Words by Marianne Vigtel Holland


one. two, three, four, five, six ...... click.  Joanna is quietly counting as I, while enjoying the soothing sound of the soft clicks from the camera, try to stay still in order not to create movements outside the lens which in turn can affect the light and shadows in the pictures. 

Joanna Maclennan is an English photographer, now living in southern France together with her artist husband and daughter.  Her photos are published in countless magazines and books. She is mainly into interior photography but her portraits are also something really special. 

Joanna is faithful to her old Hasselblad camera. The camera needs time, long shutter in order to expose to pictures to the right amount of light (therefore the counting). Originally the old Hasselblad captured images on 6X4 films, but a back was created to deliver photos digitally as well. Nevertheless, the process is slow compared to more modern cameras. She is dependent on getting that "one shot right"  as opposed to the tendance of our time to snap thousands of mobile photos hoping that at least one  will be ok.  In return, she gets this wonderful feeling of depth and sense of texture in her photography.


"I  love photographing places with history, a story to tell, ‘les objets qui parlent, qui portent un histoire’.
The more dust, patina the better.

Looking at her instagram and website galleries it is obvious that Joannas has a "thing" for vintage and antiques. Furniture and textiles that have lived a long life. She shoots the most beautiful still life photos and holds a sort of subtle sense of something I cannot describe other than "passed time».  



As if this way of working would not be slow enough, Joanna is also learning to do wet plate photographs (also called collodion). This is a very early photography technique using different chemicals on glass negatives allowing the light to engrave visual memories onto wet plates. You will need a darkroom to develop the photos and the process is both difficult and somewhat dangerous, but the result is breathtakingly beautiful. It is an extreme opposition to today's rapid "mobile snapshots". The wet plate photos will be full of imperfections and marks and give a strong notion of calm presence. 

The article is also published at Slow Design Studio