Black & White Film Photography of Michael Hartsock




On Finding Inspiration

Even though I don’t consider myself of a melancholic temperament, melancholy is what compels my response. I like to think of it as a tranquil loneliness or spiritual longing. At times it may even be a profound sadness but it is never a debilitating melancholy of depression or despair. I search for melancholy in poetry and music, in silence and solitude, in rainy days and the long shadows of evening. The quality of melancholy is what I would like to bring to my work regardless of the subject matter.


Process Information

My photography is realized with black & white film personally processed and printed in a traditional "wet" darkroom without digital manipulation.  I experiment with various techniques including hand held and tripod time exposures, multiple in camera exposures and sandwich printing of negatives. Since 2012 the majority of my photographs have been made with a little plastic Holga camera.


The Holga camera

Sometimes referred to as a toy camera, the Holga is a film camera first introduced in China in the 1980s as an inexpensive mass-market camera. The Holga can be challenging to use as it does not have a light meter and has a fixed shutter speed with “bulb” setting to hold the shutter open. The natural vignetting and the softer focus of the plastic lens is a pleasant departure from modern lenses. The Holga allows me to create images with the mood I am trying to capture.