Journal of A Melancholic

As a child my delight was to sit on the roof top 

As an adult my neighbors thought me weird, sitting on my roof

   so I took a camera with me

And they thought me a pervert on my roof with a camera

   so I went to the park with my camera

And they thought me to be a stalker

   so I only went out to photograph in the rain

And they assumed me to be challenged

   so I only went out when people paid me to use my camera

And they  thought me too expensive and quit calling

   so now I go out disguised as an old man

   with a little plastic camera wrapped in duct tape

And I no longer care what they think - I am alone again 

   with my thoughts, and the memory of that 10 year old 

sitting on the roof top 
        -Michael Hartsock

My Little Plastic Camera:

Images on this site were made primarily with the Holga 120-N camera. The Holga is a film camera with plastic lens. It does not have a light meter and has a fixed shutter speed with “bulb” setting (to hold the shutter open). It was first introduced in China in the 1980’s as an inexpensive mass-market camera. My reason for using the Holga goes beyond the novelty of the camera. The Holga allows me to create images that express the mood I am trying to capture, it’s limitations become advantages.

On Finding Inspiration

Even though I don’t consider myself of a melancholic temperament, melancholy is what compels my response. I like to think of it as a tranquil loneliness or spiritual longing. At times it may even be a profound sadness but it is never a debilitating melancholy of depression or despair. I search for melancholy in poetry and music, in silence and solitude, in rainy days and the long shadows of evening. The quality of melancholy is what I would like to bring to my work regardless of the subject matter.

Process Information:
My photography is realized with black & white film personally processed and printed in a traditional "wet" darkroom without digital manipulation.  I experiment with various techniques including hand held and tripod time exposures, multiple in camera exposures and sandwich printing of negatives.