Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Feature Photographer: John Bridges

I'd like to introduce you all to John Bridges.  John is a fine art photographer who creates beautiful dream like photos using his beloved Holga.  I'm sure you will agree that his work is beautiful.  Read on to find out a bit more about John and his work.
How did you get introduced to your first Holga and how long have you been shooting?

I don't remember how it came into my life, but I had a Holga gathering dust on a shelf for years before I started to work with it. It seemed I was banging my head against a wall trying to find my look and it was right in front of me the whole time. But that's kind of the way I work, I have to suffer a bit and go through an exploration process before I finally figure out what it is I am looking for in my work. In the end I would say I have been shooting the Holga with consistency for three years.



What is it about the Holga that draws you to it? Why do you shoot with it?

I am in love with the idea of trying to create something beautiful and magical out of something so basic and rudimentary. With the world being full of modern technology and cameras that can do everything for you I feel that I am more connected to my process and my art with my little duct taped plastic camera. It’s ProTools and Photoshop vs. Marshall Amps and simple lenses.



Please tell me a bit about your series/projects in which you use a Holga 

For both of my recent projects, "Shadows on the Road" and "Reverie", I wanted to strip my work down to the essentials. Light, shadows, and subject matter. My life and the world around me seemed so cluttered and breakneck that I wanted to create a world that I was willing to step into. The Holga with its vignetting, selective focus, and manual advance seemed to be the perfect tool to help create the images. It also helped me slow down and really think about what I wanted to create.



What has been your biggest challenge in working with a Holga, and do you have any advice on how to deal with it?

I teach a darkroom class and whenever someone gets a Holga and processes their first roll they are usually disappointed with the results. In my opinion too much emphasis is placed on just shooting it and seeing what happens. Not to kill the creative process, but knowing and understanding the limitations of a Holga (fixed aperture, fixed shutter) will actually expand its uses and make you a better photographer.

Personally, things that I have to remind myself of daily or lessons I have learned the hard way:
  • Is it on bulb or normal?
  • I will not remember what speed of film I loaded a week ago, write it on the back.
  • If the cable release does not make a hard click, you did not make an exposure.
  • Carry ND filters and sky enhancing filters at all times.
  • A handheld meter is your best friend.
  • But be as light as possible.

What other cameras do you have in your arsenal?

I can give you the exact sequence of my camera progression. Pentax K1000, Leica R8, Hassellblad 500C, and a bunch of Holga 120N's. I go back and forth with the Hassey and my Holga but for the past year I seem to only carry the Holgas. Scattered throughout my office are also homemade pinholes, Hassellblad Flexbody, Crown Graphic 4x5, Holga 120Pc, and a Holga 120PWC.



Favorite photo film(s)?

Illford Delta. I keep the whole ISO range in stock and will load a couple of cameras with neighboring film speeds that I think will best match the light for that outing or that best suits my end purpose.



What inspires you?

Family, music, books, the past, the future, Sarah Moon, and remembering that this my camera and I control how I view the world.

John's Links:





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