An Interview with American Photographer Renee Ackerman

About two weeks ago, we introduced you to the work of young film photographer Renee Ackerman. We recently got in touch with her through an e-mail interview, where she opened up about what inspires her and her dream project, among many other things. (P.S. She’s a self-confessed fan of Lomography, too!)

Photo as seen on Renee Ackerman’s bio on her website

Hello, Renee! Please tell us about yourself, maybe something that you haven’t said yet on your bio?

I am a 20-year-old female from Willoughby, Ohio. I have always felt enchanted and fascinated by the natural world. When I was a little girl, I had a very memorable and vivid imagination. My make-believe games always involved forests, mountains, magic, witches, fairies, or talking animals. I think most of these dreams followed me into adulthood and have shaped the way I think and see to this day.

We’ve read that you started with photography when you were only 15 years old. Can you tell us about the time you’ve taken your very first roll of film?

It was about five years ago and I was spending the weekend camping with my family in Maryland. A good friend of mine had given me a halfway-broken film camera and I was bursting with excitement to finally use it. My sister and I went out to explore the surrounding woods and I remember taking pictures of all the pines, ferns, rocks, and waterfalls surrounding me. I tried not to waste any of the 24 pictures in the roll, but I ended up using it all within the hour. Once I finally got the photos back, I discovered that they were covered in red light leaks and the images were all over exposed. Yet, I was so pleased with the allurement that this created, and it dawned on me how much more I valued these 24 images than I ever could have before.

How would you describe your photographic style? What inspires you? Why do you choose to shoot film?

I am inspired by so many things: nature, forests, rivers, rocks, deserts, mountains, time, the past, memories, loved ones, adventures, stories, or fairy tales. I think my photographic style is made up of all of these elements and how they relate to the life that I live. I shoot film because there is just something so nostalgic about a single film print. The way it knows exactly how you felt in that moment when the photo was taken, and how it captures the atmosphere in a way that a digital photo never quite could. It gives each photo an ageless or abiding feeling.

You’re quite young! Most people your age would shoot photographs a bit different from yours, which usually veer on the surreal and dreamy. What is it about nature that inspires you?

When I am walking in the woods or out camping the wilderness, it is impossible to decipher what time period or place I am a part of. Nature is dateless and the trees and rivers are eternal. I think many pagan beliefs are still embedded deep inside the essence of human beings whether we are aware of it or not. I often get very upset for being born into these modern times and have wondered numerous times how I ended up here. I detest what the world is becoming and what human beings are doing to it, but when I’m outside I get lost in my own world and none of those things exist anymore.

We’re pleased to find out that you’re a fan of Lomography! Do tell us about your experience with taking photos using our cameras!

One of my first ever film cameras was Lomography’s 35mm point and shoot Fisheye camera, which I still use on occasion during concerts or other nighttime activities. I also use Lomography’s Color Negative films every once and a while, which gives my images a particularly nice luster.

What are the cameras that you use? What’s your favorite, if any, and why?

My Pentax K1000 has been my one and only for a number of years and it remains to be what I use today. It is beat up and durable, the lens is bent and covered in scratches, but after all that we’ve been through I can’t imagine replacing it.

Are there any photographers and/or artists that you look up to? Who are they and why?

I have met so many inspiring individuals on Flickr, and it is hard for me to begin naming them all… On those days where I feel down or am overloaded with work, I always enjoying seeing the photos by Nicola Odemann and Randy P. Martin. Both of these photographers inspire me to get out and create adventures for myself, and I find that this is a very positive and helpful way to feel!

What’s your favorite project that you’ve done so far? Any interesting and memorable story? Please tell us about it!

Two summers ago my companions and I traveled across the US to the mountains of Colorado and the deserts and canyons of Utah for a couple weeks of backpacking. This experience really opened my eyes and greatly increased my desire to travel and to experience new places. The photos that I took in this journey mean very much to me, and I am very pleased with how they turned out. I can’t say that it’s my all-time favorite project, but it was definitely a beginning to many more adventures and projects to come!

Your dream project?

I would love to travel through New Zealand and create a photo journal of my experiences there! I have been very intrigued by New Zealand ever since I saw the first “Lord of the Rings” movie when I was about 8 years old and have been dreaming about going there ever since.

Aside from photography, is there anything else that you do?

I find that my thoughts are greatly in balance when I go on backpacking excursions. I love breaking my troubles back down to basic human survival needs. I find it very comforting to know that everything I need can be carried on my back.

What has been keeping you busy these days? Any ongoing/upcoming projects that you’d like to share with us? Exhibitions you’d like to promote?

Sometime in the near future I am hoping to publish a book of my photographs, I just need to find the time!

Any advice that you could give to aspiring photographers?

Follow your own distinct style. A genuine moment cannot be forced.

Anything more you’d like to add?

I would just like to say thank you once again for taking the time to interview me! I am honored and excited to be a part of Lomography’s website!

All photos were taken from Renee Ackerman’s Flickr photostream with permission.

Related article: *Surreal Film Photography by Renee Ackerman*

written by chooolss on 2013-10-22 in #lifestyle #photography #fisheye #nature #interview #renee-ackerman #analogue #pentax #film

More Interesting Articles

  • Mel Brackstone of Australia Shoots With the New Petzval 85 Art Lens

    written by Samantha Norman on 2015-07-31 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Mel Brackstone of Australia Shoots With the New Petzval 85 Art Lens

    Mel Brackstone introduced herself as an "old woman with a love of the surreal." Her energy is palpable; with the soft delicacy in her photos, she comes across as an old soul that sees through young eyes. She is self taught and lives in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, She discovered the Petzval Lens in 2014.

  • All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the New Petzval 85 Art Lens

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-22 in #people #lomoamigos
    All About Weddings: Michelle Lange and the New Petzval 85 Art Lens

    A wedding photographer based in New Jersey, Michelle Lange is all about weddings and engagements. After her own wedding and spending years on wedding research, she decided to take the plunge, pursue her passion and create a dream career. In this interview, she talks about her passion and her work, and showcases a series of photographs she shot with the New Petzval 85 Art Lens.

  • Embroidered Pictures by Diane Meyer

    written by chvo on 2015-10-17 in #people #lomoamigos
    Embroidered Pictures by Diane Meyer

    Editing pictures with image manipulation software or a mobile app is not unheard of. An alienation of photos by needle and thread, on the other hand, is an intricate process. Los Angeles-based artist and photographer Diane Meyer has gained instant fame for her embroidered analog photos. In this interview, she talks about adding a new dimension to pictures as well as her source of inspiration and other projects.

  • Shop News

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    The Lomography Experimental Lens Kit opens up a new, creative photographic domain!

    Satisfy your hunger for creative snap-shooting with this lens package made especially for Micro 4/3 digital cameras! Don't miss the 20% discount!

  • Meet our LomoGuru: roxyvonschlotterstein

    written by lomography on 2015-11-08 in #world #lifestyle
    Meet our LomoGuru: roxyvonschlotterstein

    A passion deeply rooted in her childhood, photography serves as a form of meditation and a creative outlet for Germany-based community member roxyvonschlotterstein. Aside from keeping an active LomoHome, she puts forth effort in participating in photography-related projects and activities with her fellow German lomographers. In this interview, she shares more about her memorable experiences in community, thoughts about shooting on film, and a tidbit about her LomoHome name.

  • Petzval LomoAmigo: Justine Jugnet

    written by lomographyfrance on 2015-03-25 in #people #lomoamigos
    Petzval LomoAmigo: Justine Jugnet

    Justine Jugnet is a French photographer based in Lyon who loves fashion photography. She recently took the Petzval lens to shoot with in Paris. Get to know more about her and her wonderful way of shooting the world around her in this exclusive interview.

  • Katherine April's Rationale, Reflections on 'Finding Katherine April'

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-12-03 in #people #news #lifestyle
    Katherine April's Rationale, Reflections on 'Finding Katherine April'

    "Finding Katherine April" is an ongoing photographic installation project by Katherine April, which has her dispersing prints of her self-portraits across Cambridge City Center. With a couple of months already passing since the launch, Lomography speaks with the Cambridge and London-based visual artist and writer about the idea behind her project, as well as the public reception and her personal reflections towards it.

  • Shop News

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Additional Member of Diana F+ Family is Here!

    Snap your happy memories with the medium format Diana F+ Cortina! This special edition camera is a nod to fun winter holidays: snow-capped mountains, skiing and good times with friends and family!

  • Newcomer of the Week: kristenwithacamera

    written by Eunice Abique on 2015-06-21 in #world #lifestyle #videos
    Newcomer of the Week: kristenwithacamera

    Shooting on film is an integral part of Kristen's identity. She mostly dedicates her work to Upstate New York, specifically the Catskill Mountains, where she grew up. Falling in love with the LomoChrome Purple's charm led her to setting up a LomoHome. In this interview, she talks more about her passion for shooting in purple and her upcoming exhibit featuring some of her LomoChrome Purple photographs that she printed on metal.

  • Fashion Blogger Claire Geist Shoots with the Diana Baby 110

    written by givesmehell on 2015-05-13 in #people #lomoamigos
    Fashion Blogger Claire Geist Shoots with the Diana Baby 110

    Claire Geist is an accomplished fashion blogger based in New York. She recently graduated from The New School in NYC. Find out more about her in this exclusive interview and check out the pictures she took with the Lomography Diana Baby 110 camera.

  • Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    written by annoushka on 2015-05-27 in #people #lifestyle #lomoamigos
    Petzval Amigo: Chloé Vollmer-Lo

    Chloé Vollmer-Lo's photos speak for themselves. Every image, whether it's a portrait or a seemingly simple snapshot of a street alley, tells a story. The Paris-based photographer tested the New Petzval Lens 85 recently, and the results, as expected, speak volumes. She talks about her experience as a freelance photographer - and with the New Petzval Lens 85 - in this exclusive interview.

  • Shop News

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Give your space a facelift with your own analogue print

    Really want to bring your film photos to life? We’re now offering totally analogue fine art prints in a host of large sizes and formats! Carefully enlarged from your negatives onto premium photographic paper by lab professionals, each picture is a unique piece of craftsmanship.

  • Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-29 in #people #lifestyle
    Angela Izzo on Shooting with the Diana Mini, Photographing Musicians, and Then Some

    While many of us can only dream of working with musicians and photographing them, Angela Izzo's job entails exactly that. Apparently, this is a fulfillment of her own dream that she had when she was younger. In this interview, Izzo talks about her beginnings which, of course, included going to as many shows and festivals as she possibly can; some of her most memorable on-the-job-experiences with the likes of The Doors, Lykke Li, Jack White, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood; her inspirations and other interests; and her love for film photography and Diana Mini. And to those looking into fulfilling their own dreams of working in the same industry, Izzo also shares helpful advice based on her own experiences.

  • The Bridal Project: A Differently Flavored Wedding-Themed Shoot by Katelyn Ferguson

    written by givesmehell on 2015-06-26 in #people #lomoamigos
    The Bridal Project: A Differently Flavored Wedding-Themed Shoot by Katelyn Ferguson

    Katelyn Ferguson is a Minneapolis-based photographer and an enthusiastic New Petzval 85 Art Lens owner. Her love for wedding photography is evident in her photos, and especially highlighted in this series of shots taken with the New Petzval 85, which she talks about in this exclusive interview.

  • Markus Andersen Talks 'At the Edge of the Earth'

    written by Julien Matabuena on 2015-04-08 in #people #lifestyle #videos
    Markus Andersen Talks 'At the Edge of the Earth'

    "At the edge of the Earth" is an ongoing yearlong project by documentary photographer Markus Andersen in which he captures the coastline of Sydney, Australia on black and white film with the Diana and Lomo LC-A cameras. In this interview, the Sydney-based photographer opens up to Lomography about his latest endeavor as well as on shooting on the streets of his city and the importance of photographing in analog.