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Valerie and her Maneki Neko La Sardina: an Interview

From design to the real deal - Valerie won the NSMBL X Lomography DIY rumble. This week we got to know her better. How did she get her camera design idea? You can find out now!

Together with NSMBL we very much enjoyed all the fantastic designs we have received from Lomographers all over the globe. But there can only be one DIY winner: that is Valerie van Rooij! We interviewed her at NSMBL, where she designed her winning camera.

Name*: Valerie van Rooij
Lives at: Mariahout, close to Eindhoven
Occupation: I’m currently doing an internship at Sandenburg Concept Creation – a company in Langbroek, Utrecht. They develop creative concepts.

How did you find out about the NSBML your own La Sardina rumble?
Two of my friends told me about the NSMBL x Lomography Expo party, and asked me if I wanted to come along. I thought it would be fun, but when I found out it was an exhibition following a design contest I started designing my own camera straight away. Because I only wanted to go to the party if I joined the competition that was the reason for the party in the first place!

Had you already heard of Lomography or was it something new to you?
Well, I read NSMBL every day, but I had never heard of Lomography. I learned about it through the design rumble. Some of the people I know already knew Lomography, but I didn’t know they did. Some of my friends already had all kinds of cameras as well.

So you don’t own an analogue camera yet?
No, and that is why I am so happy with my La Sardina, my first analogue camera. I became a big fan of Lomography, because of the design rumble, but also because of the competition with Flo. I really wish I’d won that camera too.

What other camera would you like to own?
I really like what the Fisheye camera’s can do, and the Diana camera’s look very pretty. If I had not won this La Sardina camera in the NSMBL x Lomography rumble, I would have added a Lomography to my Christmas wishlist!

Photo by mrmaart

How did you come up with the design?
I mentioned in the article about the rumble that I’d like to join. The people from Lomography sent me the design format and when I printed it, it became clear to me – I kept thinking about those Chinese cats who symbolize good luck. The flash reminded me of a cat’s paw. From that moment on it was all I could think about.

Did you first use the format or did you make a 3D design straight away?
I started drawing on the format, because I could easily picture the design in my head. I showed it to my internship mentor and she was very enthousiastic about it. I asked her if I could work on the design, and she allowed me! I wanted to present the design in five layers. It would be a flat shape with parts that can be taken off. My internship mentor also had lots of ideas to help me out, but I stuck to my own design.

How much time did you spend working on your design?
About 40 hours, in one working week. I was glad I could work on it during my internship, and I sometimes worked until 19h! At home I made the box and the flash.

What’s it like to be able to really produce the camera you designed?
I really like the fact I’m able to transfer the design to the actual camera at NSMBL. When the rumble was finished I secretly looked at the other contestants’ designs because I wanted to know if I had a chance of winning. I turned out to be one of a few people who did not just use the format. Making the camera is lots of fun, but I liked designing it even more. I think it’s because I had to work with an existing camera. My design has to be adjusted at some points, because I want to be able to actually use the camera I’m creating!

How did the people you know react?
My internship mentor was very enthousiastic. She completely understands me. My parents were also excited, and I never thought my father would totally understand the fact that I wanted to have the camera sprayed gold. My friends kept asking me to take pictures during the designing process.
I received lots of reactions when the news of me winning broke out! My boss sent me a personal e-mail, telling me my story would be published in the company’s newsletter. My school will publish an item on the school blog, and I received lots of likes on Instagram – even from America!

What will you be doing with the camera? Use it or put it on display? Sell it? Donate it to a museum?
I will use it of course! That camera is far too much fun :). I will probably be very careful at first. Actually it’s kind of like buying a pair of shoes: at first you’re very careful with them, but in the end it doesn’t really mather anymore.

Will you be joining the opening party of the NSMBL x Lomography expo? at December 21st?
Sure, and I’m bringing the La Sardina I designed!

The Making of…

Valerie spent thursday December 13th at the office of NSMBL, making her camera. See how she created her Maneki Neko La Sardina step by step. The pictures were taken by the people of NSMBL.

Step 1 – Take a sharp knife or a saw and make a hole in the plastic sheet that comes with the camera. That way, you can mount it over the lens. Glue some goldcoloured paper onto the sheet.

Step 2 – Cut out yellow and gold pieces and glue them onto the plastic sheet.

Step 3 – Print the red Chinese characters on goldcoloured paper. Cut them out and glue them on a piece of yellow paper. Glue this underneath the flash.

Step 4 – Use buttons for the eyes and pieces of paper to give them a cateye shape. Punch some holes into a piece of white paper and use the round bits of paper that come out of the holes as pupils and to decorate the bottom of the camera.

Step 5 – Now you add the whiskers. You could glue them onto the camera, but Valerie decided to use them as decoration. That way, you can take them off again. It’s more practical to use the camera without them.

You’re done!

We are very proud of Valerie and her wonderful design. She really deserved to win. Do you want to see her design in reality? Then stop by the Lomography Gallery Store Amsterdam. It’s on display from December 21th on the first floor of the shop, together with all the other designs from the rumble.

written by anna-lomo and translated by frau_inga

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The original version of this article is written in: Nederlands. It is also available in: Deutsch.