UK-based Steven Meyer-Rassow has a natural affinity to the square format, which began as a child when he discovered his father's LP collection. Steven recently invested in the LC-A 120 and talked to us about his experiences with this camera and his love for shooting and processing film.
Hello Steven, please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Steven Meyer-Rassow and I'm a freelance graphic designer based just outside Oxford (UK), where I share a small house with my wife Jess, and our dog Clover. I use a fair bit of photography in my day job - mostly digital, and so it's nice to then spend time away from the computer by pursuing film photography and darkroom printing in my free time.
From your Instagram page, it's clear you are dedicated to film photography and you even process your own film. What's your developing setup like and why do you choose to develop yourself?
I enjoy the tactile qualities of film photography. When I started shooting film again a few years back (after spending a long time shooting exclusively digital) I found myself ever more enthralled with the whole process around film photography. Before long I knew I wanted to be able to adopt an entirely analogue workflow, from image capture all the way to print without the need for any computers. This, combined with time on my hands during lockdown last year when Covid first hit, meant I was able to set up a small darkroom in my shed, which I use for all my printing these days.
My darkshed doesn't currently have running water though, so film developing happens in our kitchen with a changing bag and Patterson developing tanks. Most of my photographic work is monochrome, but I do also develop the odd roll of C-41 at home. I actually really enjoy the developing process. It's nice to have an afternoon running some film through the developing tank whilst listening to music or a podcast. And then taking a hand-developed negative into the darkroom to produce a proper gelatin silver print still feels like magic to me.
You recently bought the LC-A 120, what was the initial appeal and how have you been getting on with this camera?
I have a strong affection for square images, which I attribute to looking at my dad's vinyl collection as a child. Seeing these large, often photographic covers on records by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and especially Pink Floyd was pivotal for me. It not only informed my desire to study graphic design later in life but made me fall in love with the square format. This, along with the superb image quality that 120 film offers over 35mm means I was on the hunt for a small, light, medium format square camera (preferably with a glass lens) and before long I decided that the Lomo LC-A 120 fit the bill perfectly, which it certainly does! The simple design of the camera makes it a joy to shoot with - basically, a zone focusing point-and-shoot. The wide-angle on the 38mm f/4.5 Minigon lens was initially a tad wider than I was used to, but it's been surprisingly easy to adapt to and now I almost miss it when shooting with other cameras. I was also pleasantly surprised by how well it handles distortion towards the outer edges of the frame. For a medium format lens this wide, vertical and horizontal lines stay surprisingly straight!
Tell us about these photos, what did you choose to shoot?
Over the last few years I've been gravitating towards black & white photography, and the Lomo LC-A 120 has been a great travel camera so a lot of the images here are simply shots from holidays or dedicated photography trips around the UK. Of course, with a global pandemic, it's not always been easy this last year to get out on these photography trips, but hopefully, that will be changing soon and I'm looking forward to taking the camera on more adventures. Subjects that usually catch my eye are centered around a strong sense of composition and symmetry. More often than not I'm by myself when I take these pictures and so I'd like to think that there's a celebration of solitude in these images.
Do you have any advice/tips for people shooting with this camera?
Given its compact size and weight, there's really no reason not to carry this camera pretty much wherever one goes. If you like shooting 6x6 medium format photography, along with a wide field of view and don't always fancy carrying heavier TLR's or modular cameras, definitely give the Lomo LC-A 120 a try - I did and fell in love! As far as tips are concerned: Make sure you change the ISO wheel on the front of the camera when putting in different films rated at different speeds... I've managed to over and underexpose the odd roll of film by leaving the wheel untouched when putting in a new roll of film. Also, the wide-angle lens means there's a fair bit of vignetting on the images produced with the camera. It's a look I really like myself, but it does mean that subjects tend to look best when placed in the center of the frame, so something to consider when composing your shots.
To see more of Steven's work, follow his Instagram page. .