She guiltily admits that a clumsy person like her can’t get anything done especially when she’s inside the darkroom, dealing with processing films and stuff, but it’s these uncertainties, mistakes and imperfections which makes analogue photography her favourite thing! Say hello to Stratski, our LomoGuru for this week!
Full Name: Maaike Van Stratum
Location: Amersfoort, the Netherlands
Number of years as a Lomographer: 10
Number of years in the Community: 10 (Give or take, I can’t find a way to check!)
Share to us your most memorable experience in the Lomographic Community.
One thing I love about the Lomographic Community is how you can always find some help with photographic questions. I process my own films, but since I’m kind of a slob, things go wrong on a regular basis. When I blog about it, or ask a question in the shout box, I always get feedback from friendly Lomographers offering advice. It made me realize I was storing my chemicals too cold, and helped me pick the best camera or film for a certain occasion several times.
Have you actually met people in the Community that you now consider as close friends? If yes, name at least one of them.
Nope, I’m afraid not. But who knows, one day… :)
Do you think you’ll still be taking Lomographs in the next 5 years? Why?
Yes! We live in a world of instant gratification: digital pictures that can be looked at seconds after taking them, mobile phones that let you contact anyone the moment you think of them, news that reaches you the moment it happens, trough Twitter-feeds, Facebook and all kinds of other channels. Lomography is a lovely break from that. When you take a picture you have to wait until you finish the roll, have it processed and get it back to you. It’s often a bit of a gamble if your picture will turn out right. Maybe you did something wrong, or were just too late, or the lab made a mistake. You won’t know for days or weeks afterward, so no chance to quickly take another snap. I like that uncertainty, and the anticipation of waiting for my pictures. Plus the surprise when there’s pictures you had forgotten about, or turned out so much better than you had hoped.
What is your favorite Lomo camera and why? Do you have any memorable experiences while using this camera?
It’s hard to pick a favorite, it changes with my mood. Right now, my favorite Lomo camera is the Diana Mini. The half-frame format is ideal for when you’re traveling and can’t take too many rolls of film with you. And I love the fun tricks you can do with it, like making endless panorama’s, or Splitzer pictures. It takes some practicing to get sharp pictures, but it surprises me with some unexpected gems every time I use it.
Is there any advice you can give to new analogue shooters?
Experiment. Try out different films, different camera’s (thrift stores and flea markets are your friend,) different techniques (browse the Tipster section for inspiration.) The more different things you try, the more you’ll know what works for you and for your camera. A certain film may yield lovely pictures in one camera, and total rubbish in another. For instance, my old box camera’s work great with low ISO films, because they were made when high ISO film was not widely available. But lots of Lomographic cameras, like my Diana Mini, works better with higher ISO films, because the lenses and apertures are much smaller. So try different things before you give up on a certain camera or film.
Oh, and every lomographer should build a pinhole camera at least once (Google ‘matchbox pinhole’, it’s easy), to taste the satisfaction of producing a picture with something you made yourself.
They are the ones whose passion transcends not only by what they do and say, but also with what they see and capture with their film cameras. And with such attributes aforementioned, they are what we call LomoGurus! Every week, we get to ask questions and reveal some insights with the most talented and productive of all Lomographers from the Community!