An Interview with Fininsh Lomo Amigo Polly Balitro

Here's an interview with a Lomo Amigo from Finland--- Environmental Artist and Photographer Polly Balitro.

Polly Balitro

Name: Polly Balitro
Age: 26
Profession: Taking Portraits
Country: Finland

How long have you been a lomographer?

I first got to know about Lomography over five years ago, while I was studying photography; a friend of mine from the academy got herself a Diana and I was fascinated by what she was doing with it. At that time I was shooting only with my Nikon FM and I didn’t own any medium format camera, but only worked with 120mm film in school; I remember thinking it was wonderful you could purchase a medium format camera for such little money, so I got myself a Holga – it was an orange one. A couple of years later though, when I moved to Helsinki, I gave it to a friend. Then my sister gifted me with a Diana Mini and we have had a lovely time together so far. I don’t exactly know what you mean by “being a Lomographer”, but I had started to take an interest in photography when I was 17 and I have learned to take photographs with analogue cameras first – that is probably why I have never completely warmed up to digital. I respect Lomography immensely, because it is promoting analogue photography in what is now a digital world.

What’s the most unforgettable experience you’ve had in analogue photography?

After all these years it’s too hard to name only one, so I am going to talk about a quite recent unforgettable experience I had – I wouldn’t say it is the most unforgettable, but definitely one of the most unforgettable. It all happened last year, while I was in Northern Lapland with a group of friends from university; one fine day we decided to go “hunting for reindeers” – as in trying to find them to take photographs of them, nothing to do with real hunting! The three of us, all with our cameras at hand, climbed up and down the mountains until we finally spotted a couple of animals, a male and a female reindeer. The female left before we arrived, but the male stood still long enough for us to take quite many shots; it was an incredibly perfect moment! We were all shooting with film cameras: one of my friends had a Horizon, the other a Minolta and a Diana Mini, and I my Nikon FM. Soon enough the reindeer – that had some impressive antlers on his head – got sick of the clicking and clacking of our cameras and decided to start running towards us. Fortunately we managed to get away unharmed and with quite a few beautiful reindeer’s close-ups!

What’s your favorite analogue camera? Why?

If I had to choose one favourite only, then I would say my Nikon FM; it was a gift from my dad when I started studying photography – with a set of three lenses! – and I have used it since, brought it with me to Finland. She is a wonderful companion for my photographic excursions, fairly light and super easy to use – though that is probably just because we have known each other for years now. Also, I have recently bought myself a Hasselblad 500 C/M: she is a beauty and we get along quite well, but I don’t think she will ever take my Nikon FM’s place – there is only one true love in a lifetime, is there not?

Why did you move to Finland? Are you fascinated from this country? Do you think that the “North Europe’s culture and lifestyle” have influenced your works? How?

I decided to move to Finland because I wanted a fresh start after finishing my photography studies. I had always been fascinated with Northern Europe and I had done already quite a bit of traveling there before actually moving to Helsinki. I have been living in Finland for more than three years now and my fascination towards this Country has grown and possibly changed; in some ways I have become accustomed to Finnish culture, but in some others I am still a foreigner here. When I think about it, I consider myself quite lucky to be in such a particular position: Finland is my home now but it is still mysterious enough for me to get inspired by it. It certainly does influence my work, Finnish landscape especially is very dear to me.

Can you speak about your experience as photoblogger, by telling something about your manifesto and the thoughts behind your works?

When I first started my blog Passer Domesticus in 2009, I was mainly blogging for myself; only a couple of years later I begun understanding the importance of sharing my work online and the blog became the perfect way for me, as an artist, to have a dialogue with my audience. My work has evolved so much since I have started taking photographs, and even since I have started my blog, that I sometimes find it hard to relate myself to what I was doing only a couple of years ago; nowadays I believe my work to be quite straight forward – mainly photographic series of places which I visit and find revealing and registrations of certain moments and details that I encounter. Only one thing hasn’t ever changed, and that is my love for analogue image making.

What about your “Konstruktor Experience” in Lapland?

My Konstruktor and I had spent barely a month together before setting off to Lapland, but we knew each other quite well already, as I had taken many test rolls with her around Helsinki in August. The weather in Northern Lapland can be pretty unforgiving and I was concerned about the lack of light, but my Konstruktor did wonderfully well even when the weather turned out to be worse than I was expecting it to be. It had been rainy and foggy for all of the three-day hiking, but a Lomography Color Negative 800 did the trick. Overall my Konstruktor experience has been surprisingly pleasant: at first I was worried because of the fixed aperture and the obligatory choice between Bulb and 1/80s for the shutter speed – when used to more complex functioning cameras like my Nikon and Hasselblad it is quite startling to have to deal with something as straight forward as the Konstruktor – eventually though I have understood that it’s in fact this simplicity that makes it great. It’s all about choosing the right spot and shooting – I love how spontaneous that is! And she is so wonderfully light to carry around when you are hiking! I guess we have become quite close by now, after all I was the one putting her together piece by piece, and that was challenging but at the same time rather revealing.

Can you choose and share 2 to 3 analogue photos to post with this article and tell us why you chose them? Is there a story behind them?

I have chosen some photographs between the ones I took in Lapland; it wasn’t easy to select so few of them, because I have taken so many, but I feel like these ones could well represent the extraordinary mood of the place. Northern Lapland looks incredibly bare compared to the rest of Finland and somehow that makes it more fascinating. The best time of the year to travel there, in my opinion, is autumn – which starts already at the beginning of September: this is the time that Finns call “Ruska”, a word that could be translated as “autumn galore”, when the land turns into those beautiful earthy colours and the mountains become red and orange. Here you can see a few images of Ruska I took with my Konstruktor and my Hasselblad 500 C/M – the first one loaded with a Lomography Color Negative 800 and the second one with a Lomography Redscale exposed at iso 200. The reds of the Hasselblad photographs are incredible – Lapland looks like Mars! By the way, it’s me in the first photograph and that shot is a courtesy of Jacopo, my boyfriend and fellow-traveller.

Photos by Polly Balitro

Could you tell us a bit about your upcoming projects?

I have been working for a few months on a project dedicated to Iceland; I had the pleasure of visiting it in June and travelled around the whole island in ten days. It had been a life-changing experience, Iceland is truly as beautiful as everyone says it is and more! Needless to say, I fell in love with those incredible landscapes – so different from Finland and from anything else I had seen before – and got back home with a total of 14 film rolls to develop. Jacopo – who is often accompanying me during my photographic excursions – is also very passionate about photography and took a numerous amount of polaroids of those breath-taking Icelandic landscapes. Together we are designing a coffee table book that is going to collect all of our best shots and a selection of writings of five brilliant Icelandic poets, that have decided to collaborate with us. The book will be called “Iceland, Rauður Grænn Blár” and we are soon going to launch a campaign to promote it via Indiegogo – make sure to support us!

Any advice for young artists out there?

I’m not sure if I’m in the position to give any advice here; being an artist is not always easy and certainly not always lucrative, but what if there is nothing else you are actually able to do? What if there is nothing else you really want to do? I know this may sound extremely overrated though, do what makes you feel happy!

written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2013-10-11 in #people #lomoamigos #lomoamigo #lomo-amigo #analogue-photography #polly-balitro #interview

More Interesting Articles

  • Petzval Fun with Molly Seeling

    written by mindofmyra on 2014-08-20 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Fun with Molly Seeling

    Here's an interview with ardent traveler and photographer Molly Seeling, the woman behind Cedar House Photography.

  • Q&A with Sarah Zanon

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-10-04 in #people #lifestyle
    Q&A with Sarah Zanon

    Here's an exclusive interview with young but very talented graphic design student and photographer Sarah Zanon.

  • Dopic tests the New Russar+ Lens

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-04-11 in #people #news
    Dopic tests the New Russar+ Lens

    Dominik, better know as dopic in the Lomo community, is a graphic designer and photographer from Vienna, Austria who was given the rare opportunity to test the New Russar+ Lens. Here are excerpts from our interview.

  • Shop News

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Lomokev

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-11-06 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Lomokev

    By now most of you would have heard of Lomokev, one of the UK's most prolific film photographers. Based in Brighton, Lomokev loves to shoot with the trusty LC-A and his work has been featured in numerous publications and projects. We lent him a Petzval lens and asked him a few questions about what makes him tick. Here's an exclusive interview, along with a several fantastic shots by the talented UK-based photographer.

  • Petzval Artist: Rock 'n Roll Shoots with Boby

    written by shibuya on 2014-10-20 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval Artist: Rock 'n Roll Shoots with Boby

    Boby photographed several bands during summer festivals with his amazing beard and a Petzval lens. Rock ‘n Roll, extraordinary Petzval photographs and Boby’s outspoken personality, are just some of the things that you can expect from this exclusive interview.

  • From Russia with Love: Motorama Shoots with the La Sardina Splendour

    written by zonderbar on 2014-08-04 in #people #lomoamigos
    From Russia with Love: Motorama Shoots with the La Sardina Splendour

    I don't know many bands from Russia but one that I've been admiring for years is Motorama from Rostov-on-Don. With catchy tunes and adorable videos, they took my heart by storm and that of fans from all over the world. Because of their Russian origin, Motorama is of course familiar with Lomo products. Reason enough to let them become our latest LomoAmigos! Enjoy the interview with singer Vlad and check out their B&W photos, taken with a La Sardina Splendour.

  • Shop News

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Lomo Instant Boston

    Here is another way to enjoy analogue experience and capture great memories in an instant! This package includes the best creative lenses for your LomoInstant camera!

  • Turkish Petzval Artist: Ayman Şanlıtürk

    written by merveengin on 2014-10-24 in #people #lomoamigos
    Turkish Petzval Artist: Ayman Şanlıtürk

    Ayman Şanlıtürk took the New Petzval Art Lens for a spin and his portraits are currently on exhibit in Lomography Embassy Store Istanbul. Here are snippets from Lomogarphy Istanbul's interview with the talented photographer.

  • Coloring Outside the Lines with LomoAmigo Tim Kerr

    written by jacobs on 2015-02-16 in #people #lomoamigos
    Coloring Outside the Lines with LomoAmigo Tim Kerr

    We recently had the great opportunity to interview our latest LomoAmigo, Tim Kerr. While his repertoire stretches back to the late 1970's and includes that of musician, artist, painter, photographer, skater and many other things, he just prefers Tim! We gave him a La Sardina DIY, which he not only added his own style to, but shot some excellent photos with as well. Rife with candid and thoughtful answers, we expect everyone will glean a nugget of wisdom and leave with a smile.

  • Petzval Apprentice Winner: Borka Dickerson

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-08-19 in #people #lifestyle
    Petzval Apprentice Winner: Borka Dickerson

    Here's an exclusive interview with Borka Dickerson, one of our Petzval Apprentice Competition winners.

  • Shop News

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Sit, Stash & Fold

    Get both appealing LomoDices for your home! These cardboard cubes can be used for different things – they make great, stylish seats but you can also stash small items inside and fold them for storing!

  • Playing Detective: An Interview with Derek Woods, the Man Behind the Controversial True Detective Photo (NSFW)

    written by Jill Tan Radovan on 2014-05-03 in #people #lifestyle
    Playing Detective: An Interview with Derek Woods, the Man Behind the Controversial True Detective Photo (NSFW)

    Derek Woods is an Los Angeles-based photographer who previously got involved in a controversy surrounding a photo that was used in the opening credits of the HBO TV series "True Detective." Coincidentally, Woods happens to be a member of the Lomo community, and it became vital to interview him regarding the issue. The interview was successful and was published in May last year. His current project, 365 of Lomography, will chronicle his day-to-day exploits with Lomography cameras. To jog your memory, and to re-acquaint you with Woods, we are republishing our interview with the controversial photographer. Please take note that some of the photos are NSFW.

  • LomoAmigo: Metropolitan Life with Baykal Ada from Sapan

    written by lgs_istanbul on 2014-08-11 in #people #lomoamigos
    LomoAmigo: Metropolitan Life with Baykal Ada from Sapan

    "Photography and music...both of them are transmitters of memories," says Turkish LomoAmigo. and Sapan's lead singer Baykal Ada Initially, he cranked the LomoKino, and then used the Lomo LC-A+. Here's his exclusive interview with Lomography Turkey.

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Music Photographer Tom Sheehan

    written by hannah_brown on 2014-10-10 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Music Photographer Tom Sheehan

    Last year, Lomography UK had the honor of hosting an exhibition by music photographer Tom Sheehan. Tom has photographed everyone from Mick Jagger, The Smiths, The Charlatans, Tom Waits, David Byrne to name just a few! We lent him a Petzval lens and asked him to test it on a shoot, and he granted us an exclusive interview.