Artist Interviews: Martina Kettner

TGIF! Also, the first Artist Interview of October is here.

Martina Kettner is a film photographer from Austria. I'm a big fan of her work as a whole, but particularly the images she creates with her Holga. Let's learn more about her and her photography!

All images in this post were made by Martina Kettner.

Why photography? How did you get started?

I had my first encounter with film photography in my childhood. My father shot quite a lot and developed film in our bathroom. Me and my brother had our own small cameras for 110 film or even 35mm. Later I was allowed to use my father's analog SLR.

I liked taking pictures but I never really got into photography. I totally forgot about it for years. Somehow I got back into photography, first taking digital snapshots, then starting the analog journey.

Several years ago I found a old box film camera from the 1930s online, after that I ordered a Holga and since then, I never looked back.


Are you a film photographer exclusively or do you shoot digital as well?

Not exclusively film, but almost only. For personal use I shoot a lot on my mobile phone, it's like a diary. I own a DSLR that I sometimes use for commissioned work. For vacation snapshots and a little bit of street photography I have a Fuji X100s.


You own a few film cameras, how do you choose the one to bring with you when you go out to take pictures?

I own about 30 film cameras and it's almost impossible to use them all. Which one I choose depends on the subject and my mood. I take a small point-and-shoot-camera with me when I travel or when I want to document a day in the city. For gloomy landscape shots I take my Holga or the Diana, for experimental shots one of my modified cameras. It's a very intuitive process.


What are you looking for when you are shooting? Subjects, light…?

I love landscape photography, old buildings and I have a thing for cemeteries. I really like hazy and gloomy days for a photo walk. When it comes to subject and light I'll have to adapt very soon because I'm moving to Florida and that changes everything. I'm very curious how and what I will shoot as soon as I find myself in a very different environment.


Describe your dream location and conditions for photography.

Hard to name one but right now it would be Edinburgh and the scottish higlands in Autumn.


How do you work an image? Do you see it beforehand or you prefer to find them?

Both. Sometimes I know exactly how I want the image to turn out – I do most of my self-portraits this way – and sometimes I just take a camera and go out and see what happens.


Your work has been shown in a few exhibitions. How differently do people react to your images in person and online?

In my experience you get more feedback online but what almost only happens in real life is a in-depth conversation about the image itself and the process.


You are part of a photography collective. How has that helped your photography?

Being part of a collective has helped a lot. I've learnt a lot from my fellow colleagues, not only about photography but also about setting up a whole exhibition, from the first draft to the opening night.


Does photography fill all your artistic needs or do you do something else on the side?

Sometimes I draw – I can't really draw and it's embarrassing so I don't show anyone.


Who’s the one artist that has influenced you the most, and how? Do they still influence you today?

I think it's Michael Kenna and his landscape photography. He's the reason I got my Holga and that I'm so drawn to imperfect black and white landscape images. I can highly recommend his latest book "Holga".


Where do you see film photography in a few years from now?

I hope it's thriving and I'm pretty sure it will be. Instant photography is already a big thing again, I see more and more stores selling 35mm film and the price for some point-and-shoot-cameras is already skyrocketing. I think a lot of people will give film photography a try, some will decide to keep doing it, others will not and that's completely fine. Film is alive and kicking!


One camera, one lens, for the rest of your life. Which do you choose?

My Holga 120, without any doubt!


Where do you see yourself and your photography in 5 years?

Hard to tell with all the changes coming up in my life. I guess I'll do more people photography, portraits and stuff. The majority of my work will still be on film, that's for sure.

I really appreciate the time Martina took to share this with us. If you want to know more about her, go over to her website or on Instagram (@moerkrum).

Check the Artist Interviews page for more interviews like this one.