“For me, photography is a way to express myself. When I photograph I feel a sense of release ~ it’s almost like therapy. My goal is to use my imagination to create a new perspective of reality, something elusive and evocative,” says Jennifer Henriksen. Now, let’s take a slight heave of breath while we delve into her dreamy and lovely Holga-filled world.
Tell us something about yourself.
Hi, I’m Jen! I’m a photographer who uses mainly film based and toy cameras in my work. I live in London, Ontario Canada and am 29 years old. I’m originally from British Columbia.
How/When did you begin taking pictures? What was your first camera?
I was instantly taken by the look of Holga photographs when I stumbled across some online through a friend of a friend posting some pictures. I investigated it and soon after, ordered one of my own. This was about 6 years ago. I loved the unique look I got from my Holga and how roll after roll, I never knew what to expect! A year or so later I started experimenting more and developing my style. Also I shot my first roll of self portraits then and was hooked.
Describe your style in photography. What are your usual subjects and themes?
Using a Holga has given me a whole new outlook on photography and my creative mind in general. I love experimenting and pushing the boundaries of the traditional and technical aspects of photography. For about 4 years now I have slowly been working on a self portrait series, which I plan on continuing for as long as I will let myself. I love the outlet it provides for self expression and it is the best way I’ve found for conveying my feelings in a creative way.
I also love getting outdoors and shooting in nature. Landscapes with black and white film can be quite powerful if the conditions are right. I also shoot plants/trees and the occassional close up (usually in color).
The third area I love to shoot is in large cities, urban/street photography. I love walking through and exploring downtown cores and all of the sights that come along with big cities. I do not get to do this as often as I’d like, but its definitely one area I want to further develop with my work.
Amongst your numerous film photographs, which is your favourite?
This is a tough one, but I think I would probably have to choose this self portrait (see below). It was the first time in this body of work where I really felt that I was able to capture my emotions, and it really had a powerful effect on me both personally, and in my photography as well.
What would be the soundtrack/s for your series of photographs.
A lot of my self portraits were shot with the Neverending White Lights’ album Act 1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies in the back of my mind. Its a very dark and emotive album. http://www.neverendingwhitelights.com/
We all have our idols, which photographers do you look up to?
Susan Burnstine, Michelle Bates, Isa Leshko, Angela Bacon-Kidwell, and Russell Joslin. I could go on and on – there are so many great film and toy camera photographers out there! I love doing interviews (similar to this one) with photographers who I admire – these are posted on my blog every few weeks.
If you could take anyone’s portrait using film, can be living or dead, who (would it be), which (camera would you use), and why?
This is hard! I’m going to have to say my mom… she is alive but refuses to let me photograph her! I’m still working on trying to convince her. If I ever get the chance I will be using my Holga of course! It would mean alot to me to make some memories with her in this way.
Analogue vs. Digital. What makes analogue/film photography more special than digital?
For me, its the whole process. It takes care and patience to work with and develop the results. It’s something tangible that you can hold in your hands and you can almost feel the texture of the film and the personality shine through the photograph. It’s about taking time to appreciate the little things, something that in our day and age, most people don’t do anymore due to the fast pace and technological society we live in. For me personally, shooting film fits with my creative vision and I always feel inspired when I am shooting with it.
A lot of people are into photography today, what would you say to them to inspire them more?
Do what you love and what feels right. Never regret mistakes, be thankful for the opportunity to learn from them.
Do you have any ongoing/future projects?
My self portrait project is an ongoing one – I’m not sure what the future holds but do have a few ideas brewing.
site – http://holgajen.com
email – firstname.lastname@example.org