Best known around here as caromi, we dig into Carolina's photography style and admire her ability to speak volumes in a single shot. Photography, she says, "is about telling a story, turning a vision into a creation...This possibility for a personal narrative is what first struck me in that analogue photography class in high school and what continues to inspire me"
Name: Carolina Millan Ronchetti
From: Barcelona, Spain
Currently Living In: Montreal, Canada
Please tell the community the story of how and where you got into Lomography in the first place.
On my senior year of high school I had the chance to sign up for a photography class that changed my life. With the Canon AE-1 in hand, my eyes opened to the world of analogue photography- suddenly I found myself learning about aperture, shutter speed and ISO and spending hours in a darkroom playing with light and chemicals. When you are working so close with your negatives and prints, photography really becomes something personal. Around the end of the year I read about Lomography and was instantly hooked with taking my newfound interest in film photography a step further.
What cameras do you use most?
All my cameras produce very different results and have different personalities. The multilensed SuperSampler holds a special place in my heart as my first Lomo camera, and the red Oktomat is incredibly fun to use. With the SplitCam, I discovered and began experimenting with multiple exposures. I love the Diana Mini’s charm as well as its small size, functionality and (how could we forget!), its wide angle. The Coronet Rapide is my retro gem and a great camera for sunny days. But in the end, I always go back to my Canon AE-1. With its manual focus and shutter speed, it’s truly my most versatile camera. It’s a camera for when I want to be in control of what I’m creating.
You’ve lived all over the world, in 6 different countries! How do you stay connected to your roots and how would you say your roots stay connected to you?
Living in so many places has taught me to be flexible and completely reconsider the concept of “roots”- after all, in some cases I have spent more time living in countries to which I am not connected by nationality!
I’ve learned that where I am from has more to do with shared cultural experience than with what my passport reads. I can sing six countries’national anthems, tell you about their geographies and pop culture references, understand their jargon. The truth is I’m from every country I have lived in. The experiences I have had moving around,especially some of the contrasts I grew up among in South America,
keep inspiring me in my photography and beyond.
As for staying connected, staying in touch with friends and family is key. As an aside, I love literature, and especially enjoy reading novels set in places I know and can recall, because it reminds me of my own experiences there.
How has it been moving to Montreal and how do you like living in the city?
Moving to Montreal has been a fantastic experience from the very start. Montreal is lively and young like no other city I have lived in. Living in a bilingual city with European influences coexisting and often merging with a North American lifestyle is a broadening experience. I’ve done a lot of exploring to become acquainted with it and turn it into my new home, and have loved the results. You can see the results in the upcoming Locations series “Deconstructing Montreal”!
Were the winters very hard to adjust to?
I arrived to Montreal fearing the winters would be the end of me…but they just added to the Canadian experience! In true Canadian fashion, I learned to bundle up, equip myself well and fear not- the winter is its own adventure, whether it is outdoors with its evenings of ice skating, or indoors spending quality time with friends and exploring the huge Montreal underground malls and tunnels connecting buildings.
And although I admit I do sometimes complain about the cold, the truth is I find true beauty in stepping into a blue-skied morning reflected on the bright snow and feeling the characteristic dry -25C chill on my face. It’s a great reminder that I’m alive.
I also love to say that Montreal makes up for its harsh winters with human warmth. Canadians are some of the kindest, most approachable and funnest people I’ve ever met. The friends I’ve made in Montreal continuously surprise me, entertain me, challenge me and inspire me- they truly make every day worthwhile.
What role would you say photography plays in your life? Hobby, obsession, outlet, any of these?
All of the above! It started out as a hobby and increasingly turned into an obsession…from trying different slide films to building my own TLR, I’m really invested in this new passion. Finally, this past year it also served as a great and very necessary creative outlet during an academically challenging first year of university.
The shots you take appear to be both planned as well as candid. Which do you enjoy more, hoping that a happy accident awaits you or carefully constructing a shot?
I enjoy both, and I find there are cameras for both. There are always accidents or events that suddenly may seem striking and one wants to capture quickly- opportunities for the SuperSampler, Oktomat or the Diana Mini.
But ultimately, for me, photography is about telling a story, turning a vision into a creation. Then, I like to intimately interact with all aspects of what I’m working with, choosing my light and focus settings deliberately, finding new angles, dressing and preparing the models. That’s when I use my Canon AE-1 (or occasionally, the SplitCam). Being able to construct a shot truly makes it your own through the process of birthing a creation, and that interaction is what I enjoy from analogue photography. This possibility for a personal narrative is what first struck me in that analogue photography class in high school and what continues to inspire me.
What project are you working on at the moment or looking forward to undertaking?
I’m currently in the midst of experimenting with lightpainting and night photography and also have several photoshoots in mind…once you open the window of possibilities, there’s no stopping the flow of ideas!
What are your plans for your summer holidays this year?
I’ve been working most of the summer and spending time with my loved ones and am looking forward to traveling to Europe in August!
Check out Carolina’s LomoHome