It's always an incredible sensation to come to the end of the year and realize that 12 months have passed so quickly. Time flies by, but we lomographers have a great chance: we shoot our lives at every moment, and have the possibility to look at the past year through our photos and travel in time. But this also needs to make a selection, of some moments and some pictures in a very subjective way (but memories are subjective anyways) and thus, my analogue year selection isn't detailed, neither per month nor of what I did during these 12 months, but just picked up some moments and pictures I liked of 2011.
1) My 500th album
This was a kind of thing I wanted to celebrate with some special pictures, as reaching the magic number of 500 was something I didn’t want to forget. I was thinking about what I could shoot for this special album and didn’t found any idea… until, one night, I saw an absolute magic full moon in the sky and told to myself: “that’s the theme! A full moon album to celebrate my 500!” So, I picked up my Ricoh KR10 SLR camera with the magic Zenitar fisheye lens, some Kodak EBX film and a tripod, and went to shoot the whole roll in long exposures to capture the magic light of the moon. At a moment, when the night really began, a strong streetlight went on in my back and I was thinking “Damn, that will ruin all my ideas!” and was looking for another place to go… but noticed that this streetlight gave me an interesting shadow of me with my tripod and camera… so I made some shots of this and finally was very happy with the results!
2) The visit of my brother and his wife
Living far away from my home and Europe (exactly on the opposite side) there’s one thing a bit difficult to live: your family and your friends are very far away, and even if the modern technology allows you to communicate and keep in touch with all the people you know around the world, the fact to not see for real the people you love the most is sometimes difficult.
But this year, I was very happy to have my brother and his wife coming visit us in Polynesia! Since we left, they were saving some money to afford such a long and expensive travel to come to these little islands of the pacific ocean, and after almost 2 years without seeing them, they were finally here for 2 weeks! That was such a great time, to see them, to share with them our life here and have again the simple joy and happiness to be together. It was a very great moment for us all! One of the best moments together was when we went by kayak to the coral reef and having a picnic on a little sand island in the middle of the lagoon. One of the best moments of their visit!
3) Testing La Sardina camera
I had the pleasure to be one of the Sardina testers, just before the camera came out, and besides the fact that it is really a big honor for me to have been chosen by LSI for this task, it was also a very exciting moment to be one of the first lomographers of the community to test this new little toy. I was of course looking for some themes and subjects that will show the camera at it’s best. By walking along the coast, I went to a pier (in fact a well known pier of the island, belonging to a hotel but open to everyone) and saw some kids jumping in the water again and again by trying a lot of different postures to jump. I quickly went close to them and shoot an entire roll in a very short time, hoping that the results will come out as great as what I saw for real. And one of these pictures became one of my most popular shots very quickly!
4) Traveling to New Zealand (again)
A great moment of the year 2011! We went back to NZ as we already loved our first stay there in 2010. But during the first trip we had only the time to visit the south island, and we wanted to come back for the north island. And that’s what we did during 4 weeks in july: renting a little camper-van, being on the road and discovering some amazing places. I won’t do a total summary of my travel here (I’ll write some locations about that later) but only some pictures of the places we loved the most of this beautiful country:
- Lake Rotorua
A very peaceful walk we had along Lake Rotorua, in the morning, when the sun finally achieved to come through all the clouds hanging over our heads the days before… and suddenly I saw this pier with a lot of birds. My Horizon armed with redscale film was the best combo to have to capture this magic moment!
- Thermal Wonderland of Wai-O-Tapu
This amazing place is lot of smokes coming out of the ground, smells strongly sometimes, but offers some of the most fascinating scenes to capture on film. We spent over 2 hours there and couldn’t stop admiring the power coming from the deep ground of our earth…
- Hamilton World Gardens
In the city of Hamilton is a stunning place that allows you to travel around the world through different gardens. The Chinese garden was one of the most impressive ones, giving a real glimpse of what a “ZEN” mood can be…
- A great day in Devonport
For our last days in Auckland before flying back home, we spent a great day out in Devonport, just on the opposite side of Auckland Bay. The weather was absolutely stunning, and we walked up to Mount Victoria to have a better view of the whole area.. and there we discovered this view of an old volcano, in it’s perfect shape, standing there, quiet and powerful…
5) Moving in a new house
As soon as we came back from NZ, we moved in a new house. We spent 2 years in a very nice house on the sea and located on the east coast, but for some reasons, our landlord needed his house back. So we moved and decided to take a house on the west coast and up in the mountains, the exact opposite…
The great advantage of the west coast and the mountain location is that we are now on the sunset side and have an amazing view over the lagoon and with the Island of Bora Bora in the background. Our move gave us a total new view of the island and we enjoy this new place so much!
6) The Hawaiki Nui Va’a race
This race is the BIG moment of the island life. It’s the biggest and most difficult outrigger canoe race of the pacific ocean (and of the world?) To understand this event, you must know that Va’a (that is outrigger canoe) is the most popular and most traditional sport in Polynesia, and Tahitians are unbeatable at this sport. The teams must join 4 Islands in 3 days: Huahine-Raiatea (45 km) then Raiatea-Taha’a (22 km) and finally Taha’a-Bora Bora (58 km). It’s the biggest event of the year on the islands and of course, as a lomographer, I couldn’t miss such a moment!
7) Meeting an old friend again
On of the big surprises I had this year is to meet again an old friend here in Polynesia. We met 14 years ago in the school in southern France where I was beginning my job as history teacher. He had a bit more professional experience and was always ready to help me in my new task. But after 2 years he left France for the French Territory of Mayotte (Indian Ocean, near of Madagascar) and some years later I had some news where he was telling me that he moved to La Reunion island, still in the Indian ocean. But for the last 8 years, I didn’t had any contact with him…
And one day, walking in the little city of Uturoa, I saw a silhouette that I knew… during some seconds I couldn’t recognize who it was, and suddenly I knew! It was him! What is he doing here, on this little island??? I went to see him and said “Hi” with a big smile… he had a little hesitation as we didn’t saw each other for the last 12 years, but after a few seconds he smiled too and recognized who I was! And we had a big laugh together from this incredible situation, to meet again on this little island after so long! In fact he’s working and living on Bora Bora Island, and was shortly on Raiatea. He quickly invited us to visit him and his wife on Bora Bora and we accepted of course. We spent a great week end there lately, with such a good feeling to find an old good friend again! :))
8) Starting black and white home processing
Last but not least, 2011 will be the year of the start of black and white home processing. I wanted to do this for a long time (as there’s no BW processing in Polynesia…), but always postponed the decision to start it. I finally decided that the postponing was over and began by asking my very good lomofriend stouf for some advices as I know that he is a master of home processing of every kind. He gave me a lot of advices of what chemicals and material to buy and other things which were very useful when I started. Thanks a lot for that my friend!
So, starting BW home processing is in fact very easy and fills you with a lot of satisfaction when your roll comes out of the tank and that you see that your pictures are there!! It’s kind of magic every time and the satisfaction also come from the fact that as soon the roll shot, you can process it as quickly as that! And with home processing, I re-discovered the pleasure of shooting black and white… and I really love it! (all BW pictures from this entry are home processed of course)
As film photographers, our photos become part of our journey through everyday life. For this year’s series, our Lomographers encapsulate their trials, joys and the various highlights of their lives in 2011. Read more articles on the Year Ender series.