and an abandoned place. Also this abandoned place was the one that I had in mind for black and white. And in the case of the Color Negative 800, I knew I wanted to shot it in the studio to know if it was going to be the perfect film for me. I also know that LomoChrome Color '92 has given me great vintage looking shots in the studio, so I took a few them but also outside, because it was the first time using it outdoors for a professional shot.

Most of the models you work with are women, is there any reason behind this?

Sadly, there are only few man that dance, and it is easier to find women dancers than male dancers. Any male dancers round there wishing for a film dance photography shoot? Here I am!

© Marta Arjona - 2021 LomoChrome Purple Pétillant 120 ISO 100–400 - Andreza Carvalho

What are your photographic goals for the new year?

First of all, get to know and shoot perfectly with my new Hasselblad 500C/M, because it is not as easy to use as it seems. Then, I am also starting to shoot in 110 with my new Pentax Auto 110 Super and I have some great dance photography shots that I am wishing to share with you! I have also applied for a photography grant that if I get, I would shoot the project on film. And finally, I am wishing to have the opportunity to make a film photography exhibition this year focused on dance of course.

Also, in one of the last shootings I did, I appear with the dancer in the image, and I'm thinking in doing something more personal, more intimate, appearing with the camera and moving also? I don’t know, but I started to dance again some months ago after years without doing it because of an injury, and I am wishing to reflect this in my work too.

Do you have any interesting projects or collaborations planned that you would like to share with us?

My aim has always been creating new audiences for dance through my work. Maybe you are reading these lines and having a look at my pictures and have never been to the theatre to see a dance show. So I hope that these images (and also what I try to do with my dance short films) move people and make them feel interested in dance. I hope to do some more film photography shoots with the three dancers featured in here, and I have just received an email regarding a collective exhibition abroad. I am also working with my team promoting our dance short films that I hope will be selected and awarded in several film festivals. And why not, having the chance of collaborating with Lomography again will be another dream come true!


We'd like to thank Marta and the models for sharing their work with us! To view more of Marta's work, check out her website and follow her on Instagram and the dancers Raquel Rodríguez , Dúnia Pena Iranzo , Andreza Carvalho.

written by iratilusarreta on 2024-02-10 #gear #lomo800 #earlgrey #lomopurple #lomo92 #dancephotography

3 Comments

  1. crismiranda
    crismiranda ·

    great article and photos!

  2. marjonablasco
    marjonablasco ·

    @crismiranda thank you so much!!!

  3. roaringtree
    roaringtree ·

    Wonderful article and photos capturing the 'magic ephemeral'!

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