Meet Vancouver’s Paul Ismirnioglou! He discovers his inspirations and captures them with his Diana F+! Paul shares with us his documentations of his daily life and experiments used with different techniques and other unique tricks while playing around with our favorite analogue camera!
Please tell us more about your work, and what you do as a photographer.
I am currently managing some fun brands (Generic Surplus, Urbanears, Retro Super Future, and Freshjive) for Western Canada. The team I work with is supper supportive of my photography, which has given me many amazing opportunities. Between attending meetings in Europe, pre-lining brands in Southern California and visiting my favorite shops across Western Canada, the visual landscape is endless. A large part of my job is sales but I also have a creative role through the design process and production. This part of my job inspires me to get out and shoot. Photography gives me a creative outlet to visually document the life I live and share it with the world. I experiment with photography through playing with different cameras and bouncing back and forth from film to digital.
When did you first get interested about photography?
I have always been inspired by photography and cameras. I actually started shooting casually about 7 years ago. Through this time I realized how inspired I was by documenting what I saw every day. I began collecting cameras and learning more about different photographers work and their process. As time went on my camera collection grew and I started packing all of them around with me everywhere I went.
What is your favorite (style, fashion, photograph) decade?
Does 1975-85 count as a decade? All of my favorite styles of music and fashion all came out around then. The colors of the late 70’s, to the minimal new wave movement through the mid 80’s always captured my attention. Technology was booming but it was all based on the analog format. Things seemed more experimental with a bit of a heavier edge…
Do you own any analogue camera? Tell us how you and your first camera met or how you became drawn to that camera?
I currently use only analogue cameras. However I have been getting more interested in shooting digital again. I carry a Mamiya 7, Contax T2, Olympus XA, and a Diana with me each and every day. They are as important to me as carrying my id, keys, and phone. My first camera was a Rollie 35 that my dad had hidden for 25 years. It just seemed so odd that such a little camera could produce amazing photos. Plus it taught me to carry a camera in my pocket everyday. The funny thing is that camera never really worked. Later I invested in the Olympus XA and the rest is history. My favorite camera has to be the Mamiya 7. This camera captures what I see and how I see the world.
Was there any kind of special method that you shot with to create those beautiful color splashes (on the top of the photo) on the photos you sent?
Yes. The special method is called “happy accident”. Actually, I am not sure exactly what happen. I think I was shooting those photos using the Lomography Ringflash. Instead of attaching the Ringflash on to the Diana, I held it in my hand. I really had no idea how it would turn out and that’s my favorite part…
How was your experience using the Diana F+ Camera?
It’s definitely like finding a new best friend. My other cameras have such a specific purpose to me but the deconstructed and manual nature of the Diana allows me to use it less as a camera and more like playful tool. I experiment more with this camera. It allows me to be free and not know the outcome until I pick up my film. It’s definitely a great part of the process.
What is your opinion about analogue vs digital?
I think that if you take pictures you need to use both. I shoot with film because I love the way it feels and I seem to value the images more. It makes me really think about the shot. The process of developing and then scanning your own photos can be extremely time consuming and expensive. I am careful about the composition. The photo has to really mean something to me. If I could have a team of assistants and unlimited budget I would only shoot analogue (film). Nothing compares with the colors and feeling that you get with your favorite film. When you capture a shot on film it is truly dream like. Eventually you will need to invest in a serious digital full frame/med format camera if you are every planning on tackling photography for a living.
Where was your favorite place to shoot in Vancouver?
I really like shooting photos around the city. Vancouver is so compact that it’s not really about a location for me. It is all about the moment, the face or the feeling at the time.
If you can go on a vacation right now to shoot photos where would it be and why?
I would be really interested to go India. The culture, the people and the constant discovery of the unknown inspires me. The condensed population is such abundance that I think there would always be something to shoot. An ever changing and reinvented canvas.
What kind of stories do you want your viewers to see about your photographs?
I want to remind viewers of all the days and moments that are often missed. I believe that there are people not viewed as artists working and walking among us that I document. For example, the way a city worker sprays paint on the road. Or the way a barista will stack the chairs at the end of the day. I feel fortunate to live the life that I have.
Please tell us your up-coming travel plans, and your dream Lomography Camera you would like to take a long!
No big travels just yet. I’m going to Los Angeles and Las Vegas for shows and meetings. Regardless, there is always something to see and capture. Dream Lomography camera!!! Ya, hard to say one BUT LC-Wide Instant Perfection I love the Ultra wide lens on such a compact camera. Tie that in with instant film!! Everything about this has my name written all over it.
Any tips for our Lomography Community about photography?
Embrace the mistakes-not all cameras are created equal. Some are just more fun…
We look forward to see more of Paul’s dynamic, portrayals of photographic style! Please check out his Tumblr. Paul also works with the following brands: Generic Surplus, Freshjive, Retro Super Future, and Urbanears.