My name is Martin Henson, was born in 1952 in West Yorkshire. I now live in a place called Otley a small market town in Wharfedale also in West Yorkshire.
My first camera was bought for me when I was 12 years old and was a Kodak 120 roll film, which I still have, it was a baker light box camera, fixed lens and leaf shutter but it took large negatives and was a bit hit and miss in quality, but it started my interest in photography, thanks Kodak.
My first claim to fame was when I won first prize in the Leeds show and this gave me the inspiration to enter more. I have won various competitions over the years, mainly in BW and had pictures published in nearly every popular photo mag on the market. I first started in BW developing and printing, slowly moving to colour but I was always drawn back to monochrome as the preferred medium, for me it’s simple but effective, dramatic not garish, and for landscape can’t be beaten.
Look at the old masters, timeless wonderful photos, the only problem for many who produced work from their home dark-rooms was what to do with all the prints, you can only hang so many on the house walls and I suspect, like me, we have them all put in boxes in cupboards somewhere in our homes. This has all changed now with high speed Internet and the production of images so different now, that leads to
The Digital Era
For me it was a steep learning curve, a real pull from film, dark-room and photo paper, but I gave it a go. I have taken many pictures with my digital cameras over a 6 year period, however the lure of film was always within me, it has a look, feel and dynamic range that digital does not personally give me, hence the move back to the authentic medium of photography, this doesn’t make Digital bad I still use it, its just a different way of capture.
Whilst trekking the hills, dales and moors I have become more aware of the landscape we live in. We don’t own it nor do we dictate to it, nature will do what it has to in the most spectacular ways, I am humbled by its power and beauty, I have witnessed amazing light shows, wondrous cloud formations, nature living in complete harmony equipped to cope with the elements, we as humans feel powerful in this technological age but out there we are just another part of life’s cycle a grain of sand in a vast arena. I try to capture this sense of power and scale in my images not as the camera sees it but my own interpretation through inspiration on being a witness to events I have been privileged to see.
– Why do you work in black and white rather than colour?
I have always had a love of Black and White photography, unlike colour, we see out world in a different way to our eyes, in varying shades of gray that blend together to form a picture that is judged not only by content but by mood, texture, contrast and tonal range. When the light, form, or texture in the scene is more compelling than the colours of the subject matter, black and white wins the day, colour can be distracting and lead you away from creative photography.
– How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
I am mainly a landscape photographer so my preparation is dictated by weather conditions, type of light, my preferred time of year is in the winter months when the light is low adding texture to the landscape, I often like to shoot into the Sun when its partially shrouded by cloud, this technique is difficult because of the added dynamic range it creates, I prefer to use film for this and use compensating developers like Pyrocat HD. My technique is to develop the negatives in the compensating developer, create high resolution scans from the negative, edit in Photoshop then print out using pigmented inks.
– Where is your photography going? What projects would you like to accomplish?
My photography is 90% based on a pictorial record of a 25 mile radius in and around the area I live, I am always setting myself projects using all types of film cameras from 35mm to 4×5 cameras and also have a love of Pinhole photography, they give a different look and feel in the images they produce, the pictures I have sent you are an example of this work from a 4×5 and 6×6 pinhole cameras. My main objective is in creating work, through my photographs, that will inspire other people to look and see the beauty of the landscape we have in the United Kingdom, to enjoy it, respect it and hopefully see it in a different way.