Behind The Film - Hannah Gross Posted On 10th May 2022 To Magazine & Behind the Film
Who are you? What’s your job title HARMAN technology and how long have you worked here?
My name is Hannah Gross and I am one of the newest members of the team at HARMAN Technology. I started working here two months ago, and my job title is ‘Digital Marketing Assistant’.
Tell us a little about your day to day role.
As I have been here for such a small amount of time, I am still learning and getting used to my day to day role. I work within a small team, mainly helping and assisting where needed. Already I have learned the job is very varied. I help maintain the website including the SEO and promotions. Social media is a large part of my role, from creating content for all of our social media platforms to just chatting with the community. I imagine as time goes on, the more I will learn and grow into this role.
ILFORD Photo has been my favourite brand for many years, so officially becoming a member of the team was a dream come true. I am so honoured to be part of a company that is so passionate about the film community and keeps black and white film evolving and growing.
Share a favourite photo that you shot on ILFORD / Kentmere film and tell us why it’s your favourite.
My favourite photo has to be this one. I love the fact that it turned out abstract. Personally, I find a good abstract photo has to have a clear, structural design. You have to put a lot of thought into the order, placement, and balance between shapes and patterns. I want the viewers to see beyond the ordinary. How I see this photo, it could be a piano. You decide. It was shot on ILFORD PAN F PLUS 35mm.
Have you always shot film, or did you get infected with the bug when you started working here?
From a very young age, I have always been interested in photography. I grew up in the digital era, with mobile phones, computers with a camera, small DSLR camera’s and social media was starting to emerge. I would take hundreds of photos of my friends, family, and day to day life. Even though I used my mobile phone or digital camera, I would always edit every single photograph to black and white.
I studied Photography BA (Hons) at Sheffield Hallam University. This is when I got introduced to ILFORD Photo and all their products. Everything started to make sense for me and have been hooked ever since. Anyone can shoot on digital. I have always found that colour photography distracts me from the focal points. Black and white simplifies the image within the frame, making you focus on the subject.
What subjects do you like to photograph and how would you describe your photographic style?
My photographic style is always changing and evolving. As a young girl, I would put on make-up, put the camera on timer and create photoshoots with my friends. Soon after I learnt how to light paint using my DSLR camera, this is when I started to learn the technical aspect of photography which made me understand what I was doing so much more.
One phase that was a turning point for me was at University in Sheffield. I went through a phase photographing abandoned buildings. The risk, colours, and textures excited me, being able to envision what the building once was truly intriguing. While on the other hand, my love for clean lines and shapes has been consistent, which has been shaped by my love for architectural photography. Overall, I am still learning and figuring out what I enjoy photographing.
What mistakes have you made shooting film that you are not too embarrassed to share?
Where to start! I have shot plenty rolls of film and they have not been in focus whatsoever. Forgetting to change my ISO and speed once reloading with a new roll. Forgetting to put a battery in the camera and wondering why it doesn’t work. Using the wrong film for the wrong lighting. The list continues. Nothing worse than being disappointed with how you imagined they would have turned out.
How many different film stocks have you shot? (Not just ours).
I am an ILFORD Photo fan through and through. ILFORD products are my usual go to. I have dabbled with a few other films such as Kodak, Fuji and Polaroid. Moreover, since I have started working here, it has reignited my confidence and passion that I lost for a few years. My goal is to try and experiment with more film that is on the market today.
Do you develop yourself or take advantage of the staff discount at Harmanlab?
A bit of both. Before I started working here, I was using Harmanlab to develop my images, mainly because I didn’t have access to any facilities. Now I have access to a darkroom here on site, I mix between developing myself and taking advantage of the lab.
Since ILFORD Photo have come out with the Simplicity line there is no excuse not to develop film myself. It is so simple and easy to use, no need to understand chemistry or math's.
Have you ever printed your negatives in the darkroom?
I used to live in the darkroom when I was studying Photography at University. I had no concept of time when I was printing. Simply choosing the film is a sheer joy – deciding whether I want high contrast, fine grain, large format – is all part of matching the film to the photography. This is an art in itself, unlike digital photography, whereby anyone can point and shoot. The process of developing the film and exposing it in the dark room, deciding whether to enlarge it, the type of paper that would compliment the photo, and how much exposure the paper needs requires patience and an in-depth appreciation and love for the images taken.
Dodging and burning is always fun, honing down on your craft to make the print exactly as you envision. So many steps are involved in making one print, no wonder I get lost in time. Nothing beats when you see your image coming through in the developing tray for the first time. Knowing you made it yourself. Knowing it is an original and unique.
What film camera(s) do you own and which is your favourite?
All of my camera's except my Nikon FM2, have been hand me downs from family and friends. Overall I have around fifteen camera's. Most are reusable point and shoot. My favourite camera has to be my Minolta, this is because it is very easy to use but produces very high quality photographs.
Which is your favourite film in our range? Tell us why and share a shot taken with it.
My favourite film is PAN F Plus. This film has high contrast which I have always preferred within images. Super sharp black and white with very fine grain. I am only able to shoot it on a brighter day or in the studio, as it has slow speed of 50.
I ended up using it for my final degree show as it works with architecture photography perfectly. It brings out the lines, shapes, and the contrast makes the print come alive.
About The Author
I am 24 years old, and studied Photography BA (Hons) at Sheffield Hallam University. Through University, I curated and participated in two exhibitions. I have also published my photography in SOURCE Magazine which showcases emerging photographic talent from photography courses across the UK and Ireland. I am a keen film photographer and love printing my own photographs when I get chance in the darkroom.
In my spare time, you can catch me at gigs, on a run or visiting Depot in Manchester to go bouldering. I love anything to do with home décor including vintage furniture, and have a slight obsession with plants.
Follow my photography account on Instagram – @hannahjuliettephotography