Fond of collaborations, Tricia Okin shuns the design vacuum, as she calls it. She is the founder and “pixel pusher in chief” at papercut, a team of designers, copywriters and other creative specialists.
How long have you been a Lomographer (or are you new to this whole thing)?
I’m totally new to Lomo-ing but I love it so far. It takes the edge off having to “perform” photographically. It’s left all up to chance, or a majority of it anyway. Yes, of course, light and composition do play huge parts in the end result, but I’m still experimenting and seeing results of the mix of film, light and the LC-A+ wonkiness/mechanics.
I’m still fumbling with the camera a bit when taking it out to shoot, but I’m getting better. It’s slightly difficult re-acquainting myself with film, as horrifying as it feels to write those words. My undergraduate was a B.F.A in Photography from the University of Florida and feels wonderful to play with film once again. Over the last 10 years of practicing design in the digital realm, a bit of digital fatigue has begun to set in, at least with me. I’m ready to start making tangible work again.
Coupled with digital fatigue, I’ve had a lot of recent stressful yet fruitful changes in the last year and a half (and moreover, the last eight years). Using the Lomo LC-A+ honestly frees me having to make extrapolated decisions about making. Making…anything. The fact that I can pull out a camera, move a lever up or down, shoot and enjoy the light takes the edge off the decision and content-making fatigue I’ve acquired over the past few years. It’s just damn easy to make and create. A huge thanks to the folks at Lomo helping folks to just start making again.
I have my huge DSLR that I took on a two-week trip to Paris and Lisbon that I wish I hadn’t. I reluctantly took it with me to the Palace of Versailles but the entire time, all I wanted to do was shoot with my LC-A+ and my phone. I think I’m in a phase of easy photographic making and it was shocking to realize that. That, I didn’t want a lot of pomp and circumstance or “traditional” forms of image making right now. You know, focus this, macro that, yada yada yo momma. This particular phase of my life is very much about simplifying but yet efficiency. My Lomo is definitely helping me along that path.
Describe the LC-A+ in five words.
Freeing, elementary (in a good photographic sense), light, tangible, memory.
We heard that you own a Holga. How does the LC-A+ compare to it?
I’m going to crank out the Holga in the next couple of weeks. The poor thing hasn’t been used in years. You know why? Because it’s a total crap shoot in regards to ensuring the film is loaded correctly and blowing your roll. But, then again, the model is from 2000, back when it was becoming popular again. The LC-A+ is definitely easier to load film and ensure it’s not completely full of light leaks to the point of ruining it. The current Holgas may be better at preventing this issue yet still give gorgeous instances of happenstance.
Shooting-wise the Holga is insanely easy. Seriously, you just depress a lever and hear a mechanical spring “click”. It’s bloody comical. “Did I just take a picture? WTF? Wow, cool.”
What’s the hands-down greatest Lomographic experience you’ve ever had?
Honestly? It was getting my second set of film back from the Lomography folks on W. 8th St. in NYC. The first set someone else collected for me, but the second set, I collected myself.
It was a lovely photographic Christmas, opening the packaging and seeing those prints. It’s like I had come full circle 10 years back to what I loved doing, making tangible photographic art. I loved moving through all the prints, reviewing what I liked about each one and how it could be improved. For not in a long time, it felt like I gave time to what I loved. Time slowed down and I was observant. That’s a great feeling.
How does photography fit in your work at Papercut?
When first starting out in design, photography played a huge part. I went to undergrad 1997 – 2001, prime time for post-modernist use of text overlaid onto image. However, I made myself learn how to design without using photographs as a crutch, started using the grid system more and typography as a base for good design.
Again, I’ve come full circle. A well made photograph (at times with a reduced palette) can be the foundation of a design, not necessarily with text overlaid though, hah. Photographs are so evocative of emotion and can say so much in even 180 × 180 pixels. Now, I tend to use photographs to be a highlight of user interface or experience while allowing other content to shine through.
That said, I’m looking forward to working on some photographic book projects in the coming year.
What exactly is Sausage Sunday?
Glad you asked… It’s where a bunch of friends and I get together and make 3 or 4 different kinds of sausage over the course of the day. We grind the meat, season it, and case it all ourselves. We rent a sausage stuffer from a lovely artisan butcher shop in Brooklyn called The Meat Hook. Everyone leaves with 4- 5 links of sausages from each kind, we watch movies or tv shows while the meat is chilling between steps and nibble on things throughout the whole day. Some of the repeats we make each time are Italian pork sausage; red wine, garlic and rosemary lamb sausage; and a breakfast sausage. Another excellent flavour we made was a spicy Thai sausage that had tons of galang, ginger and kefir lime leaves.
Please share your best recipe so far.
One of my most popular recipes is for an apple butter that is easily adaptable depending on your fruit stores. There is no actual butter involved in making this (just a heads up to vegans or vegetarians). You basically slow cook 6 – 8 lbs of apples and/or pears with cinnamon and cloves down to liquid then whir with an immersion blender to smooth it out. I usually make this during fall or winter when I’m tired of staring at apples from my farm share. View the recipe on my blog.
If you could try your hand at something new, what would it be?
Semi-new: silk screening. I’ve helped folks pull prints all the time but have never started a project of my own from scratch. I would love to just to dive in and do a full two week intensive course to create a new piece of work.
Completely new: large format contact printing. I’ve shot with a 4” x 5” format camera before but didn’t gain as much experience as desired. Shooting with an 11” x 14” camera then doing contact prints with negatives would be amazing. An alternatively interesting experience would be mural printing with actual chemicals, not digitally. It almost feels as if doing digital would be too easy; rather, it’s a different set of craft to mural print from negatives and with photographic paper.
How was TV on the Radio Live?
It was my first time seeing TV On The Radio play live ever. TVOTR is one of those bands you need to experience live. The sounds they produce reverberate throughout your entire body and when combined by the coloured light patterns during the show, it creates a kind of dreamy synesthesia. If you have a chance to see them place, I highly recommended. They’re always in Brooklyn and the DC area.
Can you tell us more about this photo?
Oh yes…Bad Decisions. The TV On The Radio show I attended was in Baltimore. On the way to the show after dinner we passed by a bar called “Bad Decisions”. I thought that was a hilariously perfect name for a place that serves alcohol and it resonates with so many people for various reasons.
I’ve also been fascinated by the banal ever since I started seriously making art in college about 14 years ago. The banal can feel cinematic and I love observing, framing or creating situations or settings where that feeling occurs.
What tips can you give future LC-A+ users?
Don’t worry about it not being perfect when you’re first shooting. That’s not to say don’t hone your craft. But, as you’re shooting more, your sense of perfect begins to shift and become more yours than a standard’s. That’s when the fun starts to happen.