Well, maybe not quite a bazzilion – But with over 50,000 photos, Mephisto19 is well on his way! Read our interview with him below…
Please tell us a little about yourself and how you discovered Lomography
Hey, I’m Stephan (also known as mephisto19) and am 30 years old. I am a breath, speech and voice teacher and study Fine Arts at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Brunswick, Germany. Mainly I work with, of course, photography and writing. Additionally I create sound works. Repetition is a theme that appears often in my art works.
I discovered Lomography at a concert. A local band called ‘Sanah’ published their album ‘Pictures’ and asked me to take the photos. I did. The drummer had an Actionsampler that was sold in a drugstore. So I got myself one, too. I was not satisfied. It was winter, so all the shots were dark; it ended up in my cupboard and years later I saw a documentary about Lomography. I remembered that I had this camera and looked it up online. I ordered a Plastic Fantastic Package for Christmas and that was it. I’ve been a Lomographer since August 2005.
Do you know on average how many photos you take each day?
2010 was a very productive year. I shot and published over 10000 photos on my Lomohome. That makes an average of 36 photos per day, so one regular or three medium format films. But that does not include multiple exposures where you have more layers over each other. And I do not want to count how many single photos I took, how often I pressed the release. In January, I took so many photos on a cold day that I got a blister on my thumb from advancing the film and an open spot too – it hurt for three days. When I reached the 50000th upload I published a blog with some stats and facts.
How many cameras do you own?
I cannot count so far… No, only joking. But I have way more than 50. That is not good. I mainly come back to the same cameras again and again. Of course my beloved LC-A the Lubitel (of course as a Lubitel Lover), Holga, Diana and in summer the samplers. Depending on where I am I take my Horizons out, but this camera is so heavy to carry around… Next to many, many Lomographic cameras I have old Agfa and Polaroid cameras… And I do lend them to friends…
How do you store all your photos? Do you have prints of them all?
I started with prints. Of course. But then with my Horizon I got a problem getting the prints. My local drug store lab cut the negatives in pieces (I am still angry with them for that) so I found a cheap lab on the Horizon page. I called him and was very satisfied. But still Horizon prints are extremely expensive. So I got myself a negative scanner, which was a good thing, actually the best thing I bought. It gave me the chance to save lots of money on prints by only getting the negatives. So I could shoot more. Without the scanner I would not have so many photos!
But I still have prints. Mostly from my first one and a half lomo years and from the time before Lomography. My plan for 2011 is to scan those old shots too and publish them as there are many good photos in there! I store the prints in IKEA boards and the negatives in the canisters in many, many small boxes. I should have a sorting system for my analogue storage, too. For my scans I name the album after the scanning date, the camera and film, same on my Lomohome, so I can find photos fast. Everything before that system is CHAOS!! And never ask me to re scan a negative…!
Why do you love analogue photography so much?
It takes time. I am really not patient, but when it comes to scanning I can (and I do) spend days (weeks??). You do not know the results until you get the negatives back, so it is surprising. You can send films to other people throughout the world. You can enjoy the magic of multiple exposures… And every camera is unique. They are doing as they please so you have to get to know your friend; otherwise you will not have a camera friend anymore.
What’s your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
I have two. That should be considering the amount of photos I have on my Lomohome.
The first photo is the Lomograph of the red shoes that I took on a LomoWalk in Hannover with my LC-A. I have it as huge print on my wall.
The second Lomograph is out of the Alice in Wonderland series, the green Diana photo of a rabbit sitting on the stairs that I shot for a theatre project.
There are many, many photos that I like. Sometimes when I see the negatives I get VERY excited, my heart beats much faster and I cannot wait to scan the photo. If I have that feeling I know that I have a very good shot. Most of the photos in my most popular section are my favorites, too.
And I do sell my photos – Just ask :) As a special offer I made the 10×10 series. I chose ten of my most popular square Lomographs and sell them as limited edition in 10×10cm.
And finally, what’s your favorite number?
Number? Like 13? 13 is good. 27, 33, 3. Depending. I am fan of 33.