Britta Hershman

I love seeing the world through monochromatic eyes, and I believe that things don't have to be perfect in order to be perfect photographic subjects. I can't help noticing light and shadow, contours, shapes, and textures, and I feel compelled to capture them: digitally or on film, using anything from modern digital equipment to antique cameras with film that expired decades ago.

I enjoy shooting with plastic cameras. The Holga and Diana's controls are limited, but that limitation can also be liberating and exhilarating. With a single shutter speed and with aperture settings reduced to "sunny" or various gradations of "cloudy," they force me to be creative, thoughtful, and willing to take risks.

I am also a fan of instant photography. I'm addicted to the thrill of carefully searching out a subject, waiting for the right light, composing, and pressing the shutter... and immediately being rewarded with a finished, complete work of art in my hands. With instant cameras just as with plastic cameras, I enjoy the challenge of the limited controls and the extra amount of attention required to achieve the desired results in-camera.

My favorite developer is caffenol-c, a stain developer made from instant coffee, vitamin c, and soda ash. Caffenol-c is what gives my film images their espresso brown tones, and I couldn't be happier with it: it's simple, eco-friendly, and it smells good, too.

I've also been studying alternative printing methods, especially cyanotypes and van dyke prints. Here again, coffee is useful. I've found that a fresh, warm batch of coffee is an excellent toner, transforming the Prussian blue of the original cyanotype into shades of brown and gray.... or giving the already brown-toned van dyke prints an antiqued look.

When it comes to photography, I like to follow my whims and learn as much as I can about the processes of yesterday and today. These techniques, along with whatever I may discover tomorrow, make up my own take on photography... Brittography.

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