What I love the most about Photography is its longevity. Even though we currently live in a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with images and videos, I believe strongly that images will survive. Especially with shooting film, I know that no matter what my negatives are, they will survive and can be printed or scanned in the future!
My name is Henry Fradley, I’m 26 years old, and I’m a Software Engineer based in San Francisco, California. I am currently working as a brand engineer at Patreon, where I mostly do front-end work.
I chose my career because I wanted a job where I could work collaboratively to build and create, and that led me to software engineering. I enjoy the process of solving challenges and building new projects. Having such a passion for art, I especially love working at Patreon because the entire purpose of the company is to support creators!
I grew up in Bradenton, Florida and then moved to Honolulu when I was 19. After living in Honolulu for seven years, I got the opportunity to work at Patreon in San Francisco and made the move. I really love living in San Francisco so far – it is totally different (and colder) than anywhere else I have lived.
Outside of work, I love photography and being outside! I go surfing as much as I can, and I love to take photos outside and in nature. Photography is a great way to get outside and exercise your brain after a long day. I pretty much only shoot with film now, and I love the slower process and how fun the cameras are to shoot.
I first became interested in photography when I was growing up in Bradenton, Florida – I had an amazing photography teacher named Mark Bilter. I really came to love the darkroom and shooting and developing black-and-white film. One day, he gave me an old roll of colour film and I started shooting a bunch of colour film and getting it developed at Walgreens.
I started taking my photography much more seriously while taking Kapulani Landgraf’s class at Kapiolani Community College in Honolulu. Studying the art of black-and-white film, while getting focused and critical feedback on printing from Kapu, progressed my work so much.
I then attended Phil Jung’s colour photography class at The University of Hawai’i. This reinvigorated my passion for colour film and led me to the discovery of medium format. Medium format colour is still my absolute favourite way of shooting!
My favourite photographer is Alec Soth. His mastery of large format and colour is inspiring. I have seen his work twice at Pier 24 Photography Gallery, and I have his book Sleeping by the Mississippi. I am always so impressed by his abilities to not only work with a large format, but also in how he chooses and approaches his subjects.
I am mostly interested in Environmental Portraiture and Landscape/Nature. I love to just be in my own world in the middle of nowhere, capturing memories and saving them for later.
I primarily use my Pentax 67II, Nikonos V, and Nikon SLRs. I love the 6×7 format in medium format, so the Pentax is definitely my favourite. I’ve cycled through a few Nikonos’ over the years, and they are just a great camera that can handle anything. And then, I will use various Nikon bodies like the F100 and n80 for general shooting.
The main benefits for me to use Analogue Photography is the much larger sensor size when shooting medium format or larger, and the way that shooting film forces you to slow down. On my Pentax, I only get 10 shots to a roll, so it forces me to really try to make every frame count. I love having much fewer images to go through – if I was shooting digital, I would take many more images and be forced to edit through them way more. I also just love a big, bright viewfinder and the way that analogue cameras handle when shooting.
The below image, Interwoven, is one of my absolute favourite photographs. It was taken at a place in Hawai’i that’s very special to me, and I love all of the details and how abstracted the textures become. I made a large print of this image and built a frame for a show I was at in early 2020. The image ended up being chosen by the Hawai’i State Art Museum to be collected, which was a really proud moment for me.
My future goal with photography is just to build up a new collection of work now that I’m living in California! All of my current work is from my time in Hawai’i, and I am so excited to explore the different terrains that I have available to me now.
My current occupation as a software engineer is pretty different, but still similar in some ways, to my photography. I pride myself on my attention to detail, which plays into my photography and is a crucial part of my job. Developing and printing images is also similar to the mostly front-end development work that I do, in that it’s all mostly just problem-solving.
I believe my experiences in photography have been a benefit to my career, in that I learned that with enough dedication, I can accomplish anything. Shooting and developing film has a steep and challenging learning curve, and I believe that resilience helped me in my career.
My advice to anyone interested in Analogue Photography is to just buy a cheap camera and shoot a roll of colour film! I find that getting those pictures back from the lab is very addicting and just keeps you going back for more. Oh, and pay attention to your light meter!
There is always more than tech, and I believe it’s extremely important to share the creative passions of technologists. I love hearing about what others are into, and it truly goes to show how diverse and creative people are. So many of the people I work with are talented in artistic fields outside of work, and it is inspiring to see the diversity. I think it’s important to remember that you are not defined or locked down by your profession, and everyone is totally different!
Henry’s Website: https://henryfradley.com/
Henry’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/henryfradley/