Jochen Smuda is one of the founders of the streetwear brand Ucon and an ex pro skater. Our Diana Mini and LC-A+ had the honor to accompany him for the last months through day and night, over hill and dale, everywhere at any time. Read more about Jochen in our interview and browse through his amazing pictures.
NAME: Jochen Smuda
Tell us a bit about yourself and Ucon. How did you get into the fashion scene?
My name is Jochen Smuda, I am 30 years old and founded Ucon about 10 years ago with my brother Steffen and my mate Martin.
It all started when I knocked at Martins door one evening to tell him about my plans to found a fashion label. He wanted to help me to create the logo and corporate identity. After 3 days he was so into it that he wanted to join me. We had no money for the first prints because we still went to school. So we asked my brother for a little support and the team was complete. In the beginning we printed our stuff in a friends basement and sold them at different skate events – the way a lot of labels started. The first shops liked our stuff and so we became bigger and bigger with every season.
After my A levels and my studies we came to Berlin. There we used an old stable as office, photostudio and showroom. Today I still go to work with a smile and I’m very happy that we can work in such a cozy atmosphere.
How long have you been a Lomographer or are you new to this whole thing?
I got in touch with Lomo very early. We were on a skate tour with our first SuperSamplers and it was great to capture those days in pictures. Then I stopped shooting analogue but got into it again with the Diana about 3 years ago. Just to make this clear: I would never consider myself as a photographer in any way, but analogue photography is a big pleasure for me.
You were shooting with the Diana Mini and the LC-A+. Which one do you like more? And why?
Like I said, I had the Diana first and was shooting a lot with it. But then I got the LC-A and I was absolutely excited about it. Afterwards I didn’t use the Diana that much anymore. I like the LC-A because it’s small, uncomplicated and has a great quality.
Where have you taken your photos? Tell us a about the places.
The LC-A+ was always on my side when I had enough film. It is very small and robust, that’s why I like it so much. In my opinion the best pictures come when you don’t even want to shoot. I don’t know much about photography as a craft, for me it’s more important to capture the special moment.
Which are your favorite snapshots?
I like everything that happens in the nature. Hard to pick a special one but a few pictures from our bike trip through the Alps definitely belong to my favorite ones.
If you’d give your photo selection a soundtrack, what would it be? 3 songs & artists please
Four Tet – Love cry
The American Analog Set – Punk as Fuck
Brother Ali – The Preacher
The headquarter of Ucon is in Berlin. Does the city inspire you in what you’re doing?
I think, everyone who denies this is a liar. A city or your environment in general always inspires you, also if you don’t note it. Berlin is extreme in a lot of ways but also very predictable. A lot happens and extremely fast. When you go through the streets with open eyes you can get a lot of inspiration. But I would never say that this doesn’t happen in other cities, too.
If you could be at any place in the world, right here and now with a bunch of films in your pocket. Where would you be?
At the Kailash, where I want to go with my girlfriend as soon as possible. Or in Iceland.
The strangest, funniest, or hands-down greatest photographic/Lomographic encounter you’ve ever had?
I made a big photo gallery with my favorite shots. It’s hanging on the wall in my new apartment. My girlfriend, family, the homies and everything else I love. Every day I pass it with a big smile in my face.
Fashion Week is over and you were also on the Bright tradeshow. Did the LC-A+ join you on those fashion events?
I would have loved to have the camera with me, but a few weeks ago I forgot it and my laptop in the pizza restaurant right around the corner. When I came back, both was gone. Stupidity must be punished immediately, so I only had my Polaroid with me that week.
Check out the website of Ucon and browse through their fantastic online shop. Their shirt designs are amazing! And all the other stuff too!