The master of Conan O'Brien's digital empire turns out to be an analogue gentlemen! Meet Aaron Bleyaert!
When he isn’t touring with Conan O’Brien, interviewing celebrities or creating some very funny online digital skits for the TV show, Aaron Bleyaert is cruising through Los Angeles shooting with the LC-A+. We sat down with the newest LomoAmigo and talked about everything from his Lomography roots to what movie star Seth Rogen shoots with.
Name Aaron Bleyaert
City Los Angeles
How long have you been a Lomographer or are you new to this whole thing?
I am new to this whole thing! I just started over this past summer, when I was out on tour with Conan O’Brien. This is a douchey story, but I’m going to tell it anyway: When we were in Vancouver, I was hanging out backstage with Seth Rogen, who had a Widelux that he was taking pictures with. He asked if he could take a picture of me, and we got to talking about photography, which he had just gotten into – and he told me I should get a Widelux because of all the awesome stuff I was going to see on tour. That night, I went online to buy one. And realized they were like 6 grand apiece!
Since I’m not an international movie star (yet), I couldn’t afford it. But I DID get a Horizon 202, which I used all tour – and Seth was right! I got some incredible pictures, and a new Lomographer was born. Sorry, that should read “New and EXTREMELY HANDSOME Lomographer was born”.
Describe the Lomo LC-A+ in 5 words?
Awesome, Awesome, Awesome, Pretty. AWESOME.
What do you like best about Lomography and have you always shot with film?
Yes. I’ve always shot with film. My 2 favorite things that I like equally about Lomography are 1.) The experimentation, and 2.) Not knowing what you’re gonna get until the pics are developed! Incidentally, #2 is also the thing that I hate most about Lomography.
How do people react when you whip out your analogue equipment?
Well, if I’m among friends, there’s no reaction at all – I run with a pretty creative crowd, and most of them have lomo cameras of their own. If it’s among strangers, and I’m using the Horizon 202 (which makes a noise like a jet engine on the slow shutter speed), I’m usually greeted with dirty looks. But then I just remember that pictures steal people’s souls, and take comfort in the fact that I could sentence them to eternal damnation any time I please.
We hear you’re the online guy at Conan AND play the part of the Masturbating Bear, what’s a day in your life like?
Well, I work with a talented team of digital folks over here, so even though I’m the most visible, I am also the least talented. As for the bear. I was only the bear on tour over the summer – the bear has otherwise always been played by one of our hilarious writers, Michael Gordon! A day in my life is unpredictable. One of the things that I like best is the fact that I have no idea where the day will take me. One day I might be interviewing Ricky Gervais, another day I might be trying to convince someone to smear mayonnaise all over their body. (Both of which happened last week)
The one person (living or deceased) who you would most like to photograph and why.
Come on, dudes. Who’s writing these questions? This is silly. The next thing you’re going to ask me is “If your photos had a soundtrack of three songs, what would they be?”
If your photos shown here could have a soundtrack of three songs, which would they be? (title, artist please)
I KNEW IT. Okay, well, for a soundtrack I would choose just one song: The Star Spangled Banner. That way, every time someone looked at one of my pictures they would have to stand up and take their hat off.
What is one scenario you wish you would have photographed while on the set or in the writers room at Conan but didn’t?
Ugh. EVERYTHING. This is such a crazy place to work; there are costumes, comedians, and even the occasional animal (there’s a stuffed buffalo sitting downstairs as I’m typing this).
If you had a big bag of film, a plane ticket and a LOMO LC-A+ camera, where would you go, what would you shoot and why?
I wouldn’t go anywhere. The thing I like most about taking photos is that carrying your camera everywhere forces you to live a more interesting life!
Better living through Lomography, natch!
Having lived in New York City and now Los Angeles, have your tastes changed as a photographer?
Well, there is no better place to live than NYC when it comes to photography – or art in general – because there’s so much energy and creativity everywhere you look! In Los Angeles, it’s much harder to get motivated and be creative. But it’s a lot easier to take a picture of a tree. So there are trade offs. I wouldn’t say my taste has changed, as much as it’s easier to photograph nature in LA. There are an equal amount of crazy homeless people in both places, however, so my tastes have remained
What is your favorite place to eat in your new Southern California home?
They have this place here called “Taco Bell” that is absolutely delicious.
Any words of advice can you give other Lomographers?
Take your camera with you everywhere. You’ll start to think of things differently and start to notice cool shots that you never noticed before. Also, remember to focus. That’s one I’m still working on.
What can we expect next from you?
Failure and disappointment. Also, more photos that are in focus. Hopefully. ;)