From Photo to Book, Meet Lomographer Misha Ashton-Moore

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Isn't it time that we introduce you to more film photography talent coming outside of our Community? Yes, it is time! That's why every month we will be introducing you to various film photographers who have made their name in the huge analogue world.

Coming from Portland, Oregon in the USA, let us meet *Misha Ashton-Moore*, a Lomographer who has been doing photography for a very long time. Someone who is fascinated with the arts, her skill in film photography came as a natural.

With her job and a family, Misha took the extra time to learn more about film photography — training herself into various ways like developing her own films and working on tricks the Lomography way.

With this intense love for Lomography, Misha has then decided to publish her own Lomography book entitled Adventures in Lomography which is a personal project that documents her adventures and passionate love for Lomography.

Sure sounds like a biggie! But let us know more about Misha as we came into an interview with her. Come and read it below!

A Lomograph from Misha’s hometown, Oregon.

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for a living? What are your interests?

I am a photographer, graphic designer and adventurer.

Ever since my first photography class in high school, I have known that photography was what I wanted to spend my days doing. I studied business and graphic design along the way so I could own my own business and run it the way I wanted. During that time I took a few darkroom classes and worked full-time in photo labs. I never studied photography because I didn’t want to be trained out of the ways that came naturally to me.

Misha’s portrait for herself.

I take nearly a hundred rolls of film a year and shoot with about 10 film cameras on a regular basis. Everything from old manual SLRs to Polaroids, and a slew of Lomography cameras. I sell my film photography at art fairs and boutiques around the US, as well as online. I also shoot weddings, portraits, and a wide variety of commercial photography, admittedly, all in digital. In between all of the photography, I also do graphic design. Because my photography is so colorful and textured, my design tends to be very minimalistic. Most of my design is for my own business, but I also do work for fellow artists and small business owners; web design, identity, etc.

Most of my interests revolve around photography. I am obsessed with national parks, road trips, and world travel. Oh, and Shark Week; I am very much interested in sharks. Although I have an intense fear of them, I love learning everything there is to know about them. I also love food; cooking it, eating it, Cajun, Asian, Indian, food carts, sit-down resturaunts, you name it. Food’s the best!

A beach in Oregon.

How did you start and how long have you been doing Lomography?

I had a Holga for many years, but never really got the hang of it. It lived in my camera closet collecting dust. I picked it up again in 2009, finally getting the hang of it and getting some art-worthy work out of it. In 2010, I branched out and bought the Lomo LC-A and a few packs of Lomography slide film for a trip to Las Vegas with my husband. From there on, I was hooked and have since acquired quite the collection of Lomography cameras.

  • Lomo LC-A, plus the LC-A+ Krab
  • Holga 120CN (adapted for 35mm)
  • Holgaroid
  • Super sampler
  • 360 spinner
  • Holga 135TIM (in red.)
Lomographs from Austin and Vegas.

Do you also do digital photography? Do you think that with the rise of it, film photography will soon fall?

Film photography will never fall if I have anything to say about it. Admittedly, I do shoot some digital when I am photographing weddings and with my commercial photography, but I am slowly making the switch back to film.

I think digital has definitely hurt the film world, but has also made it more of an art then ever before. Unfortunately over the years, the costs have more than doubled and many of my favorite film types have been discontinued. But change means trying new things, and different isn’t always a bad thing.

Shot in New York and New Orleans.

Any memorable (sad or happy) experiences you’ve had on the course of doing Lomography? Kindly share them to us, we’d love to hear.

Saddest Lomography moment: When out photographing, I tend to have a slew of cameras around my neck, in my pockets, stuffed in my purse, in a camera bag, or over my husband’s shoulder, anywhere I can stash ‘em. Well, we were in Hawaii with some friends for our “honeymoon” and I had waded out into the ocean to take some shots of the waves splashing over the protruding coral reef. Thigh deep in water, I bent down for a better angle, forgetting too late that my Lomo LC-A was around my neck and now fully submerged in saltwater.

Needless to say, the camera seized up and it is now a lovely paperweight in my office. Before that though, on the same trip, I had another oops with my LC-A. I had it for about 9 months and assumed that the camera wouldn’t allow me to take photos if the battery had died. Not the case, as it did. I hadn’t notice the little red lights inside weren’t lighting up until I had shot through 5 rolls of film. Sadly, no LC-A photos of Hawaii. You would think after all of these years of photographing, I would know better.

Another one from New York.

In your experience, what are the perks of being a Lomographer? Do you think you’d still do it for maybe 10 years or more? Why or why not?

I love the world of Lomography. The majority of the world’s population has yet to discover it and most people don’t understand it. I feel that, currently, the unique style that comes from Lomographers is a major trend, but as long as we stay true to our love for the purity that is analog and share this love with the world, we will roll right through trend and straight into mainstream. The more it catches on, the longer film will last, which I think will be just about forever.

Any inspiration or a favorite Lomographer perhaps?

Living in Portland, Oregon, I of course am surrounded by talent of all kinds. I am inspired daily by the artists and creators that live here, as well as those at the art fairs at which I sell at. My biggest inspiration, though, is *Dolan Geiman*, a contemporary artist with a southern feel. He is based in Chicago, Illinios USA, and everything he does amazes me. From the beautiful colors and textures, to working with reclaimed and recycled materials. Even the way he presents himself as an artist, selling at art fairs and boutiques, gallery shows, everything I do but on a much larger scale. His work is so beautiful and speaks to the southern girl in me, having spent most of my childhood in New Orleans, LA.

Mixed media artist Dolan Geiman and some of his works.

As for favorite Lomographers, I do not have one photographer in particular, but the entire Community of Lomographers. There is so much diversity, from cameras used to the types of film and subject matter. I really love that anyone can be a Lomographer. When I see other Lomographers, i feel that we have this little secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know, that excitement you get when you drop off a roll of film, not knowing exactly what you are going to get.

We see that you’ve been doing retail, too! How did this start?

I started off selling my photos at street fairs, such as First and Last Thursday, and hanging shows at coffee shops and bars back in 2005. From there I picked up a few boutiques around town, and by the end of 2008 began selling online through ww.etsy.com and at art fairs around the country.

Misha’s Lomographs shot with the Spinner 360.

My biggest event is the Renegade Craft Fair, which is held bi-annually in 5 US cities: Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, and once a year in London. These keep me busy and selling art almost year-round.

Kindly share to us your book, "Adventures in Lomography” – how did you conceptualize it, how was the process, when did it come out, etc.

Oh, I am very excited about this project. The idea of creating a series of books based around my lo-fi photography occurred to me when I realized I had all of these photographs of places I have traveled and no one was seeing them but me.

Adventures with Lomography.

My first step was to figure out if the idea of self-publishing a book was even feasible. My second step was to find the money to follow through with the idea. I ended up running a month-long Kickstarter, which helped to fund the production of 150 copies of my first run of “Adventures in Lomography, Volume One: New York.” The book was released November 2011. I have sold out of my first run and have printed a second round that is available at Clic Gallery and Bookstore in New York, Memento PDX in Portland, Oregon, as well as in my online shop.

The entire book was photographed, designed and written by me, with ghostwriting and editing by my friend and freelance editor, Cori Willis.

Any plans on releasing a second book?

Oh, yes! Many, many more books are in the works. I am in the process of finishing up both Chicago and New Orleans, with hopes of covering every major US city and many other cities in countries around the world. I would like to acquire a few more Lomography cameras along the way, though, because the four cameras I used in the first book just weren’t enough. I am also hoping to find a publisher to pick up the series.

More Lomographs from Misha and her travels.

Any messages for your fellow Lomographers and tips you’d like to share?

Always carry a camera with you, make sure the batteries work, and make sure you have film in your camera. Always experiment with new things and challenge yourself. One camera and one choice of film is never enough. Most of all, leave your digital behind!!

“Be careful going in search of adventure – it’s ridiculously easy to find.“ – William Least Heat-Moon

Have a favorite film photographer you would love to be seen and featured in our Magazine? Then let me know by e-mailing me at mayee.gonzales@lomography.com and let us discover the bigger analogue world within us!

written by mayeemayee on 2012-09-29 in #lifestyle

2 Comments

  1. rwins
    rwins ·

    Great interview. Congrats, Misha!

  2. mishaashton
    mishaashton ·

    @rwins thank you so much! :) very honored to have been featured/interviewed by Lomography.

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