Einstein once said that "the important thing is not to stop questioning." And with our Ask Your Guru feature, I guess we do really take advice from this excellent scientist!
It’s because the questions keep on coming and the answers just keep on getting better! Yes, it’s time for another Ask Your Guru and we’ve got two fine men from our Lomography Community. Roll the red carpet for Newcomer lostinprint and LomoGuru gauthierdumonde!
He juggles several titles from time to time; from being a historian, a retired DJ who still creates music every once in a while, and of course a Lomographer who proudly admits that he develops all of his shots to cut costs and make more time for processing and scanning film.
He is Van den Berge or mostly known as gauthierdumonde who first found Lomography love through a Horizon Kompakt. Coming from Gent in Belgium, Van read about the Community in the book that came with his Kompakt camera.
And here we have Brendan Shanley or lostinprint from Chicago, United States. A member of our Community for around seven months already, Brendan was drawn in to Lomography thanks to the Lomography Chicago Gallery Store!
Brendan is currently a full-time graphic designer and part-time photographer. He enjoys photographing live music and portraits. Talk about keeping both his eyes and hands busy!
These lads may be seas apart but I’m pretty sure that Lomography have bridged them through their Q&A! Let’s see how it went below.
Brendan Shanley (BS): What is your favorite camera/film combination? Do you request anything special when it comes to developing that combo? (I read that you love your Holga but when you consider combining the film this answer might be different.)
Van der Berge (VB): I don’t really have a favourite combo since I shoot so many films in so many cameras. I have however some vague combos; I really like vintage black and white photography and I sometimes use real old film to get that special look. In that case, I will use a camera with a crappy lens to enhance the lo-fi effect. This film is a Kodak Panatomic, expired in 1973, shot with a Holga.
I also like using really expired film. I buy it everywhere so most of them weren’t kept refrigerated and the film has been expired for 15 years or more. For films like these, I would need a camera with good exposure controls. Because exposure is crucial when shooting these deteriorated film. You can of course shoot these kinds of film in a Diana, but here in Belgium we have very unstable weather. When you go out for a walk you can have sun, clouds, heavy rain, and sun again. All in a two-hour frame. So I would need a camera that can really adapt to the changing light. This one was with a Kodak Ektachrome 64T Tungsten, expired and badly stored, shot with a Hasselblad.
BS: When you go on a trip, how many rolls of film do you bring on average? Do you pack slides, colour negatives, and black & white films or just one type of film to keep a style/look for the trip or event?
VB: Usually, I carry a lot of cameras all loaded with different films. I like how a scene changes when shot with different films. Eight cameras in my bag is what I like. I get stuff like these:
These two people were watching seals at Le Hourdel in France and I just popped out one camera after the other.
I saw these trees outside Le Crotoy and I liked them so I parked the car and took a shot with every camera in my bag.
BS: Have you ever taken a photo in conditions you didn’t favour as much and wind up with something amazing?
VB: I guess so, but I can’t remember. The opposite happens more often.
BS: Do you have a preferred camera or method for taking double exposures? For instance, do you prefer to double expose at the time of the first exposure or finish the roll and then shoot over it again?*
VB: I use both methods and I don’t prefer one. However, I really like using a Holga 120 3D when it comes to doing doubles. I insert different masks behind each lens and play around; shooting a picture on the first lens and then shooting over it on the second lens. It gives results like these:
BS: In your home/neighbourhood, is there a particular place or time of day you find to be your favourite time to shoot? Or do you feel that having “favourites” put Lomographers at a disadvantage by preventing them to see every moment as an opportunity?
VB: I have two favourite spots, both about one mile from where I live. I like to shoot these spots at different times and occasions. I just love to see how they look on film. One spot is in the city, while the other is outside.
I even have an album called Always the Same Trees and I have lots of pictures taken from this spot:
BS: For some of your older images I noticed you shoot the redscale side and then shoot the normal side. Have you ever shot only the redscale side then had it developed before also shooting the normal side? Is there a trick to shooting the redscale side? I don’t know too much about this technique but the overly colourful images of yours I saw were inspiring.
VB: This is quite a technical question and the answer is yes, I have developed before shooting the other side. But the results weren’t satisfying and this technique is a lot of hassle and there are lots of parameters you can change. And I did not feel like trying until I got it right. When you fully develop your film, fixing included, you can’t expose it anymore. So you have to stop your processing before you fix the film. This leaves silver halides [Editor’s note: Silver halides are compounds formed between silver and halogens] on the film which can be exposed again. But you have to dry the film in total darkness and respool it, shoot it again, and redevelop it. You can change the times of both developments; do you use bleach on the first development etc.
My tip on redscale is: overexpose and try lots of different film. Those overly colourful images however are obtained by shooting both sides of the film, were the normal side only has blue skies on it.
BS: When you were taking pinhole photos like this, what was your exposure time around? Any tips on making better pinhole images?
VB: This was a seven-minute exposure shot at broad daylight. There was a Hoya 72 filter on my camera, blocking visible light, only allowing the IR light to come thru. The calculated time was about 1.5 minutes, but this film had a great reciprocity failure.
The only tip on pinhole that I can give you is a technical tip — when your exposure time exceeds ten seconds when shooting black and white film, you should check the reciprocity failure of your film. You can find that on any data sheet. If you don’t know the exact figures, just add some time. If your calculations say you should expose for 30 seconds, make it 45. Colour film and slide film mostly only need this adjustment for exposures longer than a minute.
Thanks for asking some technical questions. I tried to answer them as short as possible. Therefore my answers are not 100% correct, but really, you don’t want me to get technical. Spread the Lomolove my friend!
That was one mighty educational Ask Your Guru, eh? I sure learned a lot of tips and tricks thanks to these two! Until the next!
Are you a curious Newcomer? Or maybe a LomoGuru who would like to share tips and tricks to our noobs? Then this is your time to be featured! Just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch ya!