I am Jennifer Henriksen and this is why I shoot film
Today we’re sitting down with the one and only Jennifer Henriksen, or as you may better know her, mastermind and overlord of Holga Week, HolgaJen.
Here you go, Jen. The floor is yours:
Hi Jen, what’s this picture, then?
This is from my very first roll out of my very first Holga. I had no idea what I was doing, but I still managed to get some nice unique shots. I loved this one for its abstract feel. It is a shot off of a balcony of city lights.
Ok, so who are you? (the short version, please)
I’m quite tall actually, but…oh that’s not what you meant is it?
Well, my name is Jen and I’ve been addicted to the Holga for about 10 years now. I entered the online world as “HolgaJen” on Flickr in 2005 in hopes of finding like-minded people to share my obsession with. It’s kind of gotten a little out of hand, really.
When did you start shooting film?
I started shooting film seriously, mostly with my Holga in 2005. Film was all I knew through growing up, so it wasn’t really a stretch. I loved using disposable film cameras for my adventures prior to getting my Holga. Some of my earliest Holga shots lit the “film fire” in me.
What about now? Why do you shoot film and what drives you to keep shooting?
Film photos from my Holga were what made me fall in love with photography. They are magical really, and something that just cannot be replicated with a digital camera.
I love the whole process of choosing film, loading it, shooting it …… waiting…… and then finally seeing the results. I think the shooting teaches you to think about what you want visually and how you want to attain it, the waiting teaches patience and appreciation for the medium, and the final product helps you to learn from your previous efforts (or to show off if you get something really awesome).
The film community is definitely an inspiring place – I love to see what others are doing, and I love sharing my work with others. The results themselves always propel me to keep shooting, whether it’s from being so happy with the results that I want more, or learning from mistakes and wanting to improve.
I also love the unpredictability factor – you really never know what you’re going to get especially when you are using a Holga or some other toy camera – those gems that just knock you off your feet are priceless.
Any favourite subject matter?
I love the dark, moody and dreamy. I guess I am sort of known for my Holga self-portraits; I love the outlet for self-expression in those, and most of my other stuff tends towards landscape and nature. I believe that connecting with nature, and the beauty found therein can really show us a lot about ourselves.
You can never use film again. What’s your last roll?
Ilford HP5+ – subject matter would be myself, my loved ones, and a place that feels like home to me.
You have 2 minutes to prepare for an assignment. One camera, one lens, two films and no idea of the subject matter. What to you take with you and why?
I don’t really do assignments, but if I were going somewhere short notice, I will always grab my Holga 120 (one with flash and bulb mode) and Ilford HP5+ and maybe a Kodak Portra 400.
It’s always nice to have a black and white and a colour option, although I do prefer black and white.
You have an unlimited supply of film to shoot in one location. Where do you go?
I would probably head to the Rocky Mountains (Canadian version) in the summer. I want to spend a few weeks there shooting sometime soon! I grew up close to these mountains, and they never cease to amaze me. I can only imagine the hidden gems that could be found on an extended trip. I’d be ok with any vast wilderness untouched by humans, really.
What do you think is people’s greatest misconception about film photography and how would you set it straight?
Probably that it’s outdated and not necessary – that digital is always better. I don’t feel like I need to set anybody straight though. The images speak for themselves when you look at the work of a photographer who really knows what they are doing with film. If it’s not your cup of tea then that’s ok – more film for me! 😉
In your opinion, what’s the future of film photography?
I don’t believe it will ever die out, but we need to keep shooting, keep collaborating and supporting each other in the film community. Websites like this one that you’ve created are amazing and we can all do our part to support film and spread the love!
There we have it, another week and another viewpoint on film. Looking through the images featured here, as well as those on Jen’s Flickr page, website and blog, it’s easy to see why she’s utterly addicted to the Holga – especially the Holga / black and white combination.
Jen has a rather unique self portrait style and (to us here at EMULSIVE HQ), it’s not a style we feel could be so easily reproduced if she were using, say a “professional” 120 camera.
It seems to us that Jen and her Holga(s) go hand-in-hand; long may their partnership continue.
Being slap bang in the middle of Holga Week 2015, we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you more about it, so please jump to our profile of this week’s events, or better yet, go straight to the source at www.holgaweek.com!
We’ll be back again next week with our final interview of July. Until then, you’ll have to deal with some insanity in the form of a new Holga Week themed photographer’s day pack article, coming tomorrow.
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