Would you mind introducing yourself? Hi! I’m Hannah, I’m 24 and I’m currently studying law. I also enjoy photography, theatre and a spot of exploring. I’m from the UK, currently living in Cambridge to study. I’ve been lucky enough to live in a few other very beautiful places such as Edinburgh and York as well.
Hannah’s Instagram - @hgforsyth
How would you describe your style of photography? My style is probably a little hard to describe as it’s still developing (I’m sure many photographers would say the same) but I tend to aim for a softer, more painterly look with my pictures. This is partly because I use almost exclusively film cameras, which lend themselves to a slightly more artistic and gentle look than digital cameras - the lack of pixel-precise clarity works in their favour on this.
When did you first fall in love with taking photos? Not very long ago! I used my smartphone for a while simply because it was the only camera that I had, then in early 2018 my mother lent me her old Fujica X-100 and I fell in love with manual film photography. The fairly basic nature of analogue cameras means that you have to be very precise and intentional about what you capture, which means slowing down and concentrating on what you’re photographing in terms of composition and subject. For me, this has made me a significantly better photographer. Photographs taken on film aren’t inherently better than digital ones, but I find that I prefer the way that film recreates colours and light.
Do you have a favourite photography related memory, whether it be in front or behind the camera? I really enjoy taking photos of adventures and also of friends (it’s especially nice when they like the photos) but my favourite is definitely in March 2018. Edinburgh was basically at a standstill with terrible winter weather and I had a business trip cancelled, so I was a bit miserable moping around the flat. But the next day, there was a stunning mix of snow and sunshine. I decided that since I was stuck there, I should take advantage of being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So I grabbed my camera and a roll of cheap film and ran outside to the Meadows. The photos from that day are still some of my favourites.
Who/What inspires your photography? I’m always amazed by the creativity displayed on places like Instagram, but I have also enjoyed taking ideas and inspiration from the art world as well - I studied the Impressionists and Romantics while at school and the way that they use light, colour and tone to convey atmosphere is amazing.
What kind of camera do you use? I started on a Fujica X-100 but have since changed to a Pentax ME Super - I’m in love with old Pentax prime lenses. I also use an Olympus Trip 35 when I don’t want to take anything too fiddly with me. I’m on a mission to get everyone using film so if you want to borrow one, you only have to ask...
What's your editing process like? The beauty of film is that quite a lot of the processing is done by the time you receive the developed negatives - decisions about saturation and white balance have largely been set for you by the film. However, I sometimes carry out some cosmetic tweaks such as straightening, adjusting levels and occasional cropping in the Snapseed app. Nothing too extensive - it’s not really my favourite part of the process.
Are there any tips you would like to give to anyone out there who would love to create similar style photos to yours? Take a camera and start with your local area - you’d be amazed at what you can find within the streets around your house. Otherwise, don’t be scared of cheap consumer films and remember that really good light can make a bland subject amazing (and vice versa!). Above all, embrace the imperfection of film - that’s what makes those images unique to you and no one else.
Who are some of your favourite photographers? Definitely @ambermaxbwellboydell - she’s a good friend and a stunning photographer with a delightful style. For landscapes, @thomholmes and @malte.salge both produce amazing work and I also really like Alex Burke’s large format style. I’m considering trying both pinhole and instant photography, having been inspired by analogue adventurers such as @littlevintagephotography and @LouWest. Beyond that, Hippomag has given me a lot of inspiration!
What would be your number one dream destination for a photography adventure? Very hard to say for sure but I think that the Alps would certainly be up there - the sheer variety of scenery and the amazing views in all seasons. There are plenty of places on the list though...
Which time of year is your favourite for taking photographs? I love them all, but it’s probably early autumn when you begin to get the misty mornings and those rare sunny days when the colours are sharp and rich.
The coolest place you've ever been? I’ve had some fantastic times across the Lake District and the Highlands, and I think wild camping in Loch Lomond was very special. (Don’t worry, we had a permit! Camp safely, kids).
Do you have any upcoming photography trips/sessions that you would like to share? I’m currently studying law so I don’t get a huge amount of time out to travel, but I am looking forward to exploring a bit more of the UK (especially the North of England) so keep an eye out for that...
Anything extra you would like to share? Film photography is neither as hard or expensive as people think it is. You can get a decent working camera for about £20 (my Olympus Trip cost £25) and film can cost as little as £2.50 per roll. Compared to £600 and up for a digital camera, that’s not a lot! It will teach you so many of the fundamental skills of photography, and there has never been a better time to try it out than now.
Hannah’s Instagram - @hgforsyth